Education and Literacy

Floor Speech

By:  Tim Scott
Date: July 10, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SCOTT of South Carolina. Thank you, Congressman Clarke.

Let me just thank Mr. Clarke for focusing on the issue of education and, specifically, the issue of literacy. I will say that as a kid growing up in a single-parent household myself, living in poverty, I did not value education as a youngster. And so by the time I was in high school, I was flunking out. I failed the ninth grade. I failed world geography, civics, Spanish, and English. When you fail Spanish and English, they don't consider you bilingual. They may call you ``bi-ignorant.''

And that's where I found myself, because I had lost hope in life. I had a mother who believed strongly in the power of education. And because of her discipline, her involvement, and her focus, I found the path back towards prosperity, which started with education. And as chairman of the county council a few years ago, I recognized that the incarcerated population of Charleston County was highly represented by young people, mostly men, who were functionally illiterate, coming from single-parent households and living in poverty, as I did.

So the value of education cannot be overemphasized enough, and the necessity of public-private partnerships to address this issue is an absolute necessity because our Nation faces a crisis.

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Mr. SCOTT of South Carolina. Mr. Clarke, I would say that without any question the issue of education is not an African American issue; it's not an Hispanic issue. It is an American issue. It is an American tradition that for all access in this Nation, the power of freedom comes from the power of education. And we stand here together as one of the more conservative Members of the House and certainly one of the more liberal Members of the House focusing on the same problem. We may not even agree on all the paths to solving this problem, but we can agree on the necessity of addressing the issue of literacy. And if we can work together finding paths for the American people to focus their attention, finding paths for Congress to focus our attention, we find paths to the solution.

Mr. CLARKE of Michigan. I agree, my brother. I'm going to work with you on this.

Mr. SCOTT of South Carolina. Thank you, Mr. Clarke.

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