PA school choice measure voted down
The House has voted 105-90 to reject an education reform plan that would have expanded the state’s tax credit program and overhauled the charter school law. Jay Ostrich, director of public affairs for the Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives, says strong teacher union pressure helped defeat the bill.
“Often times what we have seen this year is that there are people who call themselves Republicans who are unwilling to do what’s right,” he notes. “They are more than happy to do what’s easy and to bow to the union interest.”
Ostrich laments that students in the bottom five percent of failing schools will be most affected by the defeat, as he points out there is an act of violence every 17 minutes in those schools.
“This is really about rescuing children who are in crisis, who are crying out for help,” the public affairs director says. “[Our lawmakers] must stop sacrificing the interests of our children on the altar of self-interest through their continued support of unions.”
But he expects intense public pressure will not allow lawmakers to brush this issue aside for long. It is estimated that 70,000 students could escape failing and dangerous schools if the proposal were to pass.