2012 Year In Review
January 04, 2013
Major Events of 2012
Over one hundred charter school students, teachers, parents, and advocates from across the state met in Harrisburg despite the threat of rain and lightning. Various legislators along with Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley addressed the crowd and pledged their support for charter schools.
July 1 | PA Senate Fails to Pass Charter School Law
The month of July brought serious disappointment to the charter school community. After weeks of debate and years of work, the PA Senate failed to pass SB 1115 which passed the House with comprehensive charter reform amendments. The Senate leadership was unable to bring the bill to a vote and maintains the status quo that continues to impede the development of high quality charter schools.
May & June | PCPCS Receives Grants Totaling Over $1.4 Million
In May and June, the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools received a $1.14 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation and a $300,000 grant from The Heinz Endowments. Both grants were made with the goal of expanding efforts to drive quality and accountability in Pennsylvania charter schools. The three-year grant from the Walton Family Foundation is the largest private investment in PCPCS to date.
Sept. 24 | Charter School Rally For Reform
Hundreds of children and parents from 10 charter and cyber charter schools converged on Harrisburg in late September to rally in support of charter schools. The rally was designed to encourage PA legislators to pass SB 1115, containing comprehensive charter reform. Senate Education Committee Chairman Jeffrey Piccola (R-Dauphin County) and Rep. Tom Killion (R-Chester) voiced strong support for the children rallying on the steps of the Capitol.
Oct. 7-9 | Pennsylvania Charter School Annual Conference
More than 350 charter school teachers and administrators gathered at the Lancaster Marriott for the annual charter school conference. The conference was organized into three days by three topics: policy and governance, ideas and best practices, and practical matters. Dr. Howard Fuller, the founder of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, delivered the Evening Keynote and Senator Jeffrey Piccola was presented with the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award. Other speakers included Nina Rees (CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools), Ron Tomalis (Secretary of Education), and Jim Cawley (Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania). The conference was a great success and planning is under way for the 2013 conference to be held on Nov. 1-3.
Oct. 18 | PA House of Representatives Fails to Pass Charter School Bill
In mid-October, the PA House of Representatives failed to bring SB 1115 to a vote, thus bowing to special interest groups over the well-being of the children of Pennsylvania. SB 1115 would have created a state authorization board for new charter schools and the possibility to convert a traditional public school into a charter if 50% of parents and teachers sign a petition. In addition, a ‘charter school funding entities committee’ would be convened to further study the charter school funding formula. October 18 was a sad day for the parents and children of Pennsylvania and rejected three years of work by passionate people dedicated to crafting legislation that increases accountability for charter schools.
2012 Headline Roundup
2012 By The Numbers
13 New Charter Schools in 2012-13
14% Increase in Charter School Enrollment in 2012
50% Charter Schools Made AYP (2012)
44,041 Number of PA Children on Charter School Waiting Lists in 2012
100 Schools in PA that Had a Waiting List in 2012
24% Percentage of Students in Philadelphia Enrolled in a Charter School in 2012
85% Students in Philadelphia Charter Schools that are College Bound in 2012*Source: Pennsylvania Department of Education