October 25, 2023

Carly Sitrin: On Philly trip, U.S. education secretary assails vouchers like those backed by Shapiro

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On a trip top Philadelphia, Secretary Miguel Cardona came down hard against a new voucher bill favored by the GOP and Pennsylvania’s Democrat governor. Carly Sitrin reported on the visit for Chalkbeat.

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said he is “totally against” any private school voucher program, like the kind Pennsylvania’s governor publicly backed this year, until public schools receive the state dollars they are owed.

“The moment public schools are fully funded, we could have that conversation,” Cardona told Chalkbeat at a Monday event in Philadelphia about career and technical education. “Right now, I am totally against any public education dollars going to private school vouchers.”

Cardona’s comments could underscore a political risk for Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro. His support for a state-backed school voucher program has boosted his national profile and fueled rumors he may be eyeing higher office. Yet that position also leaves Shapiro out of step with much of the Democratic Party and officials like Cardona, who has argued that vouchers are backed by those seeking to undermine public schools.

This summer, as part of a budget deal he cut with legislators, Shapiro vetoed a $100 million statewide voucher proposal he supported. But he said the so-called Pennsylvania Award for Student Success Scholarship Program, or PASS, is “unfinished business.”

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