Give All Students A True Opportunity to Rise

Member Group : Americans for Prosperity-PA

The purpose of education is to help students discover, develop, and apply their unique abilities.  Each and every student in the Commonwealth and throughout this nation must have access to an education that unleashes their extraordinary potential – regardless of their family income or ZIP code.  Policies that move us away from a one-size-fits-all approach that dominates our current education system and closer to an environment of personalized learning, where every student is empowered to realize their full potential, should be the desired result of all Pennsylvanians.

However, this week House Bill 2370, an 86-page abomination passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. According to House Democrats’ floor comments, they believe that public school funding is still 5 Billion dollars underfunded annually—and 5 billion on top of the billions that have been added year after year for nearly a decade. Alas, they added more: they suggested we increase funding by $7 Billion. Our education problems are certainly not monetary ones. Throwing money to the wind in the hopes that it reaches the children in need is not a foundation for success—it’s a foundation for poor results and higher taxes.

House Bill 2370 also takes direct aim at cyber charter schools.  Cyber schools have been a tremendous option for students and parents throughout the Commonwealth. They provide transparent curriculum for parents and the opportunity for non-traditional leaners to excel in ways they could not in a brick-and-mortar setting. As Pennsylvanians, we should continue to embrace alternatives in education, not limit them. But limit them House Democrats will. With the passage of one bill, they essentially placed a limitless cap on failing public schools, while taking direct aim at cyber charter schools by placing arbitrary number of how much can follow a student.
While House Democratic leadership is throwing money at a broken system, states across the nation are passing significant universal school choice legislation. The Louisiana legislature, in lockstep with Governor Jeff Landry, recently passed GATOR (Giving All True Opportunity to Rise) Scholarships last month, which paves the way for universal Education Savings Accounts for students across the state. This marks the 18th state in the nation to pass ESA legislation. Pennsylvania must catch up.

We know this is only the beginning of House Democrats’ attacks on alternative education. Cyber, charter, home and private schools have always been a thorn in the side of the union who, along with administrative employees, generally are the only benefactors of this spending. Educational freedom should be a right for every student and parent in this Commonwealth regardless of what certain adults with educator dues in their campaign coffers have to say. One could understand the frustration with the traditional public school system as tens of thousands of families continue to put their children in alternative means of learning, but what we cannot comprehend is how, or more importantly, why, they are not making the proper adjustments to keep the faith of the parents in this Commonwealth. We have seen a decline in our traditional public schools for decades and we see through our proficiency scores in math, science, English and reading scores. The lack of an education that matches the needs for today not only hurts the individual but leaves our Commonwealth with a far less educated work force than it should have.
Instead of focusing on what is going to put our children in the best position after graduation, thinking outside of the box and tailoring education to the individual student, our House of Representatives chose more of the same in $7 billion of bad policy.

Join our fight to demand more for our students. Head to to join our movement of millions and help us fight back against more of the same from Harrisburg.

This is Emily Greene, Deputy State Director with Americans for Prosperity-PA.