PCPCS Response to “Public schools step up fight to win back charter students”
February 13, 2017
Submitted to Philly.com on February 13, 2017
I read with great interest the February 12 philly.com article “Public schools step up fight to win back charter students”.
The district actions described are not only an improvement in education for children in Pennsylvania but also a feather in the cap for charter schools. Finally, some districts are asking why parents feel the need to move their children to charters, listening to the concerns of those parents, and changing to address those needs. Education in Pennsylvania is improving, partly because of the high-performing charter schools, but also because the success of those charters is driving some districts to re-think and change to better address the needs of parents and children.
Anyone who holds the welfare of the children at the apex of their priorities should be heartened by these actions. When children get a quality education everyday when they walk through the doors of their school, it shouldn’t matter whether those doors are to a district school or a charter.
But the disillusioning part is that the driving motivation for districts to change is not improving education, but rather saving money. If the districts had listened to the parents from the beginning, charters would not have doubled in the eight year span noted in the article – and continue to grow since then. The results may be good, but the motivation remains in question.
Pushing districts to be more creative, responsive, and innovative is a great thing, but so long as who gets the money is a greater motivator than what is best for the children, one of the underlying problems with public education remains unresolved.
Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools