Amidst the hubbub of the impeachment hearings and the release of the Department of Justice’s Inspector General report on Monday, President Donald Trump took the time to focus on school choice.
“Now is the time to fight for the forgotten child, and that’s what we’re doing with respect to education,” Trump said during a White House roundtable meeting on Monday afternoon. The event lasted nearly an hour.
The president talked about the importance of opening up choices for children stuck in failing public schools.
“For decades, countless children have been trapped in failing government schools,” Trump said. “In my administration, these children are forgotten no longer.”
Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee attended the roundtable event with the president as well as Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida and several Trump administration officials.
Trump pointed to school choice efforts in 44 different states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, DC, pointing to the successful programs that empowered parents and students.
In Pennsylvania, Trump noted Governor Tom Wolf was trying to block school choice, after issuing several executive orders to increase requirements for charter schools, demanding that they pay new fees and comply with additional regulations.
“Sadly, not everyone wants to give these students the education and freedom that they deserve,” he said. “They’re locked into a school system that’s terrible, and we’re working on that very hard.”
He also praised Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for signing into law the Family Empowerment Scholarship for low-income families.
“We believe that every parent should have educational freedom for their children,” Trump said.
The president praised Education Secretary Betsy Davos for continuing to work on the concept, despite widespread opposition from Democrats and teacher unions.
Several parents and students enjoying the freedom of school choice, spoke with the president about how the ability to choose their schools with support from scholarships changed their lives.
“School choice opens up doors that would otherwise be slammed shut,” one student said, noting that it helped him succeed despite living in a low-income neighborhood.
Another mother spoke about how a special needs scholarship helped her get the proper education for her son, after struggling in public school programs.
One student, Walter Blanks. spoke about how hard it was to avoid the school-to-prison pipeline growing up in Columbus, Ohio.
“While some of my friends were going to sleep to lullabies, I was going asleep to gunshots,” he said. “And so my education was my way out of that.”
He explained how school choice helped him escape the tough area that he grew up in, calling it a life or death opportunity.
“There were people that I grew up with that are either in prison now or six feet under, in the grave,” he said. “And the only difference is: I had a way out. My education allowed me to get out of that situation.”
Watch the full event below: