Op-Ed: Pennsylvania students try to get back on track as teachers unions fight to stop them

Originally published in the Washington Examiner.

Pennsylvania could become the next epicenter for school choice with a proposal that responds to pandemic learning gaps. The state legislation would create “Education Opportunity Accounts” for students who face specific challenges. These accounts would return tax dollars to families for educational expenses, including books, tutoring, or private school tuition.

If passed, the reform would increase Pennsylvania’s current tax credit scholarship programs, allow independent authorization of charter schools, remove ZIP code restrictions on public school enrollment, and protect parents who create learning pods of small groups of students who learn at home from burdensome regulations. By far, this is the most ambitious school choice reform initiative in the Keystone State’s history.

The bill has inevitably drawn the ire of the teachers unions. Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, described EOAs as “vouchers by another name” that “cause irreparable harm to public education and the students they are charged with educating.” His union and the Pennsylvania State Education Association form the staunchest opposition to school choice.

But lawmakers who support the bill say…

Read more in the Washington Examiner.