Gov. Wolf Pushes to Reform PA Charter Schools
Governor Tom Wolf is taking executive action to reform Pennsylvania’s charter school law. He’s calling the current regulations flawed and outdated. Governor Wolf says between charter schools not being held to the same standards as traditional schools, and poor academic performance at charter schools, reform is needed.
“I want Pennsylvania to be known for having a good charter school law. One that emphasizes quality and accountability, transparency, fairness, and fiscal responsibility,” Governor Wolf says.
The Governor says brick-and-mortar charter schools, cyber charter schools, and the companies that manage them are not held to the same ethical or transparency standards as public schools. The cost of charter schools to school districts continue to rise as well.
The Governor is calling on the state’s Department of Education to come up with new standards. His goal is to ensure access to quality education for all students by limiting enrollment at charter schools that are performing poorly and requiring transparency for charter school admission processes. The Governor also wants to hold all school leadership accountable by holding them to the same operating standards as traditional schools. Governor Wolf also called on the Department of Education to promise fair and predictable funding for all public schools, and provide accountability on behalf of all taxpayers. He says these changes will put everyone on an equal playing field.
“It’s time to work on our charter school system. Reforming our charter law is good for every child, every family, every taxpayer in Pennsylvania,” says Governor Wolf.
Governor Wolf has also proposed Charter School Reform Legislation. One proposal would establish performance standards that hold charter schools accountable for student educational outcomes. Another proposal would cap enrollment in low performance cyber charter schools until they improve. The Governor also proposed to require charter schools to be subject to the Right to Know Act and State Ethics Act. He also wants to see fair, predictable, and equitable funding for all school districts. Finally, the Governor proposed establishing a charter school funding commission that would make recommendations on charter school funding reforms. Education Secretary Pedro Rivera says everyone can get behind the Governor’s proposals.
“They honor the intent of the original charter school law, they build on the bipartisan successes we’ve seen over the past five years, and they can make a meaningful difference in the lives of kids,” Rivera says.
There are 155 brick and mortar charter schools, 15 cyber charter schools, and 10 regional charter schools across Pennsylvania.