An education is a constitutionally protected right in Pennsylvania. According to our state Constitution: “The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.”
Unfortunately, this week Senate Bill 2 passed out of the Senate Education Committee. This Bill regards Education Savings Accounts, a refurbished form of voucher, also known as another way to shirk our responsibility and constitutional obligation to ensure that every child, regardless of race, gender identity, immigration status, or income, has equal access to and receives, a “thorough and efficient” education.
According to the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Local 3, “A recent analysis by Keystone Crossroads estimates that the implementation of ESAs as proposed would siphon nearly 1/5th of the public education budget from public schools. This would, undoubtedly, target schools educating students living in poverty as well as school districts educating large populations of English Language Learners and students with special needs.”
AFT-Pennsylvania President Ted Kirsh said of the bill, “The truth that voucher proponents refuse to face is that in 20 years of experimenting with ESAs, vouchers, and education tax credits, these schemes haven’t delivered on promises of higher student achievement or better graduation rates. In fact, in many instances, voucher students actually lose ground in reading and math when compared to children who remain in public school”.
Contact your State Senator and tell them that vouchers, “education savings accounts”, and Senate Bill 2 are wrong for Pennsylvania students.