The new report released this week on the impact of charter schools should be clarion call telling state legislators it is past time for a serious and honest reworking of the state’s charter school law. Originally designed as public schools free of many state regulations, the charter system has strayed too far from the idea’s best intentions. The new report, issued by the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee, spells out recurring problems and sensible solutions. For starters, the funding system for charter schools needs an overhaul, to assure that they are getting the money they need, but not money in excess. The analysis noted in particular that charter schools tend to get far more money for special education services than they report actually spending. Wither those tax dollars? The state must also pick up a bigger share of charter costs, particularly cyber charter schools, which are authorized by the state, not a local district, yet siphon local district money.
How PA Stacks up Against US: The committee looked to compare PA to its chartery brethren and sistern, so it looked across all forty-three states that allow charter schools. In particular, they noted some differences in charter laws.
Standard Speaker BY KENT JACKSON / PUBLISHED: MAY 29, 2017
Rob Cullen is a master’s student studying public policy at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College
Thomas Murray, Director of Innovation for Future Ready Schools, a project of the Alliance for Excellent Education
Kristen Swanson, Director of Learning at Slack and one of the founding members of the Edcamp movement
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