Harrisburg Patriot-News columnist Nancy Eshelman rightly sounded the alarm Sunday on Pennsylvania’s public education system:
It’s the same old story. Every spring, threats of higher taxes, slashed programs or both hang over our heads like thick black clouds.
It’s time to yell, “Enough!”
This isn’t a midstate problem. Schools across Pennsylvania are slashing and burning programs while jacking up taxes. What we need is someone in power to step up and lead the charge to fundamentally change the way we do business. Our system is broken. We need a better one, one that doesn’t rely on property taxes, one that treats education with the importance and respect it deserves.
Ms. Eshelman is correct when she points out that Pennsylvania’s public education is broken. But there is a proven policy solution that allows teachers, schools and families to do more with less: School choice. Twenty states have passed education reform that includes opportunity scholarships, or vouchers, to low-income students, and scholarships through tax credits.
The results speak for themselves. After 20 years of trying school choice, our best studies show all or some voucher students improve academically through the policy. The best part? Nineteen of 20 studies show that competition through school choice improves public schools, too. By contrast, simply increasing funding for flagging school districts does not fix the entrenched problems driving persistent failure.
School choice is the new solution Pennsylvania needs to fix its broken education system. With school budgets strained and taxpayer dollars stretched, it’s also the remedy that will help students, families, teachers—and our public schools.