Monday, May 16, 2011

Road gets rougher for school vouchers

Road gets rougher for school vouchers
Published: Sunday, May 15, 2011, 3:00 PM
The roller-coaster ride that school-choice advocates have been on this past week would rival any at Hersheypark.
The ride hit a couple of tall peaks, with Gov. Tom Corbett giving a rousing endorsement of school choice in Washington, D.C. The state House voted to expand a popular tax credit program to aid private and public schools.
By week's end, the coaster dropped, leaving advocates sitting on the tracks. Now, it appears any school-choice plan could be delayed for months, possibly into the fall.

Tuition vouchers get push
Sunday, May 08, 2011
By John P. Martin and Amy Worden, Philadelphia Inquirer
Buoyed by what they see as their best opportunity in a decade, education activists are spending millions of dollars and countless hours trying to persuade or pressure Pennsylvania lawmakers to approve school tuition vouchers.
From Pittsburgh to Harrisburg to Montgomery County to West Philadelphia, the money is paying for lobbyists, renting rally buses, printing pamphlets, even buying bright red backpacks for kids.
It has flowed -- sometimes in five- or six-figure checks -- to legislators' campaign coffers. And it has funded an unusual, if not unprecedented, wave of attack ads, mailers and websites against lawmakers who are undecided or oppose vouchers.

Andrew J. Coulson directs the Cato Institute's Center for Educational Freedom and is author of Market Education: The Unknown History.
Twenty-five people were killed in the Philadelphia Bible Riots of 1844, a hundred more were injured, and St. Augustine's Church was burned to the ground. The cause of all that mayhem?
The city's Catholics asked to have their children exempted from readings of the Protestant King James version of the Bible, or to use their own Douay version instead — in the public schools. The riots of 1844 have a lesson to teach us about the school-choice debate raging today in Pennsylvania's legislature.
The state House recently passed an expansion of the existing Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program by a 190-7 vote. For 10 years, this program has offered businesses a tax cut if they donate to nonprofit K-12 scholarship tuition organizations (STO), which help lower-income families afford the private schools of their choice. While there is overwhelming support for the program in the House, it faces staunch opposition in the Senate, where several prominent legislators prefer the introduction of a new voucher program.

Posted on Mon, May. 16, 2011
Interest is up in school board seats
By Anthony R. Wood, Inquirer Staff Writer
Like most people who first decide to run for school board, Lawrence Feinberg was acquainted only vaguely with the job description.
He was pitched softly on the concept by some community activists in Haverford Township. "They suckered me in," he recalled, "and said, 'It's just a couple of meetings a month.' "

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