ESA Voucher Bill Set for Vote Tuesday, May 22

Tell your Senator to vote NO on ESA vouchers…Again!

Yes, they are trying one more time.  The Senate Education Committee has just announced its intention to vote on Senate Bill 2 (Sen. DiSanto, R-Dauphin) this coming Tuesday, May 22. This bill establishes Education Savings Accounts (ESA) vouchers, a program that takes tax money out of your neighborhood public schools to be used for private schools and vendors. Your calls and emails are needed immediately to stop this flawed scheme from being moved on a fast track! Please take a moment to contact your senators, even if they are not on the Education Committee.

To date, 240 school boards across Pennsylvania have adopted resolutions opposing the ESA voucher plan under Senate Bill 2. We need to work together now to block passage of Senate Bill 2 and this latest attempt to sell vouchers.

The Senate Education Committee is the first step in this process (click here to see if your Senator is on the Committee)…if your Senator is on the Education Committee, please CALL him or her asking for opposition to the bill (click here for contact information).

If your Senator is NOT on the Education Committee, he or she still needs to hear from you on this issue now. Email, call, text, tweet at them to make sure they understand that Senate Bill 2 is a voucher bill that has no positive impact on public education. Feel free to use any of the talking points below.

Please be loud, direct and persistent!! Remember…you are the experts and are in the best position to understand the impact of this legislation. Educate your Senator!

Please find your Senator’s contact information on our home page and call them Monday and let them know.

Here are Talking Points:

ESA vouchers take money away from public schools to subsidize private schools. The impact of Senate Bill 2 is estimated to siphon more than $500 million dollars from school districts, many that are already under-resourced, to benefit private schools.

Vouchers are not a proven strategy to enhance educational outcomes. The mixed and varied results of the most recent studies on the achievement of students in voucher programs makes ESAs a gamble that Pennsylvania cannot afford.

Academic, financial accountability measures are weak. Senate Bill 2 lacks meaningful academic accountability for students with ESA vouchers due to shallow, inconsistent, and vague testing and reporting requirements by allowing various assessments to be used. Senate Bill 2 also lacks specific financial accountability measures. Language in the bill regarding audits and penalties is very weak.

Vouchers reduce fair access to educational opportunity for all students and are unresponsive to the issue of poverty. They divert scarce resources from public schools that serve all students to pay for private schools for a few. Many of the lowest-performing schools are already struggling financially and cannot afford to receive less resources.

Vouchers do nothing to improve the education of all students.  Creating a separate education system does nothing to address inadequacies or issues with the existing public school system. Most high-poverty schools still operate with fewer instructional resources and supports compared to schools in wealthy communities.

We should focus on fixing public schools – where 90% of children go – not taking money away from them for the 10% who go to private schools. Taxpayers cannot afford to fund both private and public schools. Private schools pick and choose students. Public schools do not pick and choose their students. Public schools are open to every child.

ESA vouchers do not offer efficiency or savings to taxpayers. The simplistic notion that ESA vouchers will save taxpayers and school districts money defies the realities of voucher programs and mandatory public school expenditures. When a student leaves a school district to enroll in a private school, the district’s fixed costs still remain. And requirements to transport students to private schools within a 10-mile radius will increase transportation costs for affected districts.

Tell your senator that the ESA voucher plan robs public schools to enrich private schools. This amounts to a taxpayer giveaway to private schools. Senate Bill 2 falls short of the mark in too many areas to be worthy of support.

Thank you for your advocacy efforts!

 

BASD Proud Parents is strictly pro-public education. We are an independent group with no affiliations to the BASD school board or any political parties. Our goals are to help parents stay informed about educational policy discussions and to facilitate ways for any of us who would like the chance to have our voices heard, to get more involved in those policy conversations.