HARRISBURG, Pa., July 24, 2023 – State Rep. Martina White from Northeast Philadelphia passionately advocated for school choice and Lifeline Scholarships on the latest episode of the Commonwealth Foundation’s School Choice Report.
When discussing Gov. Josh Shapiro’s change in stance on Lifeline Scholarships, Rep. White called on Gov. Shapiro to fulfill his promise and secure the necessary support from fellow Democrats for the initiative.
“I think, first and foremost, [Gov. Shapiro] could really just do a very simple thing and not line-item veto the $100 million that was allocated toward the [Lifeline Scholarship] program in the budget,” White emphasized. “I think that Gov. Shapiro has to have the fortitude to stand up against the status quo… and I hope that over the course of the next several weeks… he comes around to finding a path forward.”
The first Republican elected in Philadelphia in 25 years, Rep. White shared her experiences growing up in a middle-class family and attending a Catholic school. She emphasized how quality education shaped her life and discussed her desire to ensure all Pennsylvania children have similar opportunities.
“The sacrifices that my parents made—financially and otherwise—to be able to afford me a better educational opportunity is something that I aspire to ensure that all of the kids across Pennsylvania have the opportunity to achieve in their life,” Rep. White said.
Reflecting on the challenges faced by Philadelphia’s educational system, where less than 30% of third-graders read at grade level, Rep. White stressed the critical role of Lifeline Scholarships. She highlighted that the program helps children trapped in underperforming schools to escape the cycle of poverty by granting them the freedom to choose a better educational path.
“Lifeline Scholarships [are] critical. Across Philadelphia and across the state, we have entire schools that don’t have a single student that’s able to read or can’t do math,” White exclaimed. “No child should be trapped inside a failing school just simply because of where they live. … [E]very one of those kids deserves an opportunity to get a quality education.”
The School Choice Report is a podcast from the Commonwealth Foundation, Pennsylvania’s free-market think tank.
Listen to the full interview here.
The Commonwealth Foundation transforms free-market ideas into public policies so all Pennsylvanians can flourish.