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FreedomWorks’ grassroots team and Pennsylvania field staff traveled to Harrisburg last week to meet with Representatives to discuss school choice and education reform. As part of FreedomWorks’ ongoing campaign to pass comprehensive education reform, we have been actively working in the Capitol with lawmakers to encourage a bill that includes both vouchers and an extension of the existing EITC tax credit.
Education reform was a campaign promise and platform of Governor Tom Corbett, yet no education bill has become law. Last session, FreedomWorks and local groups teamed up and were successful in passing a school choice bill (SB1) through the Senate, where it was ultimately killed in the House.
Despite this setback, FreedomWorks and our activists are re-engaged and working tirelessly to ensure that campaign promises are kept and a bill is passed this time around.
School choice legislation would mean a more parent-focused education system that rewards innovation and allows children to escape failing schools. The legislation being discussed at the Capitol would include vouchers for children in failing schools, and an extension of the wildly successful EITC tax credit program.
Legislation similar to this was proposed in the House last session, but was squashed by leadership. From the response of the lawmakers, a bill is expected sometime after the primary on April 24, giving ample time for the education of lawmakers and citizens on the benefits of education reform.
School choice legislation similar to the proposed legislation being discussed in Harrisburg has been successful in states across the country. Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana is currently pushing the country’s largest reform package which includes vouchers and tax credits and is supported by over 60 percent of voters.
A victory in Louisiana looks likely, showing wide-ranging support for education reform that includes vouchers and tax credits- two key components of the proposed legislation currently being discussed in Harrisburg.
When market-based incentives are injected into the system, schools are forced to compete, allowing for a more “child-focused” education system where tax dollars follow the student, rather than getting used by some bureaucrat. When schools compete for students, they perform better and at smaller costs to the parent in order to keep enrollment up. School choice legislation is a win-win for both taxpayers and students alike.
FreedomWorks will continue to engage the grassroots in Pennsylvania by hosting educational seminars across the state, supplying voter education materials and engaging in meetings with lawmakers to assure a school choice bill is passed.
Fighting against the education establishment is an uphill battle, but with the hard work and dedication of a network of over 35,000 in the Commonwealth, FreedomWorks is confident we will be successful this year, bringing much needed reform to a failing system. Stay tuned.