Educators respond to Secretary Betsy DeVos' visit to Harrisburg

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Educators respond to Secretary Betsy DeVos' visit to Harrisburg

For further information contact:
Chris Lilienthal (717) 255-7134
David Broderic (717) 255-7169

HARRISBURG, PA (Sept. 19, 2019) – U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos came to Harrisburg today to champion programs that divert taxpayer funds from public schools to costly private schools.

Consistently throughout her tenure, Secretary DeVos has embraced such programs, including a proposal to expand taxpayer-funded private school tuition vouchers that she rolled out in February, while favoring cuts in public school funding.

“Betsy DeVos doesn’t seem to understand that the best way to improve education is to invest the resources we need to provide a great neighborhood public school to every student,” said PSEA President Rich Askey. “Voucher programs don’t help students learn. They drain money from public schools, and they don’t hold private schools accountable for student achievement.”

Jody Barksdale, president of the Harrisburg Education Association, said that the Harrisburg School District has been in receivership for nearly three months, and already progress is being made. Voucher programs could jeopardize that.

“Harrisburg’s students and educators are feeling optimistic,” Barksdale said. “Teachers are getting more support, and students are starting the year on the right track. Any voucher scheme that drains millions from our schools would stop that progress and set Harrisburg back for a very long time.”

“Educators know what works and what doesn’t in our public schools,” Askey added. “What we need are investments in public schools that serve every student, not failed programs that take taxpayers’ money away from them.”

An affiliate of the National Education Association, PSEA represents about 181,000 active and retired educators and school employees, student teachers, higher education staff, and health care workers in Pennsylvania.