Wouldn’t school choice be nice? Some legislators are paving the way…

CHAMBERSBURG – Numerous bills in the Pennsylvania Senate could change the options for parents in enrolling their students in a school of their choice.

Not happy with the way the public schools are indoctrinating children?

You could have other options.

State Senator Judy Ward provided a glimpse of the bills to Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen this morning on First News.

“I’m a huge believer that one size should not fit all in educating our children,” Ward said. “It’s a parent’s options, a parent’s choice what they feel is best. I put forth a bill Monday in the Education Committee that would allow for educational opportunity account scholarships to happen, which is like an education savings account.”

This would be a state-funded account that parents would use to purchase a range of educational services, such as tutoring, curriculum, textbooks, and even a private school tuition. It would be for students in K through 12 that are either special needs or gifted.

Ward explained, “It would be administered by the treasury and audited by the auditor general’s office. This gives parents more options. They would pull their student out of the public school and they would receive 90% of those state dollars that are dedicated to that student. It’s one more tool in the toolbox for parents especially with special needs or gifted.”

The state Senate also passed Senate Bill 1, which will increase the caps on the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program and the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) program.

Ward explained, “Businesses donate to a school and they are able to get a tax credit. This has been very helpful for students. It could be for private schools mostly and it’s been very well received. The bill also allows some reforms on Charter Schools and more students to be able to participate in duel enrollment programs. You know when you’re a high school you can get college credit for certain classes. I’m very excited about that bill.”

Jansen said, “Some of the criticism from the Wolf administration and Democrats was some of the Charter School issues and so hopefully with this set of reforms included, that’s going to tamp down some of those criticisms and allow for this greater expansion of the Educational Improvement Tax Credit and the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit. It’s very popular. It’s not taking away funds from public schools. That’s somewhat been very exaggerated. And considering we’re seeing this indoctrination coming into the public schools I think that just gives you more incentive to say, ‘yeah we need to give parents choice, so either you back off on this indoctrination or we give parents even more choice.’”

Ryan said, “Yes. Yes. That’s the path that we were on before things went terribly south with the present administration.”

Jansen added, “Really Governor Wolf, if you’re going to push hard on doing things that parents are very worried about and concerned about in public schools, then expect the demand for choice to get even greater. You cannot have it both ways. I’d be actually happy if they’d back off on either side. Let people have more choice or let’s let the school districts and the boards and the parents and the community have a bigger hand in what is being taught our children. Let’s get back to basics. Let’s get away from indoctrination. Let’s bring real enlightenment to true history. I totally agree with that, but let’s get away from the indoctrination.”