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Corbett calls for taxpayer-funded vouchers

By Rajiv Venkataramanan on Jul 15, 2010 03:50 PM

In an interview Tuesday with the Associated Press, Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Corbett declared that one of his priorities as governor would be to make public money available for private and parochial school vouchers.

Corbett called the public school system a "monopoly," and stated that public schools would have to dramatically improve or risk losing taxpayer dollars to educational alternatives like charter and parochial schools. Corbett's statements make him bedfellows with Democratic State Senator Anthony Williams, who also gave a full-throated endorsement to taxpayer-funded vouchers during his failed gubernatorial bid.

Corbett's position, however, puts him directly at odds with his competitor, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dan Onorato. While Onorato supports tax credits for businesses contributing to private school scholarships, which already are provided by Pennsylvania, he says he is firmly opposed to taxpayer-funded vouchers. Onorato's spokesman asserted that "...vouchers direct funds away from public education, undermining the state's ability to ensure all public schools are adequately funded."

Corbett acknowledged that allowing taxpayer-funded vouchers would represent a significant shift in Pennsylvania's current policies, which allow for education improvement tax credits (EITCs) but ban the outright use of publicly funded vouchers for private schools.

Explaining his bold position on vouchers, Corbett stated that all options should remain on the table with regard to improving the quality of education in Pennsylvania.  "This money is for the kids," he said. "I think we've got to take a look at everything when it comes to the funding."

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Comments (4)

Submitted by Ms. Chips (not verified) on July 15, 2010 9:18 pm

Well, an honest politician.
Charters funnel money into private hands; vouchers do away with the pretense that funds are for public education, and simply give it directly to private groups.
I suppose Corbett could claim that this would be a more efficient system of piracy.

Submitted by Phillyteachertalks (not verified) on July 17, 2010 6:47 pm

I am personally opposed to Vouchers. That said I think vouchers are a more fair system than publicly funded charter schools. As long as we are going to continue to fund charter schools that have their own political and idealogical value systems we should fund private schools as well. I think it should be all one or the other.

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on July 18, 2010 6:33 am

The SDP of Philadelphia has a political and ideological value system - like all school systems. The difference between a public school, whether charter or school district, and many private schools, is some private schools are sectarian. If we begin a voucher system, the vast majority of schools which will benefit from vouchers will be religious based schools since their price tag is often less than non-sectarian private schools. Private schools already get state funding (e.g. parochial school students receive transportation, a reading specialist from the school district, etc.) but vouchers would fund the entire program of a parochial school.

Submitted by dan (not verified) on November 3, 2010 11:20 pm

The public school system has been a disaster for America. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Competition improves everything. If public schools had to compete for working class and middle class students because of a voucher system, the public school would be forced to reform itself

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