A Democrat challenges antiquated beliefs

The time for school vouchers in Pennsylvania has come, writes state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams in an op-ed published today in the capital city newspaper, and it’s time for opponents to let go of the “antiquated belief that existing public school systems have the right of first refusal when it comes to educating our children.”

Williams, a former Democratic candidate for governor, is the co-sponsor of a bill that would provide private school tuition assistance to low-income children. The measure passed a key senate education committee last week by an 8-2 margin, with two Democrats — Williams among them — voting in support.

He explains that support by maintaining what school choice is not:

School choice is not an alternative to public education. It is a vital part of an innovative and productive public education system.

Parents who are financially able to, make choices by moving into good school districts or by sending their children to private school. SB1 would allow low-income families to take the state tax dollars devoted to their child and apply them to the public or nonpublic school of their choice.

It would allow more middle class and working families across Pennsylvania to choose the best schools for their children by expanding the popular Education Improvement Tax Credit, which provides tax credits to companies that donate money for scholarships or educational improvement.

The time for school choice, and yes, school vouchers, has come.

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BY Adam Emerson

Editor of redefinED, policy and communications guru for Florida education nonprofit