Jay-Z's Roc Nation to drum up support for private school vouchers in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA — (AP) — Jay-Z is putting his weight behind an effort to fund private school vouchers in Philadelphia.

The entertainment mogul's Roc Nation announced it is funding a campaign this month to drum up support for the Pennsylvania Award for Student Success, a statewide legislative proposal to spend taxpayer money on private school scholarships for low-income families in neighborhoods with low-achieving schools.

“We have enjoyed such a special connection with Philadelphians, so we’ve made it our mission to invest in the long-term success of the city’s changemakers,” Roc Nation Managing Director of Philanthropy Dania Diaz said in a news release last week.

Jay-Z has developed close ties to Philadelphia through Roc Nation’s annual Made In America festival and involvement in the REFORM Alliance, which advocates for criminal justice reform.

Vouchers are controversial in a lot of states — including Pennsylvania, where Republicans promote them as a way to help students escape underperforming schools, and teachers unions, school boards and many Democrats oppose sending taxpayer money to private and religious schools.

Jay-Z's support of the voucher bill drew pushback online. The AFT Pennsylvania teachers union said on the social platform X: "This ain't it," over a photo of Jay-Z and Jeffrey Yass, a billionaire who is the biggest donor to Republican campaigns in Pennsylvania. Yass's top issue in the state is school choice.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, a first-term Democrat, supported a Republican-backed proposal last year to send $100 million to families for private school tuition and school supplies. Shapiro later backed down in the face of House Democratic opposition.

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