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Carson: Black Americans “still fight for space” on economic ladder’s bottom rung

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CHARLESTON – Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson, a pediatric neurosurgeon, shared his thoughts on Martin Luther King Jr's birthday as he attends several holiday-related events in South Carolina Monday.

In the statement, Carson says that despite Barack Obama being the first African-American president, black Americans "are still fighting for space on the bottom rung of the economic ladder." 

In 1964, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. accepted the Nobel Peace prize, he said, ‘I am mindful that debilitating and grinding poverty afflicts my people and chains them to the lowest rung of the economic ladder.’  After fifty years of liberals making promises and the last seven years of false hope from President Obama, not much has changed.  African Americans are still fighting for space on the bottom rung of the economic ladder. 

The high poverty rate in the black community continues because the very tools that should be used to promote economic opportunity instead keep low income and minority communities in chains. 

We have a school reform movement that continues to penalize low income and minority students by keeping them trapped in failing schools rather than giving them the choice to attend schools that best suit their academic needs.  We have a school reform movement that rewards national teacher’s unions at the expense of what is best for our students.

My education plan, provides school choice to families, empowers local communities, encourages the innovative spirit of educators, rewards good teachers and creates a streamlined student loan process.  Politicians have not had the resolve to make these essential changes, but I am not a politician. 

We are kidding ourselves if we believe that an education system that takes power away from parents and gives it to bureaucrats in Washington will improve lives and bridge the education gap.  It will not.  I am proof positive of what happens when parents have the power to make the right decisions for their children.  Through God’s grace and my mother’s wisdom, my brother and I were able to escape poverty. 

I know that education is the great liberator.  And if we do not make significant changes to our education system, in the years ahead when we celebrate Dr. King’s legacy, minority communities will still lag behind.

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