February 16, 2011

A Bad School Choice

I choose to send my children to Catholic school, yet Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1 does NOT include families like mine in the voucher scheme; apparently, I make too much money to qualify.  So how can it truly be a "School Choice" bill? 

It's not.  Rather, this is simply a way for the State to dictate curriculum to non-public schools and create an all-new, politically connected board, and a shiny new bureaucracy to execute the plan.

Sadly, the Bill may drive a wedge between over 30 grassroots organizations from across the Commonwealth, Governor Corbett, and the PA-GOP.  While the politicians may want to pat themselves on the back for giving us choices, the watchdogs realize it may be another 15 years before we get another opportunity to correct this legislative mistake.

Commonwealth Foundation has provided a good breakdown of the Bill with changes they would like to see included.  They accurately point out that one important item missing from SB1 is any tax credit for families above the threshold currently written into the bill.  Oddly enough, they've also published this convenient little commentary from "Public School Board Members for School Choice" supporting the plan.

Wait a minute!  Public School Board Members support choice now??  Anyone else slightly suspicious?

Any school choice bill which falls short of providing relief for ALL families is nothing but a political oxymoron. 


Nathan Benefield said...

Thanks for the linkages to Commonwealth Foundation's guide and school board members for choice.

I would note, if it alleviates your "suspicion," that we are seeking school board members (past and present) who support school choice to combat the view that all school board members oppose school choice. Indeed, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, will all their resources, is adamantly opposed to school choice, as is the PSEA union.

We are still looking for more school board members willing to stand up for choice (which does not require endorsing any specific bill). Details and here: http://www.commonwealthfoundation.org/research/info/public-school-board-members-for-school-choice

Ed said...

I stand corrected. I assumed the PSBM for Choice was in lock step with PSEA and/PSBA as it relates to public control over private education. I provided a link to the PSBM article as well.

But I'm still curious why so-called conservative organizations, like FreedomWorks, are pushing this recycled legislation.

They say incrementalism is a foot in the door to real reform. I say, if comprehensive reform doesn't happen now, when will it ever?