When I first joined the ACSIPA committee charged with the responsibility of keeping school choice issues in front of state legislators about two years ago, our visits to Harrisburg mainly involved meeting with second and third tier legislative aides to representatives and Senators, and there was very little, very slow progress. That has changed, and there are several reasons for it:
- Attendance at the EITC Birthday rallies in Harrisburg, sponsored by the REACH foundation, has increased, and the legislators have noticed not only the issue of school choice, but the support that exists for it.
- The ACSIPA committee has a website, http://acsipa.org, and the website now has a voter voice feature. During last year's debate on the EITC reform bill, legislators received over 1,500 emails from school choice supporters. Hence, a bill that we were told a year earlier could never get through an election-year session passed with room to spare.
- The ACSIPA committee, of which I am a member, has a regular presence in Harrisburg, and we are now discovering that legislators want to meet directly with us, rather than send an aide in their place.
On May 6, a group of PCS students will ride over to Harrisburg to participate in the EITC Birthday Party celebration on the western steps of the Capitol building. Legislators will notice their presence there. Last year, all of the Senators and representatives who are from areas covered by PCS families made a point to invite our students into their office, and meet with them personally. There is a photo in our trophy case of our students with Representative Jarrett Gibbons, of Ellwood City, and Senator Hutchinson, of Franklin. Both are school choice supporters.
Parents are welcome to ride the bus. We can take two busses if we need the room.