Groups Join Together in Backing PA Education Legislation

Support Offers Major Boost to Passing Opportunity Scholarship and Educational Improvement Tax Credit Act.

Mar 22, 2011, 14:03 ET from BrabenderCox

PITTSBURGH, March 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A number of highly respected Pennsylvania and national groups today announced their support for passage of PA Senate Bill 1, also known as "School Choice" legislation. The groups also voiced their intention to work closely together to ensure passage of this critical education reform legislation which will help address the problem of failing Pennsylvania schools, and provide many Pennsylvania parents with more educational options and control over their children's education.

On March 1, 2011 SB 1 was reported out of the PA Senate Education Committee by a vote of 8-2, and is now headed to the PA Senate Appropriations Committee.

"Senate Bill 1 marks a giant leap forward for Pennsylvania's schoolchildren. We must seize the opportunity to extend school choice to thousands of children across the state. A fully-funded EITC program, coupled with Opportunity Scholarships, as seen in Senate Bill 1, will help provide more parents the opportunity to choose the best educational path for their children, regardless of where they live. We can't continue to ignore the problem of failing schools in Pennsylvania, and the consequences of keeping children in schools that don't work for them," says Otto V. Banks of REACH Alliance.

"By joining forces in support of SB 1 we are sending a loud and clear message that hardworking taxpayers from all walks of life are unified in our expectations for better performance from our schools, and better return on the tax dollars invested in our children's education," said Ana Puig of The Kitchen Table Patriots.

"Every child and every family in Pennsylvania deserves equal access to a high quality education. Whether it's a private, public, religious, cyber or charter school parents should decide what is best for their child. Education should not be determined by a person's income or zip code," said Dawn Chavous of Students First.

"Too many children in Pennsylvania do not have access to a high quality education. Parents want better educational options for their kids and they want options now. SB 1 provides additional options for low income and working class families. We need to give the power of choice to parents and put our children first," said Darlene Callands Curry of Black Alliance for Educational Options.

"When only about half of the 11th graders in Pennsylvania are proficient in reading and math, it's clear something needs to change. Our organization is committed to working diligently everyday for passage of SB 1. The children of Pennsylvania's schools deserve nothing less," said Merle Skinner of Christian Family & Children's Center & Association of Christian Schools International.

The current list of organizations that have joined forces to fight for the successful passage of SB 1 are as follows:

The American Council of Christian Churches, Pennsylvania Regionals

Advocates for Catholic Education in Pennsylvania (ACE-PA)

American Federation for Children (AFC)

American Grassroots Coalition

Association of Independent Baptist Churches of Western Pennsylvania

Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI)

Association of Independent Baptist Churches of Western Pennsylvania

Baptist Bible Fellowship of Pennsylvania

Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO)

Business Leadership Organized for Catholic Schools (BLOCS)

Center for Education Reform

Central and North Central Pennsylvania Fundamental Pastors Association

Children's Jubilee Fund

Christian Family & Children's Center

Christian Schools International

Citizens Against Higher Taxes

Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania

Commonwealth Foundation

Concerned Citizens of Western PA

Council on American Private Education - National

Eagle Forum

Faith First Education Assistance

52nd Street Business Association

52nd Street Community Development Corporation

Freedom Works

Fundamental Baptist Fellowship of Pennsylvania

Harrisburg Area Independent Baptist Pastor's Fellowship

Hebron Vision Human Resource Center

Interchurch Holiness Convention (Pennsylvania)

Keystone Christian Education Association

LaSalle Academy

Let Freedom Ring

Lincoln Institute

Orthodox Union

PA Family Institute

PA Manufacturers Association

Pastor's Fellowship of North Eastern Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Association of Regular Baptist Churches

Pennsylvania Catholic Conference

Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools (PCPCS)

Pennsylvania Council on American Private Education

Reach Foundation

Right To Work

Students First

Talk Magazine

The American Council of Christian Churches

The Foundation for Educational Choice

The Kitchen Table Patriots

As more organizations join this growing list of supporters, revised lists will be circulated.

SOURCE BrabenderCox