April 27, 2011 11:56AM

Pennsylvania School Choice Bills

Much attention and controversy have been focused in recent months on Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1, which would create a government-funded school voucher program.  Less attention, and far less controversy, accompanied the passage yesterday of an expansion of the state's existing education tax credit program out of the House education committee. The vote was 21 to 4.

Apart from the seemingly more favorable reception it is receiving, the tax credit program has three notable advantages: it is less likely to curtail educational freedom by suffocating participating private schools with regulation (which would defeat the purpose of a school choice program), it does not force taxpayers to support types of education that may violate their convictions, and it encourages direct co-payments by parents toward the cost their children's education, when they can afford to do so (which is associated in the international and historical research with higher school efficiency and greater responsiveness to parents' demands).

Worth thinking about.