I must take issue with Ms. Jocelyn Maddox and her plea for legislators to raise limits on tax credit scholarships for private schools (column published in the Tribune on June 3).

Ms. Maddox must not be cognitive of the fact that public schools are obligated by law to educate all children possessing a specific learning disability. That is not true or so for private, parochial or charter schools.

Public schools by law (Individuals With Disabilities Act of 1975) must provide a custom education plan tailored for students with specific learning disabilities. That plan is referred to as an IEP (individualized education program). Ms. Maddox never mentioned having attempted to meet with public school teachers or administrators to provide a plan for her child. It was unfair for her to approximate "I knew the district school would not be able to meet their needs" without meeting with school officials specifically to develop a plan for her child.

It is interesting to note the Tribune column was written by a mother of three children "using some of commonwealth foundation" money to tell her story. The foundation is a fiscally conservative think tank based in Harrisburg.

Private schools are not subject to the rigorous financial or academic accountability to the taxpayer as are public schools. Nevertheless, public tax money funneled to private schooling has seriously hurt public schools financially. (Just ask any public school board member.)

Government must be permitted to oversee private school programs they are subsidizing. Taxpayers have the right to know where and how their money is being spent.

In conclusion, public schools have served our country well since the 17th century. It will continue to do so if we advocate for it instead of attempting to destroy it.



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