Corbett’s Voucher Proposal Roundup

By David Gerber, Contributing Writer

Gov. Tom Corbett is in the process of completing his school voucher proposal that will be reviewed by the the House and Senate as early as next week.

It’s an interesting issue, namely because Republican support for the plan is unclear. It’s still a priority in the PA Senate, where most possible proposals have favorable odds of passing. In the House, however, a number of Republicans (particularly rural ones) aren’t too excited about it.

In Pennsylvania as in most states, school enrollment is based off of geographic location. If you live in area “X,” you will go to school “Y.” Voucher proponents argue that this produces a lack of quality in some state institutions, since they are guaranteed to receive enrollment.

The school voucher system is designed to award state or federal money to families with low incomes that have children in a lower quality institution, and allow those families to be able to send their children to a private institution of their choice.

Critics say it’s simply a way of using funding for public education to boost private schools. They further note that none of the voucher proposals so far would have given impoverished families enough of a financial boost to pay the average PA private school tuition.

Corbett’s voucher proposal has been in the making for some time now, with mixed reviews on the plan. Here are some of the latest stories about vouchers’ progress and what the measure will face in the PA Senate and House.

Capitol Ideas: Corbett says Voucher Proposal is Coming Soon

Gov. Corbett’s voucher proposal including vouchers, charter school improvements and economic furloughs on teachers could be released as early as next week. There seems to be some support in the Senate for the bill but the House remains lukewarm about the idea.

Capitolwire: Gov. Corbett says education plan en route, and surplus? What surplus?

Vouchers given to students in failing schools and poor families can amount up to $7000 or more. Although, House Majority leader Mike Turzai says that the Senate needs to first pass the bill and the governor needs to marshal public opinion behind that bill. Senate leaders have said until Corbett can get the House GOP leaders to sign off on a bill, they will not pass one.

Tribune Review: Corbett Gears Up to Tackle School Reform

Corbett is an advocate of school choice – providing tuition vouchers to students to attend a private or parochial school of their choice. The Senate and the House considered school choice before the summer recess, but neither chamber voted on the bill. There is a compromise that the Governor and the two chambers must come to in order for it to see a move.

PA Independent: Education Reform Rises, Transportation falls on Corbett’s Agenda

The Governor declined to give too many details, but emphasized that he will have something “very clear” to say about education reform in the near future. There have been many advocates pressing for school choice since January, and welcomed Corbett’s comments.

WITF: Two weeks ‘til Corbett’s School Reforms Package

Within the next two weeks, reports WITF, the Governor said he will release his proposed school reforms package bill which includes school choice, reform and vouchers. Corbett claims that this is his top legislative priority.

October 7th, 2011 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Harrisburg, Top Stories | 2 Comments

2 thoughts on “Corbett’s Voucher Proposal Roundup”

  1. Cleanup Philly says:

    Vouchers would fix the dysfunction Philly School District, where assured enrollment with one-party rule has created a climate of municipal theft and criminally low quality.

    Let parents vote with their feet. Public schools have nothing to fear if they are doing a competent job. Parents are willing to work with schools. But they want a voice also.

    Right now parents are insulted with a head of schools who has two salaried chauffeurs, with one on permanent standby. The Philly School Districts holds empty buildings to keep jobs, which is good for votes.

    The kids literally come last, and parents get the run around. Vouchers gives the power back to the parents, just like Philly schools had when parents joined forces to form our once nationally recognized educational system in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

    Let parents vote with their feet. What is so scary about that? Why to teachers’ unions and administrators in large school districts fear that so much?

  2. George Bonekemper says:

    Pennsylvania does need Publicly-funded Tuition Vouchers. They are opposed by 2/3rds of Pennsylvanians regardless of race, age, region or political affiliation. (Center for Opinion Research). Nationally less than one out of three citizens approve vouchers according to the 43rd Annual Gallup Poll released in September by Phi Delta Kappa. The academic performance of Pennsylvania’s Charter Schools is an absolute disgrace. The Stanford University study (April 2011)found that 100% of the state’s cyber schools performed significantly below their public school counterparts in mathematics and reading. Both the largest brick and mortar charter and largest cyber-charter school have been asked to investigate their state assessment scores due to irregularities.

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