House Speaker Boehner (R-OH) is known to shed a few tears from time to time.
So perhaps it's not all that surprising that at a rally in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to commemorate National School Choice Week, he got a little choked up.
“My story’s pretty simple, I’m a regular guy with a big job,” he began his remarks, describing his rise to power through misty eyes. “A lot of you know I’ve got 11 brothers and sisters that worked at my dad’s bar. But my parents sent all twelve of us [to] Catholic Schools...I owe everything to them for that opportunity.”
“Most of you know how I am,” he added self-deprecatingly. “I can get carried away real quick.”
Returning to his prepared remarks, he also discussed the reasons why he supports school choice, and always has since first winning a U.S. House seat more than two decades ago.
“When I got here in 1991, I wanted to help make sure that every student had the same chance that I did to go to a good school because education is the great equalizer in America,” he said. “But let me tell you there’s been a long struggle; we haven’t always had reasons to hold rallies. You see, the education establishment a long time ago decided that the answer to every problem when it comes to school was more money and more government control. And no matter how much money we poured into that hole, things just got worse.”
But there is cause for optimism. The School Choice movement has taken on a life of its own, he said, even if the fight is not yet won.
“This struggle is not going to be won by my generation,” he added. “But it will be done and accomplished by your generation. Through the Opportunity Scholarship, we’ve shown students thrive when parents are empowered to pick the best schools for their kids. We’ve shown how great charter schools are and how we need more of them. Because of you, we know that school choice can make anything possible. That knowledge is worth more than any power that Washington has.”
He then urged every student present to “share their story.” Only through moral suasion and hard work, he argued, can those not supportive of the School Choice movement see the light.
“If you can change hearts and minds, then you can also change laws,” he reasoned. “And if you change laws, you can change the face of this nation forever.”
“Education ought to be the civil right of the 21st century," he added, "and you have the power to make it happen.”