lifeline scholarships

65 Organizations, Individuals Call for Enactment of Lifeline Scholarships

Harrisburg, Pa., June 29, 2023 — A diverse coalition of more than 60 individuals and organizations, including two former U.S education secretaries, rapper and activist Meek Mill, schools and scholarship organizations from across the state, Pennsylvania education advocacy organizations, Troy Carter (west Philadelphia native and former talent manager for stars such as Lady Gaga and John Legend), and other public interest groups are rallying support for the Lifeline Scholarship program that would help students trapped in failing Pennsylvania schools.

The program would provide students in Pennsylvania’s lowest-performing public schools with scholarships to attend a school of their choice. 

In a letter to the governor and legislators, the coalition wrote that “33 of the bottom 15 percent of high schools have zero students performing math at their grade level; six high schools have not a single student reading at their grade level. Minority, low-income students are overrepresented in these underperforming schools. 

“Without Lifeline Scholarships, we are setting our children up for failure before they even have an opportunity to succeed.”

“This is an overwhelming expression of support from a broad coalition on behalf of the 250,000 Pennsylvania students trapped in failing public schools,” said Erik Telford, senior vice president of the Commonwealth Foundation, which organized the coalition letter. “Lifeline Scholarships offer them hope and access to quality education. This program must be included in the pending budget agreement. With the new school year fast approaching, these children’s futures are hanging in the balance.”


The Commonwealth Foundation transforms free-market ideas into public policies so all Pennsylvanians can flourish.

Read the coalition letter here.

Coalition Members


Rabbi Matthew Abelson 

Conservative Judaism 

Richard K. Armey 

Member of Congress, Ret. 

(Former U.S. House Majority Leader)

Bill Bennett 

3rd U.S. Secretary of Education 

Troy Carter 

Venice Music / One Way Out PA 

Betsy DeVos 

11th U.S. Secretary of Education 

J Erving 

Executive VP Sony Music/ Founder of Human ReSources Music 

Shawn Gee 

Live Nation Urban 

Kevin Hassett 

Distinguished visiting fellow Hoover
& former Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers 

Meek Mill 

Artist/Co-founder Reform 

Ryan Press 

A&R at Warner Chappell Music 

Rev. Joshua C. Robertson 

Senior Pastor, The Rock Church 


Derrell Bradford 



Saul Anuzis 


60 Plus Association 

Ryan Cantrell 

National Director of Government Affairs 

American Federation for Children 

Lisa B. Nelson 


ALEC Action 

Phil Kerpen 


American Commitment 

Ashley Klingensmith 

State Director 

Americans for Prosperity – Pennsylvania Americans for Prosperity 

Grover Norquist 


Americans for Tax Reform 

Patricia Scott


Archbishop John Carroll

Philip Puleo 

ACSIPA Liason 

Association of Christian Schools International 

Beth Ann Rosica 


Back Basics West Chester 

Thomas A. Smith 


Bishop McCort Catholic High School 

Robert Alt

President and CEO

The Buckeye Institute

Jeanne Allen 

Founder & CEO 

Center for Education Reform 

Jim Saunders 

President, Cofounder, and CEO 

America Lehigh Valley 

Darla Romfo 

President & CEO 

Children’s Scholarship Fund 

Keisha Jordan 

President & CEO 

Children’s Scholarship Fund of Philadelphia 

Stephen Moore 


Committee to Unleash Prosperity 

Jennifer Stefano 


Commonwealth Action 

Nathan Benefield 

Senior Vice President 

Commonwealth Foundation 

Senator Jim DeMint 


Conservative Partnership Institute 

Tom Shoemaker 

President & CEO 

Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School 

Ms. Landis Erwin 

Director of Development 

Crossroads Foundation 

Marc LeBlond 

Director of Policy


Corey DeAngelis 

Executive Director

Education Freedom Institute 

Tim Hoefer

President & CEO

Empire Center

Dave Hardy 


Excellent Schools PA 

Ashley DeMauro Mullins 

Senior Legislative Director, Northeast 

ExcelinEd in Action 

Adam Brandon 



Najimah Roberson 


Harrisburg Families United 

Dr. Matt Tarr 

Head of School 

High Point Classical Academy 

Mario H. Lopez 


Hispanic Leadership Fund 

Bruce Robinson 

President and Chief Executive Officer 

Independence Mission Schools 

Hadley Heath Manning 

Vice President for Policy 

Independent Women’s Voice 

Susan J. Selby 


Immanuel Christian School, Hazleton 

Daniel Garza 


The LIBRE Initiative 

Kristie Dugan 


Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls 

Rev. Aaron J. Anderson 


Logos Academy York

Andy Phillips 

Founding CEO 

Logos Academy Harrisburg 

Kristen Tyagi 

Executive Director

National Coalition for Public School Options 

Darlene Robbins 


Northeast PA Manufacturers & Employers Council 

Luke Bernstein 

President & CEO 

Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry 

Dr. Anne Clark 


Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools 

Sharon Sedlar 

Founder and CEO 

Pennsylvania Families for Education Choice 

Thomas J. Shaheen 

Vice President for Policy 

Pennsylvania Family Council 

David Taylor 

President & CEO 

Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association 

Steve Litz 

Business Manager 

Saint Andrew School – Drexel Hill 

Dr. Lizanne Magarity Pando


St. Hubert Catholic High School for Girls

Rob Shearer 


St. Joesph’s Catholic Academy, Boalsburg 

Tracie Sharp 

President & CEO 

State Policy Network 

Karen Kerrigan 

President & CEO 

Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council 

David Williams 


Taxpayers Protection Alliance 

Charissa Mitchell 


Threefold Education Association 

Carol Platt Liebau 


Yankee Institute for Public Policy 

Craig Hulse 

Executive Director