A proposed grant program that would provide 500,000 Pennsylvania K-12 students with $1,000 to spend on education expenses was vetted by the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee on Monday.
The program is viewed by supporters as a lifeline for students at risk of falling behind in their schooling due to schools’ COVID-19-related switch to remote learning.
But others see it as a foot in the door that will lead to a full-fledged school voucher program. They argue there are better uses for that $500 million that it proposes to spend. Among their suggestions, using it to help school districts with their unanticipated pandemic-related costs and an estimated $1 billion in lost revenue due to the pandemic. Or they recommend putting the money toward extending internet service to rural and underserved communities or to provide resources to serve students and staff’s physical and mental health needs arising from stresses caused by the