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LETTER: Let families — not zip codes — determine children's future

Stefanie Klaves
Harrisburg
Logos Academy, a 20-year independent, nonprofit school serves York County students regardless of income level. The academy opened an affiliate school in Harrisburg in the fall of 2018.

Sarah, a minority graduate of York’s Logos Academy, defied all the statistics Mr. Bill Swartz noted in his recent op-ed. She finished second in her class, speaks three languages, and hopes to be a sociologist or lawyer. The reason: A school choice program called the Educational Improvement Tax Credit made it so Sarah’s zip code did not determine her future.

Mr. Swartz recognizes the problem these "little boxes” cause. Zip-code-based education maintains our children’s educational separation. Unfortunately, he avoids calling for changes that would liberate children from those boxes.

Instead, Swartz worries about making our educational separation well-funded. But York City already spends over $19,000 per student, far above national and state averages. If under-funding and crowded classrooms are a concern, school choice solves both issues. Logos Academy is a private school that saves the district around $3.9 million and helps reduce classroom sizes — important for social distancing at school in the fall.

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If we truly care about ensuring zip codes don’t dictate futures, then we must stop fixating solely on money and also address the problem of dividing students by location in the first place. While ensuring districts have sufficient funds is obviously needed, only school choice gives students the opportunities they deserve.

Logos Academy proves this fact. Although almost 60% of students at Logos are from families at or below the poverty line, their students outperform the national average on the SAT and close the “achievement gap.”

In his article, Swartz says, “Separate but equal is not equal. Separate but underfunded is even worse.” I say that it’s time to celebrate students like Sarah by making their education neither separate nor unequal. To do that, state lawmakers should increase the tax credit cap for EITC scholarships, allowing York families — not zip codes — determine children’s future.