June 14, 2024

Jessica Corbett: ‘This Ain’t It’: Pennsylvanians Slam Jay-Z’s Roc Nation for School Voucher Push

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Who would have predicted that Jay-Z would team up with Jeffrey Yass to push for more vouchers in Pennsylvania. But they are creating a campaign to push them. 

While the campaign led to multiple headlines about “How Roc Nation Is Helping Underprivileged Students in Philadelphia Get Into Private Schools,” some critics of putting tax money—in this case, potentially tens or hundreds of millions of dollars—toward private school tuition expressed disappointment and frustration on Friday, just weeks away from Pennsylvania’s June 30 budget deadline.

“This ain’t it,” said the American Federation of Teachers Pennsylvania (AFTPA) on social media, posting a photo of Jay-Z—whose given name is Shawn Carter—with suburban Philadelphia multibillionaire Jeffrey Yass, a Republican megadonor with a history of using his money to push for school vouchers and the defeat progressive political candidates.

“Don’t get it twisted, PASS is a Yassified school choice/school voucher bill,” one social media user wrote.

Other critics also mentioned Yass. Phil Gentry, an organizer with West Philly Coalition for Neighborhood Schools, referenced reporting that the billionaire is being considered as a potential Treasury secretary if former Republican President Donald Trump beats Democratic President Joe Biden in the November election.

“Just to be clear for those not in Pennsylvania,” Gentry noted, “the legislation Jay-Z is supporting here is a Republican-led effort to gut public education, spearheaded by future Trump Cabinet member Jeffrey Yass.”

Challenging the framing of some of the news coverage about the Roc Nation campaign, Philadelphia public interest lawyer Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg said, “As Pennsylvania is on the verge of transforming the most inequitable school funding system in the nation, an out-of-state billionaire is pairing with a suburban Philadelphia one to try to destroy public education instead.”

The attorney highlighted that the hip-hop billionaire‘s company is pushing for vouchers as Democrats in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives are “working to pass a $5.1 billion transformation” to help the commonwealth’s poorest school districts, sharing a report from the Pennsylvania Capital-Star.

Read the full story here at Common Dreams

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