A Response to the Pennsylvania School Boards Association

School Choice Opportunity

The Pennsylvania School Board Association has indicated that one of its main objections to SB 1 is that there is no provision in the bill that will require private schools to take a student with a voucher.

According to Tim Allwein, PSBA’s assistant executive director, “this destroys the whole concept of parental control. That’s a problem for us.”

This is an interesting statement if one considers that the only parents who are able to exert any kind of control within the current government-run, zip-code based school system that the PSBA represents are those with enough financial resources to be able to choose which school district to live in by either buying a house or renting an apartment.

What about the low-income parents living in Allentown, Clearfield, Erie, Lancaster, Harrisburg or Pittsburgh that are “required” to send their children to a low performing public school just because of their address. Where is their control?

The quality of a parent’s home should not determine the quality of their child’s education.

For the last 10 years, thousands of students have left traditional public schools to attend private schools all across the Commonwealth thanks to scholarships provided by the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program. For 10 years, families have been seeking other educational options for their children in the state’s private religious and non-sectarian schools. For 10 years there has been almost no problem with families being refused admittance. Why? Because when parents have control, they seek the school that is going to best meet their child’s individual educational needs.

Parents know that one of the most important factors in their children’s future chance at success in life is the quality of their education. For too long parents without the financial means to change their address in order to change their child’s school, have been held captive by an educational system that too often fails to prepare students for adult life.

These parents have been eagerly awaiting the day when Harrisburg has finally heard their cries for help and decide to change the system, giving them back control over their children’s educational futures.

If the PSBA is truly concerned about parental control, then they should be applauding and pledging their support for SB 1. If enacted, SB 1 will give tens of thousands of Pennsylvania parents new control over their children’s educational futures.