Trump Invited a Student to His Joint Address. Her Story Says a Lot About His Views on Education Reform.
When President Trump delivers his first joint address to Congress Tuesday night, Denisha Merriweather will be there as his invited guest — and her attendance offers a clue about how Trump might fulfill his promise to spend $20 billion on expanding vouchers and other alternatives to traditional public schools.
Merriweather is a young woman who twice failed third grade at a Florida public school before her godmother placed her in a private school. She paid tuition with help from Florida’s tax-credit scholarship program, which gives corporations tax breaks when they donate to nonprofits that then distribute the money in the form of scholarships to private and religious schools.
Attending private school turned her life around, Merriweather says. She graduated from college and expects to receive a master’s degree this spring.
Trump and his education secretary, Betsy DeVos, have both said they believe public education is failing too many students and that the solution is to make sure students have more access to alternatives, including private schools.