Students, parents, teachers and administrators from Pennsylvania’s charter schools gather for an annual day of advocacy

Harrisburg — Today, 500+ charter school students, parents, educators and administrators gathered at the Capitol to share their charter school stories with lawmakers as part of National Charter School Week, hosted by the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools (PCPCS).

“Across the Commonwealth, charter schools educate nearly 138,000 students and thousands of additional students remain on charter school waitlists,” said Ana Meyers, Executive Director of PCPCS. “Today’s events were an opportunity to highlight the outstanding students, teachers and administrators in Pennsylvania charter schools.”

The full day of advocacy kicked off with an opportunity for lawmakers to experience a live math class from PA Virtual Charter School. During this event, members of the General Assembly were able to observe Cindy Willits and her 5th grade class during their hour-long virtual class.

“Cyber charter schools are delivering an innovative, high-quality education to thousands of students across Pennsylvania but most people have only ever experienced education in a traditional classroom setting,” said John Chandler, CEO of PA Virtual Charter School. “By exposing lawmakers to the unique educational opportunities that cyber charter schools offer, it is our hope that they will gain a better understanding of the important role that our schools play in Pennsylvania’s public school landscape.”

The advocacy day was capped off with a press conference in the Capitol Rotunda to celebrate the great work being done by Pennsylvania charter schools. Speakers also used the opportunity to call on the General Assembly and Governor Wolf to support the families who have chosen a charter school for their child. Participants in Wednesday’s press conference included:

  • Rep. Mike Reese
  • Rep. Jim Marshall
  • Rep. Jesse Topper
  • Sen. Mike Folmer
  • Ana Meyers, Executive Director of PCPCS
  • Ashley DeMauro Mullins, Excellence in Education
  • David Hardy, Executive Director of Excellent Schools PA
  • Steve Bloom, Vice President at the Commonwealth Foundation
  • Dr. Reese Flurie, CEO of Commonwealth Charter Academy
  • Lillian Graston, student at Esperanza Cyber Charter School
  • Eliot Herbert, student at Gillingham Charter School
  • Stephanie Hamel, parent of two students enrolled in PA Virtual Charter School

“Despite the extraordinary parent satisfaction and increasing demand for expansion, charter schools are under relentless attack from the traditional public education establishment,” said Meyers. “The students that joined us today at the Capitol have chosen a public charter school and are flourishing in these environments. They deserve the same consideration and respect that our lawmakers and Governor Wolf give their peers in traditional district schools”


Media Contact:
Jessica Hickernell
Director of Public Affairs & Policy