Senator Tim Scott’s (R-SC) CPAC 2014 speech today delivered an emotional argument for letting parents choose their children’s educational opportunities. Video and full transcript below.
The full transcript is below, with the exception of opening remarks.
How many of you like me, believe in the future of America? Because I believe in the future of America, my Opportunity Agenda focuses on the American people and not the federal government. By limiting the government, we empower the people.
We don’t need the big government and ObamaCare choosing our doctors, do we? We don’t need ObamaCare forcing pizza places to tell us how many calories are on our pizza, do we? Do we really want to know? I’m not sure about you, but I don’t want to know how many calories are on my pizza. When I eat my Hãgen Dazs ice cream, I want to enjoy those 1,292 calories, and alllllll 100 grams of fat, in once sitting.
Some of y’all don’t want ObamaCare to increase the taxes on the tanning beds. Now, please note that I said “some of y’all.” I don’t really care about that! [laughter] Just joking.
America is about Americans and self-determination. We are not about the government. The greatest assets we have cannot be found here in Washington, D.C. Our greatest assets are not in Washington D.C., except when CPAC is in town. They are found in the thoughts, and in the ideas of people in places like Greenville or Akin or [inaudible] or Charleston. They are found not in the Executive Orders of this president, not in his Executive Orders do we find the greatness of America. We find them instead in the wisdom of our Founding Fathers and on the pages of our Constitution.
A smaller, less intrusive government means more resources for the creation of the next generation of entrepreneurs. The success of our economy is seen in the sizes of our ideas, not in the size of our tax bills. We need to cut our taxes, not raise them like President Obama wants to.
Greatness is created in relationships, when people pool their resources together and start small businesses. Every place in this nation, in their garages, in coffee shops, and at their kitchen tables.
I started my small business, in a small apartment with some friends. Our genius emerges from our classrooms, from our libraries, and even from our Chick-fil-A. I call them Freedom Fries, those little waffle fries — freedom fires, because that’s where I met my mentor, in a Chick-fil-A, a guy by the name of John [inaudible, maybe Monise], who taught me the power of thinking. I was a poor kid growing up in a single parent household. I was losing myself. I had lost my way. I flunked out of high school as a freshman. I failed World Geography, Civics. Now think about that; a United States Senator who failed Civics. I used to think I was the only one, and when I became a member of the Senate, I realized that there might be, there might be, a few more who didn’t pass Civics either, and then I failed Spanish and English. Now, when you fail Spanish AND English, they don’t call you bi-lingual. Nope, they call you bi-ignorant, because you can’t speak any language, and that’s where I found myself.
That why I give so much credit to John [Monise???], that Chick-fil-A operator. He came along at the right time. You see, in America today, the John [Monises] of today, changes the very path of young kids like me, are sitting in audiences like this. You’re making the difference. John [Monise] taught me that you can think your way out of poverty. That Citadel graduate taught me that if you really want to escape poverty, it comes through the power of education.
He taught me that; and that’s why my Opportunity Agenda understands the necessity of a good education. It believes that kids, not unions, should be the focus of our public education, that parents and not bureaucrats in Washington, should decide the path of their child’s education. They should be free to choose homeschooling, public schools, charter schools, parochial schools. It should be the parent’s choice, because when the parents have the choice, the kids have a chance.
I think of one story from Greenville, South Carolina, a lovely young lady named Rachel Lewis, born with Downs Syndrome; optimistic, energetic, focused, smart little girl. Her parents fought tooth-and-nail for a year to keep her in mainstream classes, and unfortunately, after a year she was able to win keeping her little girl in mainstream classes, but then she realized that the very teachers, the very system that she had to fight with, would now be in charge of educating her kids, and she decided, I can’t do that. So she found a little private school called Hidden Treasure in Greenville, South Carolina, and that young lady went through school, and earned her high school diploma, and today, she doesn’t have one job, she has two jobs. We need to set free all of the potential in our kids in our country, through school choice.
Finally, there are four million jobs vacant today in America. Four million jobs unfilled. We need to prepare our adult learners to fill those jobs. We need to focus our attention on two facts: every child doesn’t want to go to college. Some kids can earn while they learn. We should have a dual track, and one for the skills necessary to fill the four million vacancies we have today in America. My Opportunity Agenda does that.
Let me say by closing, as I unveil more about my Opportunity Agenda, I believe the best is yet to come.
Other CPAC 2014 Videos and Transcripts: