EDITORIAL: PA Paper Says Vouchers Beat Status Quo
From The Times-Tribune:
The state’s public education establishment bristled at the state Senate’s passage Thursday of a school choice bill that would enable at least some kids to escape some of the worst schools in the commonwealth.
They offered no alternative other than the status quo, however, and contended that ever more state funding somehow would make more effective the failed schools at issue.
Of the 144 schools from which low-income students would be eligible for tuition vouchers to attend any other school, 88 are in Philadelphia. Sen. Anthony Williams, a Philadelphia Democrat who championed the school choice law, succinctly and correctly stated the situation.
“Families should not suffer because their local school is not providing their child with a quality education . . .. These families are one step closer from freeing themselves from the trap of failing education,” he said.
Therein lies the problem. School boards and the politically wired teachers unions can lay out all the rescue plans that they can come up with, but growing children don’t have time to wait.
Voucher plans aren’t perfect, either. They will offer a new opportunity at a better education to only about 10 percent of the kids stuck in poorly performing schools. But even that is a better answer than allowing all of the kids to be doomed to poor education.
Opponents trotted out failed constitutional arguments that the voucher plan is state support of religion, since some of the vouchers would be used to send kids to parochial schools. But the vouchers go to students’ families, who decide whether to use them at public, secular private schools, or parochial schools. The state endorses nothing other than greater opportunity.