|It’s No Joke
A priest, a hedge fund millionaire, and a right- wing think tank director walk into a bar. The priest says to the hedge fund guy, “I know you’ve faltered in your now ten-year effort to destroy public education. I have a way for you to finally get the golden ring.”
He tells the think tank dilettante, “You’ve spent 25 years trying to shutter public schools. I have a way for you to accomplish your goal in the largest school districts. Work with me to pass vouchers and we can all get into heaven.”
That may not be exactly how the conversation went, but, earlier this week, the results of this unholy alliance bore fruit when the Pennsylvania House passed a voucher bill. House Bill 2169 is especially devilish because it funds private and parochial school vouchers by robbing the futures of the poorest children in the state. As the saying goes, it’s hard to make this “stuff” up.
To pay for the $6,000/year vouchers in unregulated religious and private schools where the results of student achievement are completely unknown, the measure takes the funds from the school districts with the lowest student performance on state-administered assessments. On the face of it, perhaps getting the students out of those public schools makes sense. Except that ignores the fact that these are the same schools with the least to spend that are educating the poorest children in the Commonwealth.
Wouldn’t it simply make more sense to ensure these schools get the funding that’s proven to result in student achievement? Instead, the public argument for this scheme is to rely on divine intervention to miraculously give students education.
Manna from heaven really was found this week. In just the month of April, state revenues were $1.5 billion higher than anticipated, nearly the amount that the Governor proposed to allocate for public schools for next year. In fact, year to date, state revenues are billions and billions in the black. These revenues make HB 2169’s scheme of robbing Peter to pay Paul all the more grotesque.
Meanwhile, a stunning national poll released today finds that 88% of the American public think public schools are doing just fine. Unlike the PA House majority, the voters have faith in public education.
Sadly, on the last voting day in the PA House before the Primary Election, House leaders made it clear that winning the hearts and minds of the 12% is much more important than serving the rest of us in Pennsylvania.
Help us stop this bill in the PA Senate!
Click here to tell your Senator to vote NO! on House Bill 2169.