The Democratic governor of Pennsylvania is defending his stance supporting a school choice bill despite significant blowback from the teachers’ union.
Gov. Josh Shapiro’s support comes as the Legislature considers Senate Bill 795, which would create “spending-restricted accounts for students living in low-performing districts to pay for private school tuition, tutoring, and other educational expenses.”
In an interview with Fox News, Gov. Josh Shapiro said he believes all children should have a chance at a quality education.
“Let me just say, in general, I believe every child of God deserves a shot here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and one of the best ways we can guarantee their success is making sure every child has a quality education,” Shapiro said in the interview. “I’ve been very clear that I’m open to that concept that you described a moment ago, but I’ve also made crystal clear that I won’t take a dollar out of our public schools in order to achieve that.”
Teachers’ union bosses immediately came out against the program and the governor.
Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, claims the school choice program, called Lifeline Scholarships, would “siphon millions of dollars from public schools is even under consideration.”
Pennsylvania State Education Association President Rich Askey bemoaned the governor’s support, saying, “We are incredibly disappointed… that Gov. Shapiro could be the first governor in Pennsylvania’s history to sign a school voucher bill.”
However, Shapiro, has vowed not to take any funding away from public schools, says educational choice is one of the key components for a better future.
“We’ve got to invest more in our children, not less – and so I want to make sure we give, as I said, every child of God an opportunity to be successful,” Shapiro told Fox News. “I think education is key to that. Public safety is key to that. Growing our economy is key to that. All three of those things fit together to give us an opportunity to make sure everyone has a chance to succeed here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”