Parents, Children, and Lawmakers Celebrate Education Savings Accounts

Dozens of parents, children, and educational choice advocates packed the Joshua Learning Center in Harrisburg to rally for education savings accounts (ESAs). Sen. John DiSanto's soon-to-be released legislation, SB 2, empowers parents with flexible spending accounts that can be used for various education expenses. 

Reporters from ABC 27, CBS 21, WGAL 8, FOX 43, PennLive, TribLive, Post-Gazette, PLS Reporter, and WITF were in attendance to learn about ESAs—the new frontier in educational choice.

Sen. DiSanto explained that ESAs connect parents with educational options uniquely suited to their child's needs. He was followed by Lance Deane, a Harrisburg resident and recent graduate of Kutztown University, who benefited from Pennsylvania's tax credit scholarship programs. Deane used an EITC scholarship to graduate from Bishop McDevitt High School. Deane and his brother are the first in their family to graduate from college. He supports ESAs because they can bring life-saving opportunity to friends and neighbors in Harrisburg:

I had peers who didn’t have my opportunity. Some of them unfortunately are in jail, some of them are dead…but not me. I graduated from college. I’m back here teaching. I have my degree, that’s something no one can ever take from…I just want to stress the importance of having that chance, having that opportunity, to go to [school] where you want.

The audience also heard from Shannon Lawson, a Harrisburg City parent, and Lavelle Mohammad, principal of the Harrisburg Nativity School. Lawson and Mohammad discussed how ESAs would allow more families to access educational options that are currently out of reach. Senators Mike Regan and Scott Martin, as well as Rep. Steve Bloom, also spoke in favor of ESA legislation.

For more information on ESAs in Pennsylvania, see CF's recent policy memo