Wednesday, June 15, 2011

'A Small Leak Can Sink a Great Ship'

The title is a quote from Benjamin Franklin, perhaps the most famous Philadelphian of all time. And unfortunately, it could also serve as a warning regarding what's at stake if we don't begin fixing our education system in the place he once called home.

Philadelphia has one of America's oldest public school systems. As a result of that age comes experience, which is why the city is home to some of the country's most exemplary public and public charter schools.

But for every kid lucky enough to be zoned to attend Central High School, there are hundreds more who are relegated to failing schools, those of which are sadly common in a Philadelphia school district that ranks as one of the worst in the state.

That's where Senate Bill 1 comes in. It aims to rescue children from those failing schools by granting them vouchers that allow their parents to choose a qualifying private school for them to attend. Targeted specifically towards the low-income children most in need of help, it's at the center of a contentious debate currently going on in the Pennsylvania legislature.

After the jump, watch a stunning video that makes clear what's at stake if these students don't receive help—and fast.

The folks at the Commonwealth Foundation have released a mini-documentary profiling some of the students and parents in the city's most difficult circumstances. They're the ones who stand to benefit from Senate Bill 1. Let's hope their stories inspire legislators to do the right thing.

Every child who fails to get a quality education is a failure of our promise as a country. They deserve better, and Senate Bill 1 can help give them get the chance everyone should have.

- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MAG

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