Jay-Z school voucher campaign criticized for allegedly taking money away from public schools

Jay-Z is under fire for his newly proposed program that would help underprivileged youth in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania secure scholarships to private schools.

Last week, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation unveiled the Pennsylvania Award for Student Success (PASS), a new educational campaign that would award $300 million in private school scholarships to K-12 students from low-income households. But as soon as the campaign was announced, Jay-Z faced backlash from critics who accused the hip-hop mogul of pushing through a Republican-backed bill in the Senate that would take taxpayer money away from underperforming public schools and give them to private schools , HuffPost reports.

While initial reports claimed the $300 million in grants would be funded by Roc Nation, it would actually be supported by taxpayer dollars as part of Senate Bill 757, or PASS. As part of the campaign, Roc Nation is hosting a series of events in the greater Philadelphia region from June 10 to 21 to educate the public about PASS, which the Republican-led legislation claims is “aimed at expanding educational opportunities for underprivileged youth attending state conferences”. worst-performing public schools.”

As a result, critics are speaking out against the campaign with complaints about where the funding would come from and how it will harm the thousands of students in public schools.

‘This isn’t it. The answer to the inequality plaguing our PA public schools is not a celebrity campaign for a GOP proposal to use public dollars to send a few “lucky” kids to private schools,” tweeted Pennsylvania Rep. Summer Lee in response. “The answer is to make sure our public schools are actually properly funded.”

“I don’t think people realize that privately

Schools are not necessarily better,” another critic added. ‘Also how this further harms disadvantaged schools, because they receive funding in proportion to school attendance. Not all help is good help.”

The American Federation of Teachers Pennsylvania also shared their stance by posting a photo of Jay-Z and billionaire Jeffrey Yass, Pennsylvania’s richest man, who is known for his donations to Republicans and conservative causes.

“Here’s a photo of @sc and Jeffrey Yass, PA’s richest man, potential Trump Treasury Secretary, and the force behind the voucher push in PA,” they wrote.

The PASS program claims it will not take money from public schools but would allocate “public funds from a separate component,” according to its website. However, critics say otherwise, as public school funding is based on the number of students attending.

Meanwhile, Roc Nation CEO Desiree Perez says the company “does not support any specific bill

or any political party. What we support is education.”

“We don’t force people to sign anything. We’re just educating them, and I think everyone wants people to make informed decisions,” Perez said.

“We care about our people,” she explained. “We care about the children. And the only thing I don’t see anywhere is anyone talking about the kids. People talk about the public school system and how important it is, and I agree. I hear all kinds of things about the budget, the government, parties and bills, but no one talks about the children.”

A 2023 Pennsylvania System of School Assessment found that nearly 75% of eighth-grade students were proficient in math and that 34% of third- through eighth-grade students were proficient or higher in English scores. As a result, Perez says Roc Nation’s goal is to focus on the needs of the students.

“The children in these zip codes are suffering right now,” she said. “If you have a better solution, other than making (students) wait until the public school system can get it along with the funding they receive, I’m all ears.”

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