Financial mismanagement. Student violence. State receivership. FBI investigation. These are the headlines Harrisburg families have been confronting for years—even decades.
That's why the House Education Committee advanced legislation, HB 1800, sponsored by Speaker Mike Turzai, offering parents an escape from Harrisburg School District—one of the worst-performing districts in Pennsylvania.
Stephen Bloom, Commonwealth Foundation Vice President, issued the following statement in response to Speaker Turzai’s Harrisburg scholarship legislation:
Speaker Turzai’s plan will offer immediate scholarship grants so desperate families can rescue their own kids from failing schools. This legislation must be enacted before life’s only shot at a good education and a secure future is stolen from even one more young Harrisburg School District student. The road to fixing the chronically broken Harrisburg schools is a long one, and we hope the effort is successful. But it’s inhumane and destructive to trap families in the perpetual uncertainty of yet another years-long turnaround experiment while every day students are being cheated out of the quality education they deserve. These kids need help now, before their futures slip away.
House Bill 1800 will empower parents and students victimized by Harrisburg’s unsafe and underperforming system and give them the freedom to pursue safer learning environments and educational options that are best-suited to their individual needs and talents.
Speaker Turzai's plan ensures Harrisburg and any other failing district with students eligible for the scholarship grants will retain the vast majority of the funding for each student being rescued, including every single local dollar and half of the state funding meant for that child.
We affirm and support Speaker Turzai’s compassionate leadership and practical commitment to ensuring every child has access to top-tier educational options no matter their income or neighborhood, and we encourage the House and Senate to act swiftly to send this educational lifeline to the governor’s desk.
Click here for more information and analysis on HB 1800.