Charter school reform
Gov. Tom Wolf acts to ensure charter schools better serve students and taxpayers. Read more, here:
“Pennsylvania’s charter school law is one of the worst in the country and is failing students, teachers, school districts and taxpayers,” Wolf said in a prepared statement. “We cannot wait any longer to take action. Improving transparency and holding underperforming charter and cyber charter schools accountable will level the playing field with school districts and help to control costs for taxpayers.”
The plan is supported by Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials, Research for Action, American Federation of Teachers Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators, Pennsylvania School Boards Association, Education Voters of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State Education Association, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale and more.
- Introduces comprehensive charter school reform on Aug. 13, 2019 through executive action, regulation and legislation.
- Proposal supports innovation and choice, while "ensuring that charter schools are providing a high-quality education and meeting the same standards Pennsylvanians expect from traditional public schools."
- Brick-and-mortar charter and cyber charter schools, and for-profit companies that manage many of them, are not held to the same ethical and transparency standards of traditional public schools.
- Despite the rising costs of charter schools to school districts and property taxpayers, school districts and state government have limited authority to hold charter schools accountable.
- Poor academic performance of some charter schools is also a concern. A recent report from Stanford University found "overwhelmingly negative results" from Pennsylvania’s cyber schools and called for the commonwealth to take urgent action.
- The state Department of Education is developing new regulations for charter schools:
- Allowing school districts to limit student enrollment at charters that do not provide a high-quality, equitable education to students.
- Requiring more transparency with charter school admission and enrollment policies to prevent discrimination.
- Holding charter schools and the for-profit management companies to the same transparency standards as public schools.
- Establishing the same ethical standards for charter school Board of Trustees and management companies that apply to public schools.
- Requiring regular financial audits and public contract bidding.
- Establishing requirements for charters to document costs to prevent school districts and taxpayers from being overcharged.