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Tim Scott at CPAC: Parents should be able to decide how their children are educated

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Tim Scott (R-S.C.) pushed the need for school choice in his address at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday, arguing that parents should have the ability to decide how their children are educated.

“Kids, not unions, should be the focus of our public education,” he said to a roaring applause. “Parents, and not bureaucrats in Washington, should decide the path of their child’s education. They should be free to choose – public schools, charter schools, private schools, parochial schools – it should be the parents’ choice because when the parents have a choice, the kids have a choice.”

Key to Scott’s desire for school choice is the idea that education thinking should be reformed so that students aren’t pushed any longer down a one-size-fits-all path.

“Every child doesn’t want to go to college,” he said, adding that “we should have a dual track: one for college and one for the skills necessary to fill the 4 million (job) vacancies we have in America.”

School choice is an issue close to home for Scott, who was appointed to fill the seat of now-Heritage Foundation Jim DeMint in December 2012. The son of a single mother, Scott nearly flunked out of high school before a local Chik-fil-A manager took him under his wing and helped him get his studies under control.

The South Carolina Republican did find time for a humorous quip early on in his speech, however, referencing one of the reasons why Obamacare is harmful for Americans: It reminds us how many calories are in a slice of pizza.

“We don’t need Obamacare forcing pizza places to tell us how many calories there are in our pizza, do we really want to know?” he quipped. “I’m not sure about you, but I don’t even want to know how many calories are on my pizza. When I eat my Häagen-Dazs ice cream, I want to enjoy those 1,292 calories and all 100 grams of fat in one sitting.”

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