Tell PA Lawmakers--Choose Public Schools, Reject DeVos Vouchers
UPDATE: House Bill 2696 was pulled from the House Education Committee meeting agenda on 10-1-2020. Our advocacy is working, but we do not believe this voucher fight is over. The Senate Education Committee will be holding a hearing on SB 1230 on Monday, October 5th.
Pennsylvania lawmakers are preparing to join Betsy DeVos in attempting to exploit the COVID-19 crisis to advance their school privatization agenda.
Lawmakers are set to consider House Bill 2696 and its companion, Senate Bill 1230, legislation that would use $500 million of CARES Act federal aid to establish a new and unaccountable school voucher program.
This legislation would establish “Back on Track” Education Savings Accounts to give families $1000 in taxpayer money for each of their school-aged children. Families could spend this money as they please on educational expenses, including on tuition to private and religious schools.
There are no provisions in the proposal to ensure vouchers are being used for appropriate educational expenses, making the program susceptible to fraud.
Tell your state lawmakers to oppose DeVos vouchers in Pennsylvania.
Now more than ever, public schools need the support of state and federal policymakers. The pandemic has led to unprecedented challenges. Our public schools face a $1 billion loss in revenue as a result of the COVID-19 economic downturn. At the same time, public schools have had massive new costs associated with opening buildings safely, providing training to educators to effectively conduct remote teaching, and working to get students computers and access to the internet at home.
Spending $500 million in taxpayer money to create a new, unaccountable voucher program when public schools face enormous revenue shortfalls demonstrates a reckless disregard for the safety, well-being, and education of Pennsylvania’s public school students.
HB 2696 and SB 1230 represent a choice between solving a problem in public schools, which educate 90% of Pennsylvania’s students, or advancing Betsy DeVos’ ideological agenda.
Please tell your lawmakers to choose to support their local public schools.