HARRISBURG – To give Pennsylvania youngsters and their parents the true opportunity for educational freedom, Rep. Joe D’Orsie (R-York) was joined by advocates to unveil legislation to create the Student Freedom Account Program.
“For far too long students and parents have asked for and repeatedly been denied the unbridled freedom to excel.” The Student Freedom Account Act will finally deliver them the opportunity they rightly deserve,” D’Orsie said. “No longer will a child’s ZIP code dictate the quality of their education. Rather, they will have the freedom to choose the school that best fits their educational needs.”
The Student Freedom Account Act would tie state education funding to students rather than systems by allowing the state portion of district education funding to follow the student to their school of choice. The funds, which would be housed in individualized Student Freedom Accounts, would be used by students to attend the school of their choice, such as a parochial or charter school.
D’Orsie formally unveiled the bill during a press conference, which included educational choice advocate and Harrisburg native Myles Slade-Bowers and former Rep. Andrew Lewis, who authored a universal educational choice bill, House Bill 1 of 2021.
“Educational choice is very simply a human rights issue,” said Lewis, who previously sponsored similar legislation. “I’m glad to see the work I started last session has been picked up and the momentum we’re seeing around the nation with educational choice is impacting our state.”
Slade-Bowers was able to attend Bishop McDevitt High School due to the state’s important, yet limited, tax credit program, the EITC scholarship, which allows businesses to direct tax dollars to educational institutions of their choosing.
“I was one of the fortunate students to benefit from the EITC program, but more can and should be done to help other kids,” Slade-Bowers said. “Universal educational choice, as proposed through the Student Freedom Account Program, would open the door of opportunity to countless more students.”
Editors Note: A recording of D’Orsie’s remarks from the press conference is available here
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Representative Joe D’Orsie
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross