This week, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children testified at a hearing hosted by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale and state lawmakers about charter school reforms that PPC believes are necessary to improve educational opportunities for the commonwealth’s children. Nearly 120,000 children attend charter and cyber charter schools in the commonwealth, and PPC believes these children - as well as those attending traditional district-operated schools - deserve the opportunity to receive a high-quality public education that prepares them to transition to postsecondary education, the workforce or the military without the need for remediation.
To accomplish that goal, there are important reforms to the charter school law that need to be made in 2014. PPC’s testimony outlined three of the most important reforms that we believe policymakers should prioritize to ensure accountability and provide better charter school opportunities:
- Establish a fair state policy for charter and cyber charter school enrollments – All children deserve the opportunity to attend high-quality public schools, and charter schools play an important role in that opportunity. Unfortunately, children and families in some communities face unnecessary barriers in charter school enrollment and admission practices.
- Implement a common performance matrix for charter and cyber charter schools for annual oversight and renewal or revocation decisions – A performance matrix will provide charter school authorizers the information they need to oversee and evaluate charter school performance and make renewal and revocation decisions.
- Recognize and reward high-performing charter and cyber charter schools – high-performing charter schools should be rewarded with longer renewal periods than underperforming charters and should be able to expand or open new charters with an abbreviated approval process.
These common-sense changes to Pennsylvania’s charter school laws can help us ensure every child in our public education system benefits from a quality education, no matter what type of public school they attend.
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