Tuesday, April 26, 2011

SB1 Letter to PA Legislature April 26, 2011

April 26, 2011
Three rich guys from Bala Cynwyd want to pay you to privatize public education in Pennsylvania and they have already spent $7 million to do just that.

But you don’t to have to listen to the Students First PAC, or, for that matter, PSEA, PSBA, PASBO, REACH, BAEO, the Catholic Conference, the Foundation for Educational Choice or the Commonwealth Foundation; well over 90% of Pennsylvania school children attend public schools and their parents vote.  Before you vote in favor of SB1 go meet with the parents of those 1.8 million students in your own school districts and ask them what they think.

Explain to them why, when we are cutting back funding for their public schools and they are listening to discussions of their own kids’ programs being cut, you would support the creation of a massive new entitlement program to fund the state’s financially struggling parochial schools.

Explain to them why their kids are subject to a state curriculum, incessant standardized testing, AYP reporting and sanctions but voucher schools getting their tax dollars would not be.

If you are in an urban school district explain to them how SB1 will do anything whatsoever to help the over 90% of kids in their schools who won’t receive vouchers.

If you are in a suburban district explain to them why middle class kids who have never set foot in a public school, living in the best school districts in the state should get private or parochial school tuition paid out of the local school district’s budget using their tax dollars.

If you are in a rural school district explain to them how SB1 will not do anything at all to help their kids; they have no private or parochial schools.  They will only see their own state education subsidies reduced when the state funds voucher schools under SB1.

Explain to them why we would hand over their tax dollars to voucher schools without even the slightest accountability measures (no public budgets, no public audits) when their public schools are required to plan budgets in public over several months and make all spending information available to the public, complying with public bidding, Sunshine Laws and Right-to-Know Laws.

Explain to them why their schools are required to accept and retain all students regardless of family income, race, religion, English language proficiency, disability status, behavioral issues or academic performance (after all, that’s why they are called public schools and receive public funds) but voucher schools would receive their tax dollars without any expectation, requirement, obligation or responsibility to do likewise.  No school code, no NCLB, no IDEA; no accountability - just tax dollars, free and clear, no strings attached. 

And then, explain to them why they should vote for you after you have voted for SB1.

Keystone State Education Coalition Co-Chairs:
Lawrence A. Feinberg, School District of Haverford Township, Delaware County
Shauna D’Alessandro, West Jefferson Hills School District, Allegheny County
Lynn Foltz, Wilmington Area School District, Lawrence County
Mark B. Miller, Centennial School District, Bucks County

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