Ada Miller: Hard “pass” on new PA school voucher program
Although Governor Josh Shapiro vetoed the new voucher proposal in Pennsylvania, voucher fans are still pushing for it to become a reality. But citizens like Ada Miller are still pushing back. In an op-ed, she responds to voucher supporter Senator Tracy Pennycuick.
To be clear, PASS is a school voucher program with a new name. But don’t be fooled, this program still rewards wealthy owners and operators of private schools and still fails to hold them accountable for student outcome, expenditures, and hiring.
Legislators and private school owners are using sleight of hand to delude us. These are our tax dollars — pure and simple. Sure, funds are not being pulled from school districts which largely rely on our real estate taxes. But no matter what rabbit they pull out of that hat, these are our tax dollars funding private and religious schools.
Honestly, I don’t want my tax dollars funding Christian, Catholic, Jewish, or any other religious school. Give these parents a tax credit to attend their school of choice but keep your hands off my tax dollars that are dedicated to supporting public education.
Miller notices a problem with the standard “rescue students from failing schools” rhetoric.
Senator Pennycuick cites some important data detailing the dismal academic performance of Pennsylvania students “trapped in a school system that has failed them.” She never tells us what will happen to the students that don’t meet the established criteria of income and school performance to qualify for this scholarship program.
Unsurprisingly she also neglects to mention how our students with significant disabilities will be addressed. What safeguards are in place to protect these students? Federal law mandates students with disabilities attending public education are provided protection and services. Private schools do not have that same requirement.
Yes, students need a solid educational basis. Miller does not see any solutions in a voucher program.
Giving tax dollars to private schools without little to no accountability is just not the way to achieve that goal.