School choice requires an active engagement in politics. This does not mean dipping a toe in the proverbial pond of politics, but actively engaging in local and state politics and calling its school community to involvement as well.
Educations savings accounts are the future of school choice, and new data out today show how families are using ESAs to customize educational options.
In 2014, Florida became the second state, after Arizona in 2011, to enact education savings accounts (ESAs), which enable families to utilize state funding to customize K-12 schooling options beyond just private school tuition. This year, more than 10,000 Florida students with special needs utilized the program, which is now called the Gardiner Scholarship.
LANCASTER (Jan. 19, 2018) – The Honorable Mike Turzai, PA Speaker of the House and candidate for governor was awarded the Pennsylvania affiliate of the Council on American Private Education (PACAPE) School Choice Champion Award at a ceremony on Friday, Jan. 26 at the Doubletree Willow Valley Resort in Lancaster, PA. PACAPE hosted the event as a part of the Association of Christian School’s (ACSI) Northeast Regional Leadership Conference where 350 private school administrators attended.
Yesterday (Monday, May 22) we produced a webinar that was recorded; it will help schools know what to do about sexual and gender identity threats our schools face. You can view that webinar using the links below. For more information and to find out what actions you can take, we encourage you to read this email.
Gov. Tom Wolf’s “Fairness Act” is anything but fair. Please take a look at the following documents that explain the "Fairness" Act. One of the documents points to the connection this Act has to bathrooms and showers and the other gives a general overview of the negative impacts with this legislation. This bill (HB1410) was formally introduced in the House last week by State Representative Dan Frankel. In the Senate, it is SB613.
CALL TO ACTION: Oppose SB613 / HB1410
1) Contact your State Senator and State Representative to OPPOSE the “Fairness Act.”
2) Ask State House and Senate leadership to OPPOSE the “Fairness Act.”
3) Ask candidates for Pennsylvania Governor where they stand on the “Fairness Act.”
On March 20, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos met with the CAPE (Council for Private Education) board of directors and representatives of the state affiliates for the first time; she reaffirmed her commitment to expanding educational opportunities for children and parents. “We have to stay focused on what’s right for kids,” said Mrs. DeVos, sounding a recurring theme in her young administration. “If we can keep asking ourselves the question about what is right for individual children, I think we’re going to come to a good and reasonable answer.” Mrs. DeVos said one of her priorities was to advance parental choice in education in a significant way that would “help parents and children who are trapped all too often in places that don’t work for them.” But she also said her immediate goals are to successfully steer the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act and to get her team of senior officials on board. Beyond that, she wants to advance the public policy conversation about higher education and lifelong learning.
To read more about this meeting with DeVos and to take a look at the meeting CAPE had with House Education Chairwoman Virgina Foxx, take a look at the April edition of CAPE Outlook.
On March 22, 2017, a coalition of private school administrators and the PA Family Institute met with state representatives to thank them for their continued support of EITC/OSTC programs. Meetings were held with sponsors of the legislation, the House Majority leader, the Speaker of the House and others. ACSI PA leaders were able to share first-hand accounts of how this program has made a differnece in the lives of students and families across the Commonwealth. Additionally, pleas were made on behalf of pending proposals for ESAs (Educational Savings Accounts), a program which, if passed, will enable many families to have more of a choice in the education of their children. Finally, we were able to continue the dialogue of reminding our legislators that any new legislation dealing with education in the Commonwealth needs to continue to allow schools with specific mission-statements to continue to both hire employees who support the mission and operate the school according to the mission. These meetings are crucial as nothing has more of an impact on legislators than hearing from their constituents in person. It requires time away from the office, but it is a worthy and necessary investment for the good of school choice and religious liberty.
With a strong bi-partisan vote of 147-39, House Bill 250 cleared its first hurdle: passage in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The measure proposes to increase Educational Improvement Tax Credits (EITC) by $50 million (raising it to $175 million) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credits (OSTC) by $25 million (raising it to $75 million).
We encourage you to connect with your legislators and let them know how you feel about the current issues. Let them know how important those issues are to you by trying to set up a face to face meeting or a phone meeting with them or one of their staff members. If you would like to do that, but are unsure how to go about doing that, we have set up some basic steps with ideas of what to say. Click here to view those steps. If you have any questions please reach out to us at ACSIPALeaders@champion.org.
We encourage you to use this prayer card; fill in the blanks with your elected officials and please pray regularly for each one of them by name. Click here to download the prayer card or to share it with others.