On Wednesday, August 3, OU IPA Director of State Affairs Howie Beigelman presented a testimony before the Education Committee of Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives supporting better opportunities through increased educational options.
The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, supports educational reform to allow more options and opportunity through the following programs: Educational Improvement Tax Credits, vouchers, public school choice, tax incentives, and equal access to ancillary programs.
Educational Improvement Tax Credits
The OU strongly supports the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program, as it assists both public and nonpublic schools and focuses on aiding moderate and middle-income families that struggle financially to send their child to the school best suited for them. EITC is a nationally duplicated model that shares bi-partisan and bi-cameral support. The OU is grateful that EITC is now fully funded at $75M, with an increase in the income cap for families, and urges any educational reform to begin by an increase in EITC, since it has already proven to be effective.
The OU supports Senate Bill 1, which creates a low income voucher program, in order to allow for all communities to have more educational opportunities and choice.
Public School Choice
Since the OU supports quality education for all, we also support an increase in public school choice and public charter opportunities.
Personal tax incentives or deductions can assist all parents in providing higher quality education for their children, whether it is for nonpublic school tuition or tutoring, test prep or remedial expenses for children in public schools. Illinois, Louisiana, and Minnesota all have a version of this and the OU urges the Legislature to explore similar options.
Equal Access to Ancillary Programs
The Legislature already funds many programs for health, safety, improved educational technology and energy efficiency, and we ask that these programs be available to benefit every school and each child equally.
For further information, read the entire testimony here: OU ABOVE testimony (PA House Education, 8-3-11)-1