PCPCS applauds Governor Corbett for remembering “It’s All About The Children” with public education reform agenda.
October 11, 2011
The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools applauds Governor Tom Corbett for addressing the Commonwealth’s need for public education reform. The Governor has made it clear that providing Pennsylvania K-12 students with public school choice is one of his top priorities.
The reforms supported by Governor Corbett, which reflect companion bills in the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives are a tremendous step in the right direction in terms of charter school law. Those bills will codify transparency, consistency and accountability from charter schools, and establish provisions to help high quality charters grow and develop.
“Governor Corbett’s plan addresses many of the gaps and issues that exist under current law, and would give charter schools more freedom and ability to serve Pennsylvania families’ growing demand for public school choice,” said Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools (PCPCS) President Lawrence Jones. Jr. “More than 30,000 families remain on charter school waiting lists throughout the Commonwealth, seeking what they believe to be the best public education option for their children. The Governor’s education agenda in regards to public charter schools sends a clear message education must be all about the children.”
The key points of Governor’s education agenda and legislation that sits in the State Legislature concerning charter schools include:
- Encourages Choice: By adding multiple charter authorizers, this legislation would remove many of the political and legal conflicts that arise from the current authorizing structure—the individual school districts having sole authorization and discretionary power over charter schools. Parents would have more choices and thousands of taxpayer dollars that are currently being spent on legal actions can be re-directed to educating the children.
- Demands Accountability and Transparency: The proposed legislation requires all charter school board members and employees conduct themselves in accordance with the state Ethics Act and charges a newly formed independent commission with the responsibility of authorization and oversight of all charter and cyber charter schools,
- Awards Achievement: Under current law, charters are renewed in five year intervals; however, under the proposed plan, charters would be up for renewal every 10 years. This rewards successful charter schools, by increasing their stability, giving both the community and financial institutions an assurance of permanence.
- Creates Consistency: The independent commission created under this plan would help standardize all charter application, renewal and reporting processes throughout the state. Furthermore, under the proposed education reform, charter schools would be treated the same as school districts for the purposes of accessing Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under the No Child Left Behind Act.
- Institutes Other Common Sense Reforms: The companion bills also permit a single “charter school administrative unit” to operate multiple charters, enables charters to apply for charter amendments and makes it easier for charters to use vacant school district buildings.
“The Governor’s education agenda supports public school choice,” said Jones. “By adding multiple charter authorizers, these reforms will remove many of the roadblocks that arise from the current authorizing structure, where the individual school districts having sole authorization and discretionary power over charter schools. Under the plan, more charters would likely be approved, giving families more schools to choose from and enabling more students to attend charter schools.”
To learn more about this proposed legislation or how you can help, visit the wwwChildrenPA.com.