Friday, June 8, 2012

Pennsylvanians Opposed to Vouchers Letter to all Members of the PA House of Representatives June 4, 2012

Along with 28 other statewide organizations, Keystone State Education Coalition is a member of Pennsylvanians Opposed to Vouchers


To:          All Members of the House of Representatives
From:    Pennsylvanians Opposed to Vouchers (POV)
Re:         Voucher legislation
Date:     June 4, 2012

As we head into the final weeks of the spring legislative session, we continue to urge you to oppose any form of taxpayer funded school vouchers on behalf of the thousands of Pennsylvanians we represent in our broad based coalition.
We recognize that this is a time of year when many issues can be raised quickly for last-minute votes or forced through via omnibus legislation, but it is our sincere hope that the issue of school vouchers is not one of them. Legislation that represents such a dramatic policy change requires a transparent and open process that goes through the appropriate legislative committees, with time for evaluation of costs, consideration of all possible consequences and time for genuine public input. 
Our public schools and students continue to suffer the negative consequences of the drastic reduction in funding in this year’s budget. Now is especially not the time to enact a costly, unconstitutional, and unproven experiment that will only divert more funding from traditional public school classrooms with students who need resources the most.  We continue to oppose vouchers because:
·         Taxpayer funded school voucher programs do not improve student performance.
·         Most vouchers would go to students already enrolled in private and religious schools. This would stretch existing education dollars even further at a time when state and local education funds are already inadequate to fully fund education programs and services for all students.
·         Vouchers would send public funds to private schools that have zero academic or financial accountability for the spending of taxpayer dollars.
·         Any increase or expansion of the number of eligible schools or eligible students from current proposals would substantially increase the projected costs of any new program, which are already projected to be extraordinary without any dedicated funding. 
·         Vouchers do not provide for the protection of student rights.
Public opinion in Pennsylvania on this matter is clear and unwavering – over two-thirds of Pennsylvanians oppose taxpayer funded vouchers. More than eighty percent of Pennsylvanians believe state funding should be invested in research-based programs proven to help students succeed including early childhood education, tutoring and smaller class size.  These are the strategies and investments that we know provide the best opportunity for every student to succeed.
We urge you to oppose taxpayer funded vouchers and instead continue to focus your efforts on crafting a state budget that puts Pennsylvania back on track for investing in our students in public schools and our future.

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