President Trump addresses importance of school choice in joint session address

The American Federation for Children (AFC), the nation’s voice for educational choice, applauds the Trump Administration’s push to ensure that every child in America has access to a great education.
“We were pleased to hear the President offer strong support for school choice in his address to the joint session of Congress tonight,” said John Kirtley, vice-chairman of the American Federation for Children. “With the full weight of the Administration joining the 68 percent of Americans who support school choice, there has never been a better time in our country’s history to give more K-12 children better access to a high quality education. Now is the time to act with bold conviction. We urge school choice advocates to work with Congress and the Administration to pass a federal tax credit to encourage charitable giving to state non-profits who will provide scholarships for eligible children to attend the school of their parents’ choice.”
Kirtley added, “I was incredibly happy to see Denisha Merriweather sitting in the Executive Gallery with First Lady Melania Trump at the joint session tonight. As the President mentioned in his speech, Denisha used a tax credit scholarship in Florida and has become a true American success story due to the program. She exemplifies the power of choice in education. Denisha has spoken at many AFC events and offered her testimony of the tremendous impact the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program had in her life.”
AFC fully supports the Administration’s effort to expand parental choice in education and many of the proposals circulating in Congress. We believe a federal tax credit to inspire charitable giving by corporations and individuals to state non-profits who provide scholarships for eligible children to attend a school of their parents’ choice would have the greatest impact for children in need. Currently, there are publicly-supported tax credit programs in 17 states helping more than 250,000 children, mostly minority and low-income families. A well-designed federal tax credit would help create hope and opportunity for equally deserving children in every state. These programs are proven successes that provide access to the best educational environment and improved educational outcomes for participating children.

In January, AFC released its third annual national school choice poll of likely voters conducted by the Democratic polling firm Beck Research. Among the key findings:

  • Voters want school choice – 68% support the concept of school choice
  • Support for school choice support is bipartisan – Republicans (84%), Democrats (55%) and Independents (67%)
  • Support is highest among Latinos (75%), African Americans (72%) and Millennials (75%)
  • Voters want congressional action – 72% of voters support a federal tax credit scholarship

Denisha Merriweather was fortunate to receive a Florida tax credit scholarship and says it ended the “cycle of poverty” in her family. She became the first person in her family to graduate from not only high school, but also college, and is now pursuing a Master’s degree in social work. She fights today to help other students access the same opportunity. The White House press office posted a blog about Denisha’s story, which can be read here:


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