Sunday, October 30, 2011

Continued Opinions and Reaction to Passage of Voucher Bill SB1 in the PA Senate 10/28/11

Continued Opinions and Reaction to Passage of Voucher Bill SB1 in the PA Senate 10/28/11

Karen Heller at the Inquirer, Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa’s Floor Speech video, PSBA Executive Director Tom Gentzel in the Patriot News, Students First PAC Executive Director Dawn Chavous in the Patriot News, Patti Mengers in the Delco Times, Urban school principal Frank Murphy in City School Stories Blog, Westmont-Hilltop School Board member Phyllis Forman in the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, Jan Murphy at Patriot News, Joy Pullman of the Heartland Institute at

Posted on Sun, Oct. 30, 2011

Karen Heller: Vouchers are not for the kids

By Karen Heller, Inquirer Columnist

The state Senate passed SB 1 last week, the voucher bill that appears to serve our poorest children attending Pennsylvania's worst public schools, the majority in Philadelphia, the very institutions whose funding the GOP-controlled legislature sliced and diced earlier this year.

But appearances can run contrary to the truth.

"This has nothing to do with helping the poor children of Philadelphia," said State Sen. Daylin Leach. "The organizations that are funding the pro-voucher movement are very open that they want to eliminate public schools.


“Since 2003, PA is the only state in the country, for 9 years in a row, to consistently improve achievement scores…nearly 80% achieving in reading and math….we have considerably narrowed the learning gap…the number of students in the lowest percentile has been considerably reduced…”

PA Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa’s response to Senator Dinniman’s “Titanic” floor speech on SB1

During floor discussion prior to vote on SB1; Video runtime 3:40


Why do Pa. lawmakers ignore the will of the people on school vouchers?

Published: Friday, October 28, 2011, 5:00 AM
Patriot News OP-ED By Thomas J. Gentzel
With the narrow passage this week of Senate Bill 1 by the Pennsylvania Senate, taxpayers in the commonwealth have been given a trick not a treat when it comes to potentially higher taxes in the future.

After actual statewide test results in Wisconsin this year showed that voucher students in Milwaukee (the nation’s longest running voucher program) were performing no better than students in traditional public schools, voucher advocacy groups began to tune their soundbites, switching from “helping poor students in failing schools” to “helping poor students escape violent schools”.

The “solution” proposed by voucher evangelists like the Students First PAC, The American Federation for Children, the Commonwealth Foundation, the Reach Foundation and the PA Catholic Conference is to give 5 or 10 percent of the kids a ticket out and leave the “violent, failing school” with several hundred thousand dollars less in funding for things like safety officers, counselors, nurses and social workers – leaving the 90% or more of the kids at the school considerably less safe.  If the concern is actually about safety it is a strange way of showing it.  Just my humble opinion…..LAF

School vouchers: For some, it's a concern about safety

Published: Saturday, October 29, 2011, 10:46 AM
  Patriot-News Op-Ed  by Dawn Chavous, Executive Director of Students First PA
Pennsylvania’s public education system needs help. Every day that passes without enacting meaningful school choice legislation that empowers parents and gives them access to more educational options, countless students slip through the cracks from a future full of hope to a future full of despair.

3 of 4 Delco senators backs school voucher bill; passes first test

Three out of four Delaware County state senators voted Wednesday in favor of Gov. Tom Corbett’s bill that would provide vouchers to low-income students in poorly performing public schools and enable them to be educated elsewhere.

School Vouchers: Funding Private Interests with Public Funds
City School Stories Blog: Notes from the Field, Submitted by Frank Murphy on October 27, 2011
Some time ago I wrote a post for the Notebook titled, “If I Were a Rich Man”.  My intention in writing this article was simple.  I wanted to point out how a few wealthy individuals were using their personal fortunes in an attempt to influence the future of public education in our state.
These Bala Cynwyd businessmen had contributed millions of dollars to the failed gubernatorial campaign of State Senator Anthony Williams. They are ardent advocates for the use of school vouchers.
And this one from the Inky June 2010:

Johnstown Tribune-Democrat October 29, 2011

OP/ED: Voucher plan means more fingers in wallet

This past Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Senate passed Senate Bill 1 and sent it on to the House. If passed, SB1 may have a significant impact on you as a taxpayer and parent.

 School vouchers Q&A: Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1 is awaiting House action
Published: Sunday, October 30, 2011, 11:04 AM
While the way the voucher program is structured in Senate Bill 1 could change as it makes its way through the legislative process, The Patriot-News wanted to give readers a better understanding of how its architects, Sen. Jeffrey Piccola, R-Dauphin County, and Sen. Anthony Williams, D-Philadelphia, envision their voucher program would work.

Voucher critics are misleading the public
Opinion at By Joy Pullmann. Sunday, October 30, 2011
Joy Pullmann is a research fellow in education and managing editor of School Reform News at The Heartland Institute (
The usual suspects have again begun loudly denouncing Gov. Tom Corbett's push for a second chance at passing education vouchers for poor students in Pennsylvania's worst 5 percent of public schools.

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