School Choice highlighted at Republican National Convention
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Published: 04-Sep-2020


At the recently concluded Republican National Convention, numerous speakers stressed the importance of school choice. The topic was mentioned every day of the convention, by multiple speakers.

By a two-to-one margin, Oklahomans say that if schools don’t open in the fall, parents should be able to take their tax dollars and go to another school. 


Numerous polls (http://www.choiceremarks.com/2019/02/oklahomans-support-for-school-choice-is.html) conducted over several years in Oklahoma have consistently shown strong support for school-choice policies, even prior to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.



Below are some of the school-choice comments made during the Republication National Convention, starting with the president himself.

President Donald Trump:

“(Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe) Biden also vowed to oppose school choice and close all charter schools, ripping away the ladder of opportunity for black and Hispanic children. In this second term, I will expand charter schools and provide school choice to every family in America.” …
“Joe Biden is weak. He takes his marching orders from liberal hypocrites who drive their cities into the ground while fleeing far from the scene of the wreckage. These same liberals want to eliminate school choice while they enroll their children in the finest private schools in the land.”

Vice President Mike Pence:

“Joe Biden wants to end school choice, and President Trump believes that every parent should have the right to choose where their children go to school regardless of their income or area code.”

Rebecca Friedrichs, a veteran California public school educator and critics of teachers’ unions:

“The only way to keep a free republic is with a well-educated, moral citizenry that can self- govern. Unions are subverting our republic, so they undermine educational excellence, morality, law and order. That’s why they spend hundreds of millions annually to defeat charter schools and school choice, trapping so many precious, low-income children in dangerous, corrupt, and low-performing schools.

“No matter their abuse, we’ll keep fighting for the country and children we love just like President Trump. He’s breaking the union’s grip on our schools. That’s why unions have tried to destroy him since the day he was elected. But President Trump isn’t afraid to fight for what’s right. He won’t back down. His courage gives great teachers renewed hope.

“He’s even proposed education freedom scholarships to return control to parents, protect religious liberties, and empower kids to escape dangerous, low-performing schools. The Republican platform supports educational freedom. The Democrat Party does not.”

Kim Klacik, a black Republican congressional candidate in Maryland:

“In Baltimore, we had the highest number of black Republicans in the entire country running for office this election cycle. Joe Biden believes we can’t think for ourselves, that the color of someone’s skin dictates their political views. We’re not buying the lies anymore. You and your party have neglected us for far too long. We want safety in our neighborhoods. We want to make the most of the federal opportunity zone I’m standing in right now in West Baltimore. We want higher-paying jobs and more business opportunities. We want lower taxes. We want school choice. We want a chance to get ahead, not just get by.”

Vernon Jones, a black state representative and Democrat from Georgia who has endorsed Trump:

“He’s also supported school choice to assure that no child, no matter their race or zip code is left behind. Every child should have access to a quality education …”

Nikki Haley, former South Carolina governor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations:

“We know that the only way to overcome America’s challenges is to embrace America’s strengths. We are striving to reach a brighter future, where every child goes to a world-class school chosen by their parents, where every family lives in a safe community with good jobs, where every entrepreneur has the freedom to achieve and inspire, where every believer can worship without fear and every life is protected. Where every girl and boy, every woman and man of every race and religion has the best shot at the best life.”

Donald Trump Jr.:

“I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family that could afford the best schools and the finest universities, but a great education cannot be the exclusive right of the rich and powerful. It must be accessible to all. And that’s why my dad is pro school choice. That’s why he’s called education access the civil rights issue, not just of our time, but of all time. It is unacceptable that too many African American and Hispanic American children are stuck in bad schools, just because of their zip code. Donald Trump will not stand for it. If Democrats really wanted to help minorities in underserved communities, instead of bowing to big money union bosses, they’d let parents choose what school is best for their kids.”

Sen. Tim Scott, a black South Carolina Republican:

“I realized a quality education is the closest thing to magic in America. That’s why I fight to this day for school choice, to make sure every child in every neighborhood has a quality education. I don’t care if it’s a public, private, charter, virtual, or a home school, when a parent has a choice, their kid has a better chance and the president has fought alongside me on that.”

Tiffany Trump:

“Tonight, I want to tell you the uncensored truth of what we believe in. We believe in equality of opportunity. We believe in freedom of thought and expression. Think what you want, seek out the truth, learn from those with different opinions, and then freely make your voice heard to the world. We believe in school choice because a child’s zip code in America should not determine their future.”

Sarah Hughes, a mother who works three jobs to support her eight-year-old son, who is also a beneficiary of a Wisconsin school choice program:

“We’re glad that we were able to get the school choice voucher to go to that school. With Jack, he would have slipped through the cracks in public schools, and having the option to go to a school that fits him has been a real game-changer for us and I know that because of that opportunity that he is going to succeed and he is going to achieve that goal of being an apparatus engineer if that’s what he chooses to stick with.”

Jeanette Nunez, lieutenant governor of Florida:

“We must continue to support our commander in chief who has a bold agenda that safeguards the rights and freedoms protected under our constitution. Today, more than ever, that means supporting our men and women in law enforcement and our heroes in uniform. It means fighting to provide the best quality education, by empowering parents and preserving school choice, and it means rejecting the socialist takeover of our nation that will destroy innovation, economic vitality, and freedoms we hold so dear.”

Eric Trump:

“Over and over, issue after issue, the economy, the wall, the military, trade deals, tax cuts, Supreme Court Justices, VA hospitals, prescription drugs, school choice, Right to Try, moving the embassy to Jerusalem, peace in the Middle East, never-ending wars were finally ended. Promises made and promises for the first time were kept.”

First Lady Melania Trump:

“My husband’s administration has worked to try and effect change when it comes to issues around race and religion in this country. He’s the first president to address a special session of the United Nations General Assembly to call upon countries across the world to end religious persecution and honor the right of every person to worship as they choose. He has made substantial investments in our historically Black colleges and universities. This president also continues to fight for school choice, giving parents more options to help their children flourish.”

Tera Myers, mother of a son who has Down syndrome and now benefits from a school-choice program:

“Before Samuel was even born, I was told his life wouldn’t be worth living. When early tests revealed he had Down syndrome, our doctor encouraged me to terminate the pregnancy. He said, ‘If you do not, you will be burdening your life, your family, and your community.’ I knew my baby was a human being, created by God and that made him worthy of life. I am thankful that President Trump values the life of the unborn. When we went to register Samuel for kindergarten, we were told to just put him where he would be comfortable. Don’t stress him out by trying to teach him. When we pushed for him to attend his neighborhood school with his sisters, we were told, ‘Just go home and let us do what we do.’

“When I inquired about functional learning, I was told, ‘This is all you get, like it or not.’ Well, I did not like it. One size did not fit all. So, I helped fight to pass legislation in Ohio for a special needs scholarship, so that all students could choose the right program for their needs. I worked to start a new functional learning program at our local private school. Finally, Samuel had an appropriate place to learn. Last December, Samuel was invited to the White House to meet our president and share his thoughts on education freedom. He said, ‘School choice helped my dreams come true. My school taught me the way I learn best. I was able to fit in. I made many friends. I became a part of my community. My teachers helped me become the best I can be.’

“President Trump shook my hand and said, ‘Wonderful job, mom. Your son is amazing.’ Unlike the doctor who told me to end Samuel’s life before it even began, President Trump did not dismiss my son. He showed Samuel he valued him and was proud of what he accomplished. President Trump gave Samuel an equal seat at the table. Tonight, I would like to extend my thanks to President Trump and his administration for their work towards making every student’s dream of a meaningful education a reality, and for fighting to ensure every child in America has an equal seat at the table of education freedom and an equal opportunity in life.”

Lou Holtz, former college football coach:

“A third question I ask is do they love people? Do they care about others? To me, this is very clear. President Trump has demonstrated through his prison reform, advocating for school choice, and welfare reform that he wants Americans from all walks of life to have the opportunity to succeed and live the American dream.”

Jack Pruitt, a former three-time NFL team captain, college professor, coach, and lifelong Democrat:

“At some point, for the sake of our children, the policies must take priority over the personalities. So, because you have an issue with President Trump’s tone, you’re going to allow Biden and Harris to deny our underserved black and brown children school choice?”

Ja’Ron Smith:

“President Trump knows that education is the great equalizer. That’s why he secured record and permanent funding for historically black colleges and universities and is fighting hard for school choice.”

Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who now serves as U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development:

“He (Trump) strongly supports school choice, fully recognizing that no matter what circumstances a person is born into, they can achieve success with a good education. It was true for me. When my mother forced me to read books about doctors, entrepreneurs, inventors, and scientists, I began to recognize that the person who has the most to do with what happens to you in life, is you.”

Ivanka Trump:

“I am more certain than ever before we want a future where our kids can believe in American greatness, we want a society where every child can live in a safe community and go to a great school of their choice, we want a culture where differences of opinion and debate are encouraged, not canceled, where law enforcement is respected, where our country’s rich diversity is celebrated, and where people of all backgrounds, races, genders, and creeds have the chance to achieve their God-given potential.”

NOTE: This compilation appeared previously at the website of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA): https://www.ocpathink.org/post/school-choice-highlighted-at-rnc. OCPA is Oklahoma’s largest free-market public policy organization. The group conducts research on a wide range of public policy issues, including education. 

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