Sen. Rubio praises Step Up scholarships for providing life-changing opportunities

Mar 17 2022 • By Roger Mooney

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) recently joined the Brookings Institute to discuss his role in the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys, which exists within the U.S Commission on Civil Rights’ Office of the Staff Director.

The bipartisan, 19-member Commission, comprised of congressional lawmakers, executive branch appointees, issue experts, activists, and other stakeholders, examines social disparities affecting Black men and boys in America and recommends policies to improve upon or augment current government programs.

Included in Rubio’s conversation with the Institute on why the Commission’s work matters, he spoke passionately about the importance and value of education choice. Here is an excerpt:

It’s one of the reasons why one of the things I’ve been supportive of is school choice. Not because I’m anti-public schools. I went to public schools. Some of the best public schools in America are public schools in South Florida. But I also have seen firsthand — not because I read about it — someone be taken through an opportunity scholarship, which is funded through corporate donations to Step Up For [Students] in Florida, be able to go to a private school or a school of their parents’ choice, where they are exposed to all kinds of things that expand their horizons.

Suddenly, they realize there’s this whole other world out there — job and career opportunities that they may never have been aware of if their life had been isolated to just the 15, 20 square blocks of their neighborhood and their local community. That is a life-changing opportunity that suddenly sparks all sorts of interest. I’ve seen it happen over and over again.

People who never thought about becoming an engineer or a pilot, or going into the service academies, or going into law or science, whatever it may be, because they didn’t even know that those jobs existed, because they don’t know anyone who has jobs like that. To me, that’s extraordinarily important, and it’s one of those things that I think are underappreciated.

How much value that has in young people’s lives, to be exposed to those opportunities and to expand horizons early on. You can read more of Rubio’s comments here.

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Roger Mooney