President Donald Trump issued a bold statement in support of school choice on Tuesday, calling it “the civil rights of all time,” according to The Hill.
His comments came during a speech about his plan to institute police reforms in the wake of civil unrest across the nation in recent weeks.
“We’re fighting for school choice, which really is the civil rights of all time in this country,” the president said, according to The Hill. “Frankly, school choice is the civil rights statement of the year, of the decade and probably beyond because all children have to have access to quality education.”
“The civil rights statement of the year”
Many Democrats and teachers’ unions have strongly opposed school choice options on the basis that funding comes out of the budgets set aside for traditional public schools.
Two-time Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has been a vocal critic, arguing that “charter schools are led by unaccountable, private bodies, and their growth has drained funding from the public school system,” according to NBC News.
Still, a large number of voters, including rank-and-file Democrats, support the idea of increasing educational opportunities. Trump addressed those advocates in his comments this week.
“A child’s ZIP code in America should never determine their future, and that’s what was happening,” Trump said, according to The Hill. “All children deserve equal opportunity because we are all made equal by God.”
“Everyone has been impacted”
The issue has been a priority of the Trump administration, as exemplified by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ recent acknowledgment that she plans to use the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to increase access to faith-based and other private schools.
“For more than three decades that has been something that I’ve been passionate about,” she said, according to Chalkbeat. “This whole pandemic has brought into clear focus that everyone has been impacted, and we shouldn’t be thinking about students that are in public schools versus private schools.”
Trump’s primary focus in the recent address was the executive order he signed in an effort to reform law-enforcement standards.
“As part of this new credentialing process, chokeholds will be banned except if an officer’s life is at risk,” he explained, according to ABC News.
Some Democrats found fault with the scope of his executive order as with his renewed focus on school choice. Trump has proven throughout his first term, however, that he is rarely swayed by the criticism of his political rivals.