A long time proponent of school choice legislation across the country, FreedomWorks* has joined a large coalition of school choice advocates in Pennsylvania to push back against the teachers unions on the state's first viable school choice legislation. Championed by Senator Tony Williams (D) and Senator Jeff Piccola (R), the bipartisan bill will start push for school choice legislation across the country, as well as help Pennsylvania parents and students regain control of their child's education.
Here's a quick run down on the bill:
- It institutes a voucher program that phases in over 3 years. By the 3rd year, the bill will offer vouchers to all low income children whose family income is at or below 130% of the poverty level. As of last year, it's around 32% of PA public school students.
- PA is currently spending over $14k per pupil. The vouchers would provide low-income students with an $8,498 voucher, which covers tuition at most private schools. It's a savings for the taxpayers.
- It doesn't provide contingencies for private schools. They're not forced to accept a certain number of recipients or adopt curriculum requirements.
This bill could be a reality in Pennsylvania. As the United States falls further behind globally in education rankings, school choice is becoming a larger issue across the country. Really, it's surprising it has taken this long. The idea that parents should be able to give their children an opportunity to leave a failing school should be a no brainer.
There are a few Republicans that are still working on the side of the teachers unions to push back on SB1. They're feeling the pressure, and are starting to panic. Today, FreedomWorks received a call from Senator Kim Ward, who heard a podcast I did with my colleague yesterday and was upset that she had been called out by name. "How dare you!" she said. "I'm not a liberal Republican!" she repeated 5 times. "I worked with George Bush!" As if that's a qualifier.
In typical politician fashion, she tried to turn the conversation on my colleague, accusing him of "bullying women."
This has nothing to do with bullying women, Senator Ward. This has to do with doing the right thing and giving families a choice in their education. You can either be on the side of kids or the side of the teachers unions.
Senator Kim Ward is one of two critical holdouts on the passage of this bill, the other being House Majority Leader Mike Turzai. This is a chance to move the ball forward for education in our country. If you'd like to help keep the pressure on, you can reach their offices at the numbers below.
Senator Kim L. Ward (R-39) (717) 787-6063
House Majority Leader Mike Turzai: (412) 369-2230
* For those who don't know, I'm the New Media Director at FreedomWorks, and have been a part of this fight.