HARRISBURG (October 20, 2020) – Today, the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools (PCPCS) held public events in Philadelphia and Allentown to discuss how a federal grant awarded to PCPCS will be leveraged to expand school choice options for Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable students.
The Expanding Opportunities Through Quality Charter School Programs Grant (commonly referred to as a CSP Grant) was awarded to PCPCS earlier this month and will total $30 million over a grant period of five years (2021-25).
Lenny McAllister, who was named the new leader of PCPCS last week, described how the CSP grant funds will be used during a public event outside Freire Charter School in Philadelphia this morning.
“This grant will allow PCPCS to facilitate the development, expansion and replication of high-quality public brick-and-mortar charter schools throughout the Keystone State,” said McAllister. “This grant will encourage innovation that works, providing academic avenues that benefit today’s students for tomorrow’s challenges.”
Innovation has always been at the root of everything Pennsylvania’s public charter schools endeavor and this focus has positioned schools, like Freire’s network of schools in Philadelphia, to be beacons of hope for the communities and students they serve.
“Philadelphia is home to the majority of our state’s brick-and-mortar public charter schools because families in our city have demanded better K-12 options for their children,” said Dr. Kelly Davenport, CEO and Freire Schools Network Founder. “High quality charters have answered the call for better public schools, but school choice remains out of reach for the 40,000 students on charter school waitlists in Philadelphia. This gap needs to be addressed. Charter schools are and should remain a vibrant part of the city’s quality public school options for kids and families.”
The funds awarded through the CSP grant will provide Pennsylvania’s public charter schools an opportunity to provide a better future for the traditionally marginalized students they serve, such as the students at Executive Education Academy Charter School (EEACS) in Allentown, where McAllister spoke this afternoon. At EEACS the student population is 73% Latino, 18% African American, 7% white and 2% other descent, and approximately 10% of their students require special education services and 5% have limited English proficiency.
“Allentown has a robust public charter school community and Executive Education Academy is proud to be part of the great work being done by charter schools in our area,” said Bob Lysek, CEO and Founder of EEACS. “Without public charter schools, thousands of families in our area and more than 143,000 families across the Commonwealth would be trapped in schools that don’t meet their unique needs and are assigned to them based solely on their home address. Families enjoy choices in every other aspect of their lives – education should be no exception.”
McAllister added: “Because of public charter schools in communities in Philadelphia, Allentown and throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, students have a chance to chase their dreams and see a better way of life for themselves and their families. When those students have a chance to brighten their horizons, Pennsylvania has a chance to brighten our collective future as well.”
About PCPCS: The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools (PCPCS) is the state’s largest and most active organization advocating for both brick-and-mortar and cyber charter schools. Pennsylvania’s 180 charter schools educate more than 140,000 students, and demand for these public schools continues to grow, with more than 40,000 students on charter school waitlists. For more information on PCPCS or charters schools, visit www.pacharters.org.