pennsylvania vouchers

Wall Street Journal Editorial: A School Choice Revival in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania students trapped in the state’s worst-performing schools have another opportunity for scholarships following Gov. Josh Shapiro’s reversal of his previous stance and veto of bipartisan budget legislation last year. The Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee, ahead of the 2024–25 budget negotiations in June, advanced Senate Bill 795 to establish Lifeline Scholarships, which refers to the program as the Pennsylvania Award for Student Success (PASS).

And, the Wall Street Journal, in a recent editorial, asks, “Will Gov. Josh Shapiro fold again?”

The Wall Street Journal writes:

The scholarships, worth several thousand dollars each, would let low-income students in poorly performing public schools switch to a private school. The funds—which would have their own appropriation, not taken from public schools—could also be used for “school-related fees” and special education services.

Gov. Shapiro’s veto message left room to revive them, and he repeated that in his budget address in February. The scholarships are “something I support and consider to be unfinished business” …

Polling from the Commonwealth Foundation in March found that 77% of registered voters in Pennsylvania support the scholarships. That includes 94% of black voters and 83% of those with income below $40,000. Pennsylvanians could use more options: In Philadelphia, 34% of students scored proficient in English Language Arts and 15% proficient in math on state tests …

Another good sign is a recent failed primary challenge against Democratic Rep. Amen Brown. Last summer Mr. Brown told a radio program, “we have to give our parents another option and leave it in their hands to choose where they want their child to go.” He defeated union-backed challenger Cass Green in April.

Time to use your political capital, Gov. Shapiro.

You can read the entire op-ed here.


The Commonwealth Foundation turns free-market ideas into public policies, fostering prosperity for all Pennsylvanians.