Taking Back America By Taking Back Our Schools
2:41 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, good afternoon. It’s my great honor, on behalf of the President and the First Lady, to welcome you all to the White House. This is a distinguished group of American leaders, governors and members of Congress, and members of our Cabinet, and we’re grateful to have you all here.
You know, for nearly 100 days, President Trump has been delivering on the promises that he made to the American people. The President has been fighting for American jobs every single day since he was elected, putting renewed emphasis on American energy, cutting through a mountain range of red tape from the last administration. And today, the administration outlined the President’s vision for tax reform which will include one of the largest tax cuts for individuals and businesses in the history of this country. (Applause.)
Thanks to the President Trump’s leadership, more than 500,000 jobs have been created in 2017 alone. Businesses and consumers are more confident than they have been in years, and by some measure, for decades. It is truly extraordinary.
In a word, President Trump has simply been in the promise-keeping business since Inauguration Day. He signed 28 bills into law, the most of any President since 1947, and he’ll have signed some 30 executive orders in his first 100 days, including the action today.
And today the President is actually delivering on one more of his promises to the American people. Since day one, President Trump has been working tirelessly to uphold the Constitution and restore the proper balance between the states and the federal government. And that’s been especially true with the President’s focus on education.
Now as a former governor myself, I’ve always believed, as the President does, that education is a state and local function, and that decisions in education are best made by parents and teachers and local administrators. The decisions over our children’s school should be made by parents and local administrators, not by politicians or unelected bureaucrats in a far, distant capital.
The President believes the same thing, and the efforts that he will take today through this executive order will continue that process of empowering our families, empowering our states to ensure that every child in America has access to a world-class education.
And so with a grateful heart, I say, on behalf of the 45th President of the United States and on behalf of all those gathered here today, it is my high honor and distinct privilege to introduce to you the President of the United States, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much, Vice President Pence, who has done an absolutely outstanding job as Vice President. We very much appreciate it.
And I want to thank also Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for spearheading out effort to restore state and local control of our schools. Thank you very much, Betsy. With her help, we are empowering those who know our students best -- I would say, by far, the best, right, Betsy? -- their parents and the teachers, so that every child has the chance to succeed.
In fact, we’re proud to have some of those wonderful teachers here with us today, and we’d like to welcome all of them to the White House. It’s a great honor. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.
I also want to thank members of Congress, local leaders, and governors for joining us here today, including Governor Ivey of Alabama, a new and great governor. You will be fantastic. I’ve been hearing about you for years in the positive way, so I’m not surprised that you’re governor of Alabama. Congratulations. Tremendous.
Governor Branstad, who is soon going to be heading out, I suspect, to a place called China. They love him, I will tell you. They really love the soon-to-be ambassador, but he also loves China. So it was a good combination. I was very happy to put it together. They’re looking forward to seeing you. Very much so. Thank you. Thank you, Governor. (Applause.)
Governor LePage of Maine, Governor Sandoval of Nevada, Governor Herbert of Utah, Governor Mead of Wyoming -- we want to thank you all and everyone else for being with us. It’s really an honor to have you in White House.
For too long, the federal government has imposed its will on state and local governments. The result has been education that spends more and achieves far, far, far less. My administration has been working to reverse this federal power grab and give power back to families, cities, states. Give power back to localities.
Before this administration, only one time in our nation’s history had a President signed a bill that used the Congressional Review Act to cancel a federal regulation. In less than 100 days, I have signed 13 bills such congressional resolutions to cancel federal regulations and give power back to the people, and I’m very honored to have done so. (Applause.) That’s true. As you said, five have come from your committee, that’s exactly right. Good job. I think she’s done a good job. (Applause.)
I’ve also signed over a dozen executive actions that reverse federal intrusion and empower local communities.
The executive order I’m signing today is another critical step to restoring local control, which is so important. This executive order directs Secretary DeVos to review current federal regulations and ensure that they don’t obstruct the ability of states, local governments, teachers, and most importantly, parents, to make the best decisions for their students and, in many cases, for their children.
Previous administrations have wrongfully forced states and schools to comply with federal whims and dictate what our kids are taught. But we know that local communities do it best and know it best. The time has come to empower parents and teachers to make the decisions that help their students achieve success. That’s what this executive order is all about. So important.
Thomas Jefferson put it best when he said, “I believe the states can best govern our home concerns.” With this executive order and the many actions we have taken in less than 100 days, we are providing our states and communities with control over the matters that are most important to them. Together we are going to fight to give our children the bright and beautiful future they deserve. (Applause.)
So I want to thank you all. As you know, I’m heading over to a Senate meeting. It’s a very important meeting. So I’ll be leaving now, but I just wanted to introduce our really exceptional Education Secretary. She’s caught on -- you wouldn’t believe it, all of the great things I’m hearing about you, Betsy. I’m very proud. So, Secretary Betsy DeVos. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)
Q Mr. President, would you want to see a healthcare vote by the end of this week? Would you like to see that, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: Always.
SECRETARY DEVOS: So it has been all of our experience, that those closest to the problem are best equipped to solve it. That means empowering parents, teachers, state and local leaders -- not the federal government. Time and time again, we’ve seen that one-size-fits-all policies and mandates from Washington simply don’t work. We can’t have a cookie-cutter approach to education. Each state and each school have different challenges, and each individual student has unique needs.
Our solutions should be as varied as the students we serve. The Every Student Succeeds Act was a good step in this direction, giving flexibility to states to best meet the needs of their communities. We’re going to implement this law as Congress intended, not how the previous administration dictated. When we give decision-making power back to states and communities, students benefit. This executive order puts us on that track.
So I thank the President for signing this executive order, and for his commitment to an education policy that puts students first. It’s my honor now to introduce the governor of the great state of Nevada, Brian Sandoval. (Applause.)
GOVERNOR SANDOVAL: Thank you Madam Secretary and Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, it’s going to be a short speech because I -- I just felt I had to stay here. (Laughter.)
GOVERNOR SANDOVAL: It just got shorter, Mr. President. (Laughter.)
Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, my fellow governors, representatives, teachers, educators, it really is a privilege and honor to be with you all today. You know, in my home state of Nevada, I often say that what happens in our schools today will determine the future of our great state. And Mr. President, I know that your action today will empower every state to improve our delivery of education. Most importantly, it will allow governors across the nation to ensure that all states serve all students from all backgrounds.
Now, as the incoming chair of the National Governors Association, I know that the governors will collectively continue to act as the national voice on federalism. And as the leaders of education in our states, we look forward to working with this administration to ensure our role is reflected in federal policy.
Now, over time, the Department of Education’s obligations have grown beyond its initial charge, and many well-intended act resulted in states feeling more and more constrained by federal rules. Today, Mr. President, you’re signing of this executive order will place the states back in the driver’s seat. Thank you, sir. (Applause.)
So, Mr. President, again, I’m going skip a page -- (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Education for North Korea. (Laughter.)
I like education.
GOVERNOR SANDOVAL: This is even better than I hoped for, Mr. President. The Every Student Succeeds Act embodies the vision you have for education and the limited role of the federal government.
Mr. President, you have changed the game for the better in the United States, and for that I thank you for your leadership. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: This is a good one, right -- on federal control of education. Doesn’t get better than that, right?
(The President signs the executive order.)
Q Mr. President, can you say to the American people that your tax plan will not blow a hole in the deficit?
THE PRESIDENT: Great plan. It will put people back to work.
2:54 P.M. EDT