Washington Is Watching Harrisburg

Two writers for Politico recently opined that when it comes to getting spending under control, “the most sweeping work is getting done in states”—and they said the folks in Washington are watching.  If you wonder about that, look no further than the blog of the Heritage Foundation, one of the biggest think tanks in D.C., which is now spotlighting the fight for greater school choice here in Pennsylvania.  After summarizing Senate Bill 1 and relating it to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner’s successful effort to revive the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, Heritage researcher Rachel Sheffield points out that school choice saves not just lives, but also money:

Not only does the tax credit program benefit families, but it also saves taxpayer dollars. Estimates show that Pennsylvania’s EITC program saves the state nearly $500 million each year, due to students leaving higher-cost public schools to attend lower-cost private schools. For the same reason, the newly proposed opportunity scholarships would also save taxpayer money at the local level. For example, the school district of Harrisburg spends approximately $17,000 per student, whereas the opportunity scholarships available through the program would cost only $9,000 each.

She then concludes:

Pennsylvania’s move to expand school choice is one of many efforts underway across the nation to reform education and give families greater control of their children’s academic futures. From D.C. to Florida, from the suburbs of New Jersey to the heartland of Indiana, legislators are taking action to reform education. Now Pennsylvania has its moment to expand educational options and offer the possibility of a successful future for so many of its children.

Amen to that.