Saturday, July 15, 2017

Pennsylvania Charter Schools - The Morning Call

Pennsylvania Charter Schools - The Morning Call:
Pennsylvania Charter Schools 

My column Thursday pointed out some shortcomings of state House Bill 97, a purported charter school reform bill that has passed the House and the Senate in slightly different forms and now awaits House action to reconcile the differences.
As I wrote in the column, the bill has been heavily criticized by various statewide groups concerned with public education, because it doesn’t address some of the most serious problems with the state’s 20-year-old charter school law.
Among other things, reform groups want to change the funding formula so it reflects the actual cost of educating those students and want to make charter schools subject to the same financial, academic and ethic accountability standards that all public schools must follow.
One of the sources I looked at as I was writing the column was a report issued by state. Rep. James Roebuck, D-Philadelphia, Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee. It does a good job of laying out some of the problems with the current law and documenting the academic performances of charter and cyber charter schools.


Here’s an excerpt from the press release that accompanied release of the report.
“One highlight is an update on the performance of charter and cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania, including:
  • For 2015-16, based on a scale of 100, the average School Performance Profile, or SPP, score for traditional public schools was 70.3; for charter schools, 58.4; and for cyber charter schools, 50.9.
  • As was the case in 2012-13 and 2013-14, charter schools, particularly cyber charter schools, still performed academically worse than other traditional public schools. For the 2015-16 school year, 54 percent of traditional public schools had SPP scores at or above 70, while only 24 percent of brick-and-mortar charter schools had SPP scores at or above 70 in 2015-16.
  • Since the enactment of the charter school law in 1997, 38 charter and cyber charter schools have closed – with two more in process in Philadelphia -- or about 18 percent of all the charter and cyber charter schools opened in Pennsylvania.
If you’re interested in reading the entire report, you can find it here.
Pennsylvania Charter Schools - The Morning Call:

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