(CNSNews.com) - President Donald Trump called on Congress Tuesday to pass an education bill that funds school choice so that disadvantaged children of all races can choose whatever school is right for them, calling education “the civil rights issue of our time.”
“Education is the civil rights issue of our time. I am calling upon Members of both parties to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African-American and Latino children,” Trump told the joint session of Congress.
“These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them,” Trump said.
He pointed out a woman in the audience named Denisha Merriweather, who “struggled in school and failed third grade twice.”
“But then she was able to enroll in a private center for learning, with the help of a tax credit scholarship program,” he said. “Today, she is the first in her family to graduate, not just from high school, but from college. Later this year she will get her masters degree in social work.”
“We want all children to be able to break the cycle of poverty just like Denisha, but to break the cycle of poverty, we must also break the cycle of violence,” he said.
“The murder rate in 2015 experienced its largest single-year increase in nearly half a century,” the president said.
He noted that 4,000 people were shot in Chicago last year alone and that the murder rate this year “has been even higher.”
“This is not acceptable in our society. Every American child should be able to grow up in a safe community, to attend a great school, and to have access to a high-paying job, but to create this future, we must work with –- not against -– the men and women of law enforcement,” Trump said.
“We must build bridges of cooperation and trust –- not drive the wedge of disunity and division. Police and sheriffs are members of our community. They are friends and neighbors. They are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, and they leave behind loved ones every day who worry whether or not they'll come home safe and sound,” he said.
The president said Americans must support law enforcement and crime victims.