Heartland Institute Reacts to Voucher Bill Failure in Pennsylvania House

December 15, 2011

An effort in Pennsylvania to pass a school voucher bill, supported by Gov. Tom Corbett, failed in the state House Wednesday night.


The following statements from education policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Tammy Nash at tnash@heartland.org and 312/377-4000. After regular business hours, contact Jim Lakely at jlakely@heartland.org and 312/731-9364.

"This bill's failure is the result of political cowardice. It's shocking, but unfortunately typical, for comfy suburban and rural legislators to ignore the plight of poor, urban children trapped in violent, failing schools.

"Legislators cite concerns about affordability. The reality is, school choice has for decades and by the best research been proven to cost less and create better academic and social results. This 'concern' is merely a mask for pushing selfish decisions onto the backs of children who can least afford to wait."

Joy Pullmann
Research Fellow, The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, School Reform News

"For a second straight year, Pennsylvania legislators put their own petty internal squabbles before the needs of the state's children. In a state where not one, but several school choice proposals were made, the governor was vocal in his support, and education is in desperate need of a helping hand; politicians have faltered.

"Study after study indicates the positive effects of legislation that empowers parents with choice. But it doesn't take a research team to figure out that allowing parents to choose how they educate their children is simply the right thing to do.

"The fact that we ever question whether parents should have control of their child's education speaks to the ability of big-money interest groups to manipulate the debate. For the sake of Pennsylvania children, let’s put special interests, internal squabbles, and nanny-state tendencies aside and do the right thing: bring vouchers to the Keystone State."

Marc Oestreich
Policy Advisor, Education
The Heartland Institute

"Once again, the elected leaders of Pennsylvania choose to obey the dictates of the status quo instead of helping children gain access to better education. The administrators, unions, and special interests pay for their political protection, and the children stuck in failing schools pay the price."

Bruno Behrend
Director, Center for Transforming Education
The Heartland Institute

The Heartland Institute is a 27-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago, Illinois; Washington, DC; Austin, Texas; Tallahassee, Florida; and Columbus, Ohio. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.