Three Pa. payments to provide dad and mom extra management over their youngsters’ training
As a loyal James Bond fan, I hurried to see No Time to Die. I don’t usually see much of my own life in bonds – but this time around, I found it relatable. Why? While I’d rather die (another day) than spoil the ending, I can say that many times throughout the film, Bond ran out of options.
Without the Aston Martin, so it is with me and many other parents after almost two years of fighting the bosses of the teachers’ union and the school district bureaucrats committed to them. Shaken by our lack of opportunities to have a say in our children’s education, we are motivated to act, as protests by the school authorities at national level show.
It shouldn’t be so difficult for parents to determine the future of our children. But it is so – and parents and children suffer because the money and thus the power in education is in the wrong hands.
Just look at what happened in September when schools in Philadelphia – the district with the lowest performing schools in the state – closed again. Once again, the parents had little choice and fewer options.
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At this point, we know the downside of school closings: distance from friends, missing meals, and physical activity, not to mention the as-yet-unknown effects of having our kids staring at screens for hours.
Thousands of students at risk who have fallen far behind, especially those under 5th grade, are now likely to fall further behind. As The Inquirer reported in July, Philadelphia has the second largest racial gap in access to personal learning in the country.
Another school year like this could have economic consequences that harm families for generations. As Allison Schrager of the Manhattan Institute recently reported: “Estimates from 139 countries show that one year of school attendance increases income by 9%.” We literally cannot afford school closings.
Meanwhile, the parents keep burning the candle at both ends. We are losing jobs, we are losing sleep and, as a CDC study showed, some of them are turning to drugs and alcohol to help us manage this education crisis. For women, this puts our careers at risk as nearly two million women are leaving the labor market. I don’t want another talk from progressive lawmakers on how much their policies benefit women until they vote to empower us, especially those on lower incomes, to decide about our children’s education.
Fortunately, some state lawmakers have taken note of this and sponsored laws aimed at giving parents more opportunity and power.
The Excellent Education for All Act (House Bill 1), proposed by State Rep. Andrew Lewis, would create Universal Educational Opportunity Accounts (EOAs) that would allow parents to spend education tax money on qualifying purchases such as classes, online courses, tutoring, and special offers use. needs services. HB 1 has educational grants to accompany the child to a school of their choice. Currently, only families with sufficient disposable income can have these options. HB 1 enables all families, especially those with low incomes, to have choices.
State Sen. Judy Ward sponsors SB 733, which creates similar EOAs for students with special needs. State Representative Natalie Mihalek is about to propose a bill offering families pandemic relief grants to offset the cost of changing schools during COVID-19.
Reforms like this are bipartisan, with 82% Democrats and 78% Republicans advocating them. This is a signal to the legislature that all parents value flexibility and quality in their children’s education. It is crucial that lawmakers pass these laws – and sign Governor Tom Wolf.
If the past few months have shown us anything, it is that parents will “never say die” when fighting for the future of our children. Our children deserve these options now – we will always return to them.
Jennifer Stefano is Executive Vice President of the Commonwealth Foundation. She is a visiting scholar at the Independent Women’s Forum. @JenniferStefano.