Last month, the Pennsylvania State Senate passed a landmark bill to allow children in the bottom 5 percent of schools to receive scholarships to attend a private school of their choice. The bill also lifts the cap on the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program—which provides tax credits to corporations that donate to scholarship organizations—$25 million in 2012 and another $25 million in 2014.

Robert Enlow, president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, said the proposal brings “Pennsylvania closer to Milton Friedman’s vision of true school choice for all.”

Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform, offered her praise as well:

Today in the U.S., a growing number of policymakers are seeing increased student achievement in states that have adopted similar, bold initiatives. Pennsylvania is on the cusp of meaningful education improvement with this exciting development.

Pennsylvanians can rest assured that their state’s push to provide more school choice options for families is backed by strong empirical evidence. Researchers continue to find that school choice improves student achievement while actually improving surrounding public schools. A growing body of literature about the value of school choice has been published in recent years, detailing the data in support of enhancing educational options for families. Increases in graduation rates, academic achievement, student safety, and parental satisfaction are among the many benefits, which also include placing competitive pressure on surrounding public schools to improve.

Pennsylvania families are on the verge of having more school choice options available to them. This is a promising step forward for the state and another promising move forward during this historic “Year of School Choice.”

Matt Larsen is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: