Pennsylvania lawmakers and advocacy groups say they hope to funnel students toward universities and productive careers instead of prison and indolence by introducing school vouchers and a Parent Trigger this legislative session.
“We have more than 100,000 kids trapped in 144 failing and violent schools here in Pennsylvania,” said Jay Ostrich, director of public affairs at the Harrisburg-based Commonwealth Foundation. “We have more than doubled spending in education in the past years, from $13 billion to $26 billion, and we’ve seen test scores stagnate and violence rise. We know we’re failing, and we’re hemorrhaging money to fail.”
Gov. Tom Corbett (R) said a voucher plan is one of his top priorities this fall, but disagreements between the state House and Senate may cause the plan to fall through again.
Though the Senate Education Committee approved a voucher and Parent Trigger bill (Senate Bill 1) in the spring, it failed to move farther. Several senators are working to reformulate SB 1 this session.
Giving Poor Parents Options
In an October news conference, Corbett proposed vouchers for students in the bottom 5 percent of the state’s schools, currently about 140 Pennsylvania schools. Families earning up to 130 percent of the federal poverty level, or $29,000 in annual income for a family of four, would be eligible.
Read more from The Heartland Institute’s Article: Vouchers, Parent Trigger Resurface in Pennsylvania