Trump: Education choice is the civil rights issue of our time

President Donald Trump gestures as he arrives in the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, to address a joint session of Congress. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Donald Trump gestures as he arrives in the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, to address a joint session of Congress. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

In his joint address to Congress on Tuesday night, President Donald Trump declared that “education is the civil rights issue of our time.”

The Trump administration has been under harsh criticism from teacher’s unions and Democrats for its support of school choice and appointing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

“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 said. “These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious, or home school that is right for them.”

During the campaign, then-candidate Trump proposed a $20 billion school voucher program that would greatly benefit the 11 million children living in poverty.

President Trump highlighted the example of Denisha Merriweather, who when she was young failed third grade twice. However, due to a tax credit scholarship program, Merriweather was able to enroll in a private center for learning.

“Today, she is the first in her family to graduate, not just from high school but from college,” Trump said. “Later this year, she will get her master’s degree in social work. We want all children to be able to break the cycle of poverty just like Denisha.”

Last week, it was reported that President Trump is heavily considering a first-of-its-kind federal tax credit scholarship program. This program would channel billions of dollars of public money to give low-income families the ability to send their children to private, charter, or even religious schools.

While Trump only dedicated a few minutes of his speech to school choice, it was enough to give conservatives hope that the future of education remains brighter than ever.

Watch the full speech below: