Leading School Reform Advocate to Take Clergy to Visit West Philadelphia High Schools

PHILADELPHIA, October 6, 2010 – Calling education reform and school choice the new Civil Rights issue, one of the nation’s leading and most prominent voices in the school reform and school choice movements, Pennsylvania State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams PA (Dem-8th), will lead a group of Pennsylvania clergy on a bus tour of three West Philadelphia area high schools tomorrow. The purpose of this event is to have clergy from across the southeastern part of Pennsylvania examine the differences in educational programs and school environments in order to have a better understanding of what students experience on a day-to-day basis.

Students First, a non-partisan political action committee dedicated to promoting and advocating for school choice and other education reform efforts in Pennsylvania, is organizing the event. Speaking in the parlance of the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark 1954 Brown vs. the Board of Education decision, Williams said “Providing access to a quality education for every child is the most important issue facing our nation today, said Williams. “We must make education reform a reality with all deliberate speed.”

The civil rights school bus tour will make stops at West Catholic, West Philadelphia High and Boys Latin of Philadelphia, a public charter school from 8 AM to 1 PM.

Senator Williams has been a school reform advocate for more than 20 years. His fierce advocacy for the charter school movement has resulted in Pennsylvania having one of the highest concentrations of charter schools in the nation. The senator believes that all children should have the opportunity to receive a quality education so he wrote and sponsored Senate Bill 1405. The bill provides low-income students from failing public school districts opportunity scholarships to attend a private or parochial school. The bill has received broad based support. Both Pennsylvania Gubernatorial candidates Democrat Dan Onorato and Republican Tom Corbett have pledged their support of SB 1405 and recently the IBEW Local 98 and the Laborers’ District Council of the Metropolitan Area of Philadelphia and Vicinity announced their support. Senate Committee hearings are scheduled for SB 1405 this month.

Williams is a member of the PA Senate Education Committee, the Digital Learning Council led by former Governor’s Jeb Bush and Bob Wise and is a Board Member of BAEO, Black Alliance for Educational Options.

For more information about Pennsylvania State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams, please visit www.senatoranthonyhwilliams.com.