Friday, October 28, 2011

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

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

Pa. Senate OKs vouchers bill, House fate uncertain

Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, (AP) By MARC LEVY, Wednesday, 6:36 PM
A major proposal to spend more taxpayer money to help possibly tens of thousands of lower-income families in Pennsylvania avoid struggling public schools and afford the cost of private or parochial school tuition for their children passed the state Senate on Wednesday and headed to the House, where its fate is uncertain.
The long-anticipated vote moves along what is designed to be a big component of Gov. Tom Corbett's campaign to address drop-out rates in struggling schools and hold schools and teachers accountable for their students' improvement.
"I want to commend the members of the state Senate for passing a strong education reform package that will help improve opportunities for thousands of school children throughout Pennsylvania," Corbett said in a statement.

Posted on Thu, Oct. 27, 2011
Pa. senate approves plan for taxpayer-funded school-tuition vouchers
By Angela Couloumbis and Dan Hardy, Inquirer Staff Writers
HARRISBURG - The push for school choice cleared its first major legislative hurdle - but not its last - when the state Senate voted Wednesday to provide taxpayer-funded tuition vouchers for impoverished students in failing public schools

Citypaper THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2011
Naked City Blog by Daniel Denvir

Legislation to use public money to pay private school tuition passes PA Senate

Yesterday the Pennsylvania Senate passed school vouchers legislation that would give public funds to poor students at underperforming schools to attend private schools, including religious institutions. The legislation has been a priority for Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, and received support from some Democrats, notably Philadelphia Democratic Sen. Anthony Williams. But the teachers' union, public education advocates, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) immediately criticized the legislation, which will now be taken up by the House.

Philadelphia Daily News Posted on Thu, Oct. 27, 2011
THERE ARE a few bright spots in the revised Senate Bill 1 that would create a school-voucher program in Pennsylvania. Vouchers give money that would otherwise go to public-school systems directly to students to apply toward tuition in nonpublic schools.
Unfortunately, those spots are only bright in comparison with the dimness of the overall picture.

GIL SPENCER: Liberals stunting educational growth

Delco Times Opinion By GIL SPENCER
State Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17, of Upper Merion, is the George Wallace of protecting Pennsylvania’s public schools. Back in 1963, Gov. Wallace stood in the doorway of Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama to prevent the first black students from being admitted there.  Today, it’s liberals like Leach who are standing in the doorways of public schools — not to prevent poor black kids from coming in, but to keep them from going out, to keep them from leaving.

Whose Government Is It? Vouchers As A Case Study.

Democracy Rising, October 27,2011
The state Senate yesterday passed Senate Bill 1 which, if passed without amendment by the House, would create PA's first educational voucher program. The proposal would give vouchers to some low-income parents that could only be cashed by private or religious schools that agree to admit the parents' students. Click here for a comprehensive story by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Like the slots gambling law of 2004, the Pay Raise of 2005, and other notorious legislation, SB 1 was substantially amended before being voted out of committee on Tuesday and voted out of the Senate on Wednesday. The language of the amendments was not published online, so citizens who don't have access to lobbyists had no way to know what was in it and express their opinions about it before either vote. To see how your own senator voted, click on "Votes" at the link to the bill, above.

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