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Blog

    School Choice: Senate Bill 1

    02/22/2011

    School choice is a movement that many can get behind. After all, where’s the downside? Your tax dollars follow your student, schools are rewarded (or punished) based on their performance, and the entire system is held accountable for its performance. Senate Bill 1, an upcoming bipartisan bill in Pennsylvania, is a step in the right direction for the great state. Nonetheless, it faces opposition, not only from the teacher’s unions and the politicians in their pocket, but also from supporters of school choice, on the grounds that the bill does not go far enough.
         Senate Bill1 establishes a voucher program laid out in various stages to help inject school choice into the Pennsylvania education system. In the first year, only students in low income areas who attend failing schools and qualify academically are eligible to apply. By the final stage, the failing school requirement is removed. Opponents to the bill suggest that this is not enough. Why should such a system be limited only to low income students? Aren’t all students entitled to such a voucher program?
         Supporters of the bill couldn’t agree more with this line of reasoning. We all hope to see a bill that one day provides such provisions to each and every student in Pennsylvania. That is not what is placed before us in Senate Bill 1. Nonetheless, support of this bill is crucial. Senate Bill 1 provides a foothold on the long road to school choice; a foundation upon which future bills can build. In short, is Senate Bill 1 the ideal bill that will provide school choice to every K-12 student in Pennsylvania? No. Is it better than the current system, providing a fix to some of the current problems while offering the groundwork for future reform? Absolutely.
    Please contact your local Senator and Representative and tell them that you support school choice, and more specifically the upcoming school choice bill Senate Bill 1.A series of small wins is just as good as one big one, and far more easy to achieve.