“The Civil Rights Issue of our Day” – Condoleeza Rice

At the GOP convention, Condoleezza Rice boldly stated, “We need to give parents greater choice, particularly poor parents whose kids, very often minorities, are trapped in failing neighborhood schools. This is the civil rights issue of our day.”

Thankfully, the PA legislators agree and have taken an important step forward through creating The Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit. This $50 million bill, signed into law this summer, allows Pennsylvania businesses to direct the state taxes they owe to qualified scholarship organizations. These dollars can only be given to students in PA who attend schools performing in the bottom 15% based on state standards. Over 40,000 K-12 youth are eligible to receive these scholarships.

These failing schools were required to write to the parents of these students, explaining that their public schools were indeed failing. For the past week, we’ve been receiving phone calls and e-mails from parents who now realize that their local neighborhood school is failing them. Here’s what one concerned mom wrote:

“I received a letter in the mail regarding my child’s school being a low achieving school the other day. After being informed of the statistics of my child’s school, I was devastated and felt hopeless in terms of education for my child. I have been looking around and researching opportunities for him, but I simply could not afford it. I have a feeling of desperation when I think of the importance education is to my child and how it was the key factor in my life. I am willing and able to give whatever information and documentation is needed for the application process. This scholarship would give my child the opportunity to receive the education he needs and prepare him for furthering his education and life in the future.”

At Jubilee, we care deeply for families who are in these schools. However, we need the help of the Pennsylvania business community. If you own a business and agree with Secretary of State Rice that “school choice is the civil rights issue of our day,” please e-mail me at dskinner@jubileefund.org. You can make a difference.

-Drew Skinner

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