In a Philadelphia news conference with former rival and school-choice fundee Anthony Williams today, Dan Onorato announced his support of state grants for private schooling. He gave no details on how to budget for the payouts, but if they means a cut in funding for public education that may not go down well with the Pennsylvania State Education Association -- which endorsed Onorato in March.

Here's the AP:

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Pennsylvania gubernatorial hopeful Dan Onorato is calling for state grants to help some low-income families pay for private education.

The Democrat says grants would go to families served by the most academically troubled schools. He says the details and costs of the plan are still being worked out.

Onorato made the announcement Wednesday in Philadelphia. The candidate appeared with state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, who backed a “school choice” agenda in his own run for governor.

Onorato beat Williams and two others in the primary, and will face GOP nominee Tom Corbett in November.

Corbett also supports the voucher concept, which would make public money available to pay for tuition at parochial and other private schools.

The news release from Onorato's camp doesn't trumpet that news, rather saying "a range of educational options are necessary ensure that Pennsylvanians are able to compete for high-skill jobs." It lists the grants last in a list of five education priorities.

The full release is after the jump.

PHILADELPHIA: Joined by State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dan Onorato today said that improving education is a critical economic issue and emphasized that a range of educational options are necessary to ensure that Pennsylvanians are able to compete for high-skill jobs.

“We need to keep our focus where it belongs: on our children,” said Onorato. “Whether it is in a traditional public school, a charter school or a private school, every family has the right to know that their children are in a safe and successful learning environment.”

Onorato, whose pre-k–12 education policy paper released in February calls for taking “a balanced approach to school choice,” joined Senator Williams in calling for grants so that low-income families served by the most academically challenged schools would be able to choose another option for their children.

“Academic achievement is essential for economic success,” Onorato said. “I want to make sure that every school is a great school, and increasing parental choice will help reach this goal.”

Onorato’s education policies, which are designed to achieve the best return on taxpayer investment while focusing on success for all students, include:

  • Early childhood education, with expanded access to high-quality pre-kindergarten;
  • The state’s school funding formula, which increases student achievement while reducing the burden on local property taxes;
  • Charter schools with strong academic and financial standards;
  • The Educational Improvement Tax Credit, which funds private-school scholarships for low-income families; and
  • Similar grants that would give low-income families in academically distressed communities direct choices about which schools their children should attend.

“Pennsylvania’s next Governor must be someone who will stand up for all of our children, and understand the direct link between a quality education and improving the economic and social future of our Commonwealth," Senator Williams said. “I have worked to ensure pathways to a better education for all throughout my career in public service. That’s what school choice is about. That’s what I’m about. And I am proud to have Dan Onorato as my partner in giving children and their families more opportunities for success – regardless of their income level or zip code.”

Onorato has seen first-hand the positive impact of high-quality childhood education on children from disadvantaged backgrounds, and he brought his commitment to ensuring that all children receive a good education to his role as Allegheny County Executive, where he championed programs that increase literacy and that provide academic, after-school and social service support to the county’s families.

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