Pennsylvania Voters Give State Schools a ‘C’

Pennsylvania voters give the state’s public schools a low “C” grade and rate their local schools slightly higher, according to the Inquirer Pennsylvania Poll.

Seventy percent of the 600 likely voters who participated in the statewide Inquirer poll last week said they were optimistic urban schools can be improved.

But despite the recent push by Gov. Corbett and the General Assembly, there was a division on charter schools and vouchers between statewide respondents and those in the five-county area.

Statewide, 54 percent of those polled have reservations that opening more charter schools will improve urban education and 56 percent are opposed to giving students in low-performing schools vouchers to attend private and parochial schools.

In Philadelphia and the surrounding four-county region, only 41 percent of voters are opposed to creating more charters and 51 percent have negative views on vouchers.

Ted Kirsch, president of the American Federation of Teachers Pennsylvania, agreed with the statewide views on charters and vouchers.

“There isn’t any evidence charter schools and vouchers are going to improve education,” he said in an interview Saturday.

Study after study, Kirsch said, has shown charter students overall perform no better than those in traditional public schools. And he said the state’s new $50 million Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program will mostly help students already enrolled in private and religious schools.

Click here to read the full article by Martha Woodall published in the Philadelphia Inquirer (September 17, 2012).

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