governor shapiro lifeline

What They Are Saying: Brutal Headlines for Shapiro, Strong Support for Scholarships

Harrisburg, Pa., July 28, 2023 – Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro has found himself in hot water after he reneged on a key campaign promise to implement Lifeline Scholarships. His decision has sparked sharp criticism, with accusations of betrayal and political expediency at the expense of Pennsylvania’s students and parents.

After weeks of damning headlines, Shapiro was dealt yet another major blow yesterday. This time from Ryan Boyer, the powerful head of Philadelphia’s Building Trades, in an op-ed calling out the hypocrisy of lawmakers and the “aristocratic class” in opposing school choice and showing a lack of urgency to help kids trapped in chronically failing schools:

“That’s why I’m open to any solution that can help families better educate their children and get them ready to be productive members of society. How can I take away that choice from other families? Aren’t their children just as important as my child? […]

“I am so frustrated by the lack of urgency when it comes to education in Philadelphia. Our laissez-faire attitude is sentencing generations of kids to lives deprived of opportunity. We know that failure to read proficiently by the end of third grade is linked to higher dropout rates and significantly lower lifetime earnings. And yet we accept that 72 percent of public school third graders in Philadelphia do not read at grade level.”

Scholarships for children in the state’s worst-performing schools have consistently garnered widespread, bipartisan support. Seventy-three percent of voters in the Commonwealth Foundation’s most recent survey support “establishing scholarships for low-income students in Pennsylvania’s worst performing (bottom 15%) schools that would help pay for tuition to another k-12 school.”

Boyers stunning school choice endorsement comes on the heels of unrelenting media coverage highlighting Gov. Shapiro’s budget bungling: 

Analysis: The honeymoon is over for Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro

By Ford Turner, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“With just a few words in a Wednesday afternoon statement, Gov. Josh Shapiro — a Democrat who prides himself on reaching across the aisle to Republicans — may have obliterated much of the trust that allows those connections to be successful.”

Editorial: A tear in Superman’s cape

By the Editorial Board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Gov. Josh Shapiro is not Superman. At least a tear in his cape has emerged after an uncharacteristically clumsy misstep during negotiations on an overdue $45 billion state budget for 2024.”

Mr. Success finally confronts failure

By Brandon McGinley, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 

“Mr. Shapiro’s insistence that only the competing caucuses can iron out their differences won’t cut it […] How he handles it will tell us if his talents really can match his ambition.”

Gov. Josh Shapiro’s budget breakdown over school vouchers was a rare misstep

By Gillian McGoldrick and Julia Terruso, Philadelphia Inquirer

“In the span of a week, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro managed to agitate everybody.”

New Poll Finds Voters Will Blame Shapiro for Budget Impasse

By Linda Stein, Delaware Valley Journal 

“The poll found 65 percent of voters believe Shapiro should honor his agreement, and more than 70 percent believe scholarships for kids to attend better schools should be expanded.”

Josh Shapiro’s School Choice Sellout

By the Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal

“So much for Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro’s gutsy support for school choice. After backing a Senate proposal for school vouchers for K-12 students—one of his 2022 campaign promises—the Democratic Governor caved this week to his party and the unions and will nix the scholarships from the state budget.”

Pennsylvania Governor to Veto His Own Campaign Promise

By Katherine Fung, Newsweek

“Unable to drum up enough support from members of his own party, and with the state spending plan already overdue, Shapiro agreed to backtrack on his education plan to pass a $45.5 billion budget.”

Josh Shapiro’s Shameful Betrayal on School Choice

By the Editorial Board of the National Review

“But when it came time to actually take a stand, Shapiro did what a typical Democrat would do: He sided with the unions. … Shapiro announced he would resolve the budgetary impasse by line-item-vetoing the Lifeline Scholarship Program, despite saying that he still supports it. … For a politician, the choice is obvious. For Pennsylvania’s poor students, the choice is shameful.”

From the Editors: Shapiro caves on school funding, trust drops in Harrisburg

By the Editorial Board of Broad+Liberty

“Faced with a compromise budget, [Democrats] told Shapiro to choose: pass only what the Dems want, or pass nothing at all. Shapiro blinked and the hostage-takers won. …  Meanwhile, no Republican state senator has any reason to trust Shapiro again.”

Pennsylvania’s Democrat governor caves on school choice program he staunchly backed to appease his own party

By Brandon Gillespie, Fox News

“Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro made an unexpected move Wednesday when he gave into partisan squabbling in the state legislature over funding for school choice in order to appease members of his own party preventing the passage of a state budget.”

Josh Shapiro knifes parents in the back on school choice

By Zachary Faria, Washington Examiner

“In what should be a surprise to absolutely no one, a Democratic governor who promised to support school choice folded when his promise was put to the test, knifing parents (and GOP legislators) in the back on behalf of teachers’ unions. … The real loser here is Pennsylvania parents and their children, who thought they were getting something different and are instead getting yet another Democrat who does the bidding of teachers’ unions.”

Pennsylvania’s Democrat governor pulls support for school choice, breaks campaign pledge

By John Ransom, The Lion

“Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro pulled his support for school choice Wednesday after a multi-day budget impasse with the legislature. The deadlock left Shapiro, a Democrat, in the embarrassing position of threatening to use a line-item veto on his own school choice proposal, according to Spotlight PA.”

Gov. Shapiro is responsible for the budget impasse

By Rep. Joshua D. Kail, Penn Live

“Bottom line: The current budget impasse solely lies at Gov. Shapiro’s feet. All the while, he’s trying to deflect from his broken promises and poor governing by blaming Republicans.”


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