State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams To Introduce School Choice Bill
Make no mistake: Senator Anthony Hardy Williams (D-Phila) is ready to co-sponsor a school choice bill with Senator Jeffrey Piccola (R-Susquehanna).
For better or worse, the West Philly Senator is one of these guys who can stick to his guns (sorta like Rick Santorum) without choking on his foot (like Rick Santorum). And school choice has always been his game. He’s supported such legislation, believing it would help his own constituents, in spite of his place in the greater Democratic Party, since his election to the Pennsylvania State House in 1988. He and State Rep. Dwight Evans joined with then-Republican Governor Tom Ridge in the 90s – in spite of then-Mayor Rendell’s objections – to author the charter school law.
There are arguments for and against school choice. You can read all about them, everywhere. It’s usually one of those Democrat (against) vs. Republican (for) things (Democrats believe vouchers for private schools would hurt public schools, mostly). But whether or not you agree with the idea of, essentially, giving low-income kids vouchers and scholarships to attend private schools for a better education, it’s probably going to become law within the next four years, with the Republican Governor, legislature, and all that.
The only thing that could stop such a move would be the overbearing cost of creating a new government entity, tentatively titled, according to Williams’ bill, the Educational Choice Board. This board would approve and distribute the vouchers to low-income students – sort of like a death panel for smarts. Governor Tom Corbett vowed during his campaign to make this a top priority and shows no signs of slowing down or cutting back on such a promise. Especially as he looks to Governor Chris Christie, of New Jersey, as his mentor. This article from the Sun Gazette points to some Republicans acting wary on the bill, which we doubt will amount to much. But if it does, expect this to be a source of tension between the new Governor and his Harrisburg lackies.