PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Vice President Mike Pence was greeted with protesters as he was in Philadelphia Wednesday to underline the highlights of school choice in President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. During his visit, Pence spoke about a local student who was honored by Trump during last night’s speech.
— Alecia Reid (@alecia__reid) February 5, 2020
Janiyah Davis was one of 50,000 Pennsylvania students waiting for a tax credit scholarship. Luckily for her, the wait is over.
Janiyah flew home today to Philadelphia with Pence on Air Force Two. During last night’s State of the Union address, Trump awarded her a scholarship to the school of her choice.
“The president added that no parent should be forced to send their child to a failing government school and we will always work to ensure every parent in America has a choice on their children’s education,” Pence said during a speech at St. Francis de Sales School in West Philadelphia.
Although Janiyah flew home with the vice president and her mother, she wasn’t with Pence as he addressed an auditorium full of third and fourth graders at the school.
Both Trump and Pence support the “School Choice” program in Pennsylvania schools. Pence said “Education Freedom” scholarships have a transformational impact on students.
“Parents should choose where their children should go to school and that’s the principle that brings us here today,” Pence said.
However, not everyone feels the same way. There has been increasing controversy surrounding school choice.
Protesters started lining up early outside to rally against Pence’s visit, saying the Pennsylvania public school system is underfunded and money needs to be allocated into the system, not taken out for private schools.
Janiyah loves art and math and, according to the White House, has been assigned to low-performing schools. Her mother, Stephanie Davis, is a single mom who wanted school choice expanded so her daughter can attend a school that best serves her. She’s now grateful for the opportunity.
Sister Mary McNulty, the school’s principal, says this could lead to a positive outcome.
“I believe children deserve the best education possible and however that’s going to happen, they need it,” McNulty said.
Janiyah now has the opportunity to go to any school of her choice.
The U.S. Department of Education says Secretary Betsy Devos’ donation will cover her entire tuition, wherever she ends up.
After the speech, Pence headed to Harrisburg for a women’s rally supporting Donald Trump.
CBS3’s Alecia Reid reports.