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Sen. Tim Scott talks education choice, school safety, racism at Sioux City private school
South Carolina Republican announced presidential bid this week
By Jared McNett, - Sioux City Journal
May. 25, 2023 4:02 pm
SIOUX CITY — Two days after declaring his 2024 candidacy for president, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott made his first official campaign stop in Iowa.
A Republican in his third U.S. Senate term, Scott visited Siouxland Christian school on Wednesday before holding a roundtable discussion with staff about school safety, education savings accounts, his own upbringing and systemic racism.
The 57-year-old Charleston Southern University graduate talked about Iowa as a leader on “school choice” and said an overhaul of the country's educational system has been a long time coming.
“For the school choice movement, the seeds have been planted over years and years and years,” he said. “It's going to be fun to watch how the country changes because of quality education.”
The education section of Scott's 2024 campaign website mentions his work on the “CHOICE Act“ and is headlined ”education, not indoctrination" and states “extreme liberals are letting big labor bosses trap millions of kids in failing systems.“
To bring more teachers to understaffed schools, Scott said one solution may be to forgive some college debt for those entering the education workforce. He does not support President Joe Biden's plan to cancel up to $20,000 of college debt for tens of millions of Americans.
Scott noted Congress had provided around $38 billion to make schools safer after the May 24, 2022, mass shootings at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
Congress passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to toughen background checks for the youngest gun buyers and make it easier for states to put “red-flag” laws in place. Fifteen Republicans supported the bill, but Scott voted against it.
Asked what he would look for in naming a secretary of education, if he becomes president, Scott said he wants a secretary who wouldn’t “target” charter schools and who advocates for students rather than “indoctrinate“ them.
“If we don't start teaching kids that all things are possible, don't be surprised when they buy into the drug of victimhood,” he said.
While visiting a first-grade classroom, Scott talked about how important education was to him.
"The closest thing to magic in America is a quality education,“ he said. ”As a kid, I attended four different elementary schools by the fourth grade. And being raised in a single-parent household, mired in poverty, the one thing I can tell you is that finding the right place for your kid is really hard when you're moving a lot.
“Walking through this school, … I'm just remembering the teachers that had incredible impact on my life."
Scott was asked by a media member if he had a comment on Joy Behar of "The View" saying he didn't understand systemic racism.
“I've been discriminated against, without any question, though America is not a racist country,” said Scott, who is the first Black senator from South Carolina in the state's history and the first Black American to win a U.S. Senate race in the South since 1881.
“What I will say though is: What is insane and dangerous are the liberal elites making millions of dollars a year trying to indoctrinate our kids that the only way to be successful in this country as a child of color is to be the exception,” he said. “That is a lie, without any question, and it's a dangerous lie.“
As this week, polling of Republicans show Scott trails Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who announced his presidential campaign this week, and former President Donald Trump.
Other GOP presidential hopefuls include former Vice President Mike Pence, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Ohio businessman Vivek Ramaswamy.