Legislative Agenda: 2022 – 2023
We advance a highlight of policy and legislative goals. It is our hope that current legislators and our governor as well as prospective legislators and gubernatorial candidates are listening to the will of Pennsylvania parents and their schoolchildren as they continue to seek and engage new options for K-12 education. The three overarching goals of this Legislative agenda and their complementary aims can be found here.
PCPCS is pleased to provide a variety of our publications online and in one location for school leaders, teachers, families, charter school authorizers and school communities for critical decision-making purposes.
Let’s begin the lesson, shall we?
By Dr. Wendy Oliver, Dr. Rachel Book, and Charlie Thayer
At the onset of the pandemic, change was abrupt. Schools closed. Learning stopped. Fear prevailed. Districts scrambled. Children paid the price.
With nowhere else to go, many administrators turned to online learning to get students back on track. Exhausted teachers soldiered on but weren’t trained at all or nearly as much as they needed to be. Students, while not unfamiliar with an online environment, had no footing, no bearings. Parents were lost and struggled to support their children.
This, my friends, is what we call “remote 911.”
2020 YEAR IN REVIEW: 2020 was certainly a year that none of us will soon forget but, despite the challenges, PA’s public charter schools stepped up in a big way for their students and communities. The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools (PCPCS) team had our own fair share of challenges that 2020 threw at us but, with the support of our member schools, we finished the year strong and poised for success in 2021. We invite you to review the milestones and success PCPCS and the PA’s public charter school movement experienced in 2020, and share this document with your staff and families.
PCPCS Education Spending Guide for PA Budget 2020 This budget season, don’t be fooled by special interest groups blaming charter schools for their financial woes. Please use this guide to help uncover the lack of accountability for school districts that continue to push Governor Wolf to use public charter schools as scapegoats for their enrollment struggles. District officials and special interest groups want to take options away from Pennsylvania families who are benefiting from charter schools in an attempt to lure back funding.
Charter School Spending Comparison: Our friends at the Commonwealth Foundation provide a breakdown of district expenditures and the amount of funding actually going to educate student. Their analysis shows that only a fraction of district costs go towards educating kids. Of these costs, charter payments are a small part. Click here to see the breakdown.
Pennsylvania’s Public Charter Schools List of Annual Reports Pennsylvania’s Public Charter Schools are held to a higher level of accountability than all other Public Schools. As Local Education Agencies, they are held to the same state and federal mandates as all other public schools. In addition, Pennsylvania’s Public Charter Schools are accountable to:
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) which authorizes Cyber Charter Schools.
Their respective Charter Authorizer, either PDE or their local School District(s).
The individual parents and families who choose Public Charter Schools to help their children achieve their goals.
Unique Costs of Public Cyber Charter Schools Pennsylvania’s 15 Public Cyber Charter Schools provide a high quality, individualized education to over 34,000 students from 498 of Pennsylvania’s 500 School Districts. See a listing of the unique cost considerations of Pennsylvania’s Public Cyber Charter Schools.
Cybers in School Districts Pennsylvania’s 15 Public Cyber Charter Schools serve students from 498 of Pennsylvania’s 500 School Districts, see the breakdown here.
Pennsylvania Charter Schools Welcome Accountability! A financial FACT sheet about charter schools.
Pennsylvania Charter Schools by the Numbers: A breakdown of Pennsylvania Charter Schools by type, locale, and years of operation.
PCPCS Quality Standards Workbook: Across Pennsylvania and our nation, the education community has a difficult time quantifying what makes a high-quality public charter school. When looking only at test scores, some Pennsylvania charter schools (and traditional public schools) fail to achieve what is considered a passing grade on the state’s standardized tests and charter school adversaries use this poor performance on test scores as an opportunity to attack the broader charter sector. At PCPCS, we have decided that it is time to formally define a “high-quality public charter school” by going beyond just test scores by creating a workbook that we believe can assist charter schools to prepare for renewal, during periods of transition, or any other time of self-reflection.
Pennsylvania’s Charter Schools: Doing More With Less: Did you know, some K-12 students in Pennsylvania receive less funding to support their education than their peers? Despite receiving less funding per student, charter schools are providing taxpayers a bigger bang for their buck than their district counterparts. Click here to read how charter schools are providing taxpayers a bigger bang for their buck than their district counterparts.
Cyber Charter School’s CTE Programs: PA’s Public Cyber Charter Schools provide public school students with real world work place and career engagement opportunities that are not limited by zip code or traditional Monday-Friday; 8-3 schedules.
NEW! Pennsylvania’s Public Cyber Charter Schools & Special Education: On Average, 21.8% of PA’s Public Cyber Charter School Student enrollment is comprised of students who receive special education supports to meet their academic goals vs only 16.9% for all other public schools.
Cyber Charter Schools: The FACTS You Need to Know: Since the passage of Charter School Law in 1997, both brick and mortar and Cyber Charter Schools have been at the forefront of educationally innovation programs improving academic outcomes for all students across Pennsylvania. Through continuous research and refinement, pilot programs, and partnerships with local school districts; charter schools and Cyber Charter Schools continue to help shape the future of education throughout the Commonwealth leading Pennsylvania to become one of the best educational systems in the nation. You can read the full document and one pager here.
The Overwhelming Reason Parents are Choosing Charter Schools: Choosing a school is really a life-altering decision for families. It’s an investment in time today and much more for the future. By having the charter school option, parents in our state have been empowered to select the environment that works best for each child—because no single school, no matter how good or convenient, can meet the distinct needs of each and every young student in Pennsylvania. Click here to read The Overwhelming reason parents are choosing charter schools
Myths and Facts about Charter Schools: Despite the success of charter schools, or perhaps because of it, misconceptions abound about what charter schools are and what they do. Supporters of the educational status quo have propagated a number of myths about charter schools—myths that have sometimes proven hard to dispel in the popular press and with some members of the general public. Today, perhaps more than ever, it is critical that these myths be dispelled. Click here to read Myths vs Facts about Charter Schools.
PCPCS: Who we are: The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools (PCPCS) is the voice of public charter schools in the state of Pennsylvania – representing both brick-and-mortar and cyber schools throughout the Keystone State. We advocate for the rights of charter school students, parents, educators, and leaders! Click here to find out more about the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools.
2019 Year in Review: Click here to see all the 2019 highlights.
2018 Year In Review: Click here to look back on PCPCS’ 2018 Accomplishments.
NEW! Follow the Money: Are charter schools taking money from traditional public schools? To get to the truth, you need to follow the money! PCPCS created this video that shows how public education money works.
PCPCS Video Featuring Students, Teachers, Parents, and Charter Leaders: In celebration of charter schools and the impact they have on students and families, PCPCS and PA Virtual Charter School have created a short video that epitomizes why we all do the hard work of advocating and educating each and every day. The students are at the heart of everything we do. They are our inspiration and our greatest achievement. Despite the opposition, we know that our students, their successes, and their dreams are what continue to motivate us to pursue a unified voice for charters and choice.
Does School Choice Matter?: Watch this video that shows why school choice matters, featuring charter leaders from across PA!
Under the latest changes in the PDE’s truancy law, charter schools are now directed to file the truancy complaint directly with the district judge. However, school districts have been allowed to continue to deduct their expenses from the PDE 363, giving the charter schools the burden of responsibility without the funds associated with the costs. Click here to download our issue brief related to truancy issues and charter schools.
Dual enrollment, which allows high school students to enroll in and receive credit for college courses, is a nationally recognized opportunity for students of all academic abilities to achieve success not only in high school but at post-secondary institutions. By not permitting this option for Pennsylvania’s cyber school students, policy makers are denying them the ability to acquire college credits while in high school, experience the college classroom, save on post-secondary tuition, and accelerate their time to college graduation.Click here to read our issue brief on Dual Enrollment for Cyber Charter Students.
Current state guidance with regards to the transportation of students with disabilities from home to school and school to home is discriminatory and inconsistent with practices for regular education students in the state of Pennsylvania. Furthermore, the guidance issued on October 1, 2004 is costing taxpayers more money than necessary for the transportation of these public-school students. Click here to read our position on the transportation needs of student with disabilities.
School Tragedy Support
Please go here to find resources, research, organizations, etc. to support and help students, staff, and communities in the aftermath of a school tragedy. Document also contains mental health support resources. PCPCS staff are happy to provide further assistance.