Unimaginable. That is the word I use to describe the state of our current public education system. For two years, parents and teachers have had to deal with curveball after curveball coming down from presidents and governors without any concern for regional circumstances or regard for parental input.
In fact, it has become abundantly clear that the only individuals who have any input on these decisions are public union leaders in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C. Worse, the input has become less about what’s actually best for children and more about what’s best for adults and public union coffers. School administrators and union bosses in Harrisburg are still fighting to shut down schools, now blaming closures on optional masking. While these special interests are playing political games, our children are falling more and more behind.
The academic disruption and long-term psychological effects of the past two years are impossible to quantify and are largely still unknown, but we know they will be weighty. Suicides are up. Drug use is up. Academic performance is down. Our economically disadvantaged students are especially vulnerable.
In the day-to-day fights over the “what-ifs” of COVID-19, there is no consideration being given to the long-term impacts that this chaos and unpredictability has on our kids. Now more than ever, we must ensure parents – not bureaucrats, union bosses or administrators – have the final say in their children’s health, well-being, and education in the classroom. Our parents must have options and our schools must be forced to compete. The educational monopoly system has been failing students for some time now in Pennsylvania but has never been more obvious.
That is why I am a co-sponsor of the Excellent Education for All Act (House Bill 1
), a bill which would provide access to quality educational opportunities to all children and return control to the parents. Whether it is for their safety, well-being or education, no one cares more and will make a better decision for a child than their parents. If a parent believes a school is being rash and unsafe, that parent should be able to take their kid and tax dollars to safer school. If another parent believes their child’s educational environment is causing psychological harm to their kid, that parent should be able to take their child and tax dollars to another school.
The result of education money following the child would completely transform our system into one that empowers parents, keeps students as its chief focus, and provides access to education opportunities to those who want them. The General Assembly must act now to move this transformative piece of legislation. Our children’s futures and the future of our state and country depend on it.