The statement below is given by Lenny McAllister, CEO of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, a non-profit organization focused on providing high-quality options for Pennsylvania families within K-12 public education.
“Once again, the Wolf Administration is eschewing good governance for the allure of bad politics – this time with thousands of disadvantaged public charter school students across the Commonwealth put at risk. Forcing regulations that tacitly hamper a segment of public education that is expanding at a time when Pennsylvania families demand expanded options for their children ignores an undeniable message during this pandemic. In fact, over the past decades, Pennsylvania parents have demanded and sought school choice, as shown through steadily increasing enrollment totals within public charter schools in the Keystone State.
“Reforms that improve public education and empower Pennsylvania parents both in district schools and public charter schools must involve the 253 members of the General Assembly that are directly entrusted by the voters to do this necessary work. In fact, this proposal seeks approval during the twilight of the governor’s time in office, a move that belies the 2022 election when a new governor will be elected and 90% of the seats in the General Assembly could be filled with new legislators.
“Further, these regulations have been drafted and sent forth through a process that did not even include the direct input of the charter school community that would be impacted by these proposals.
“This proposal by the Administration will both harm students that need support the most and waste taxpayer money.
“Pushing for regulations that establishes a minimum standard for application requirements without policies that guard against punitive requirements that contravene the spirit of the charter school law is not good policy. In fact, its failure of consistency of balance and fairness resonates the same attitude that led to the governor’s unprecedented and questionable dismissal of the Charter Appeals Board.
“Unilaterally impacting a complex issue that has confounded Harrisburg for years without the talents and perspectives of 253 elected leaders as the voice of the people is not a good faith effort for reforms that empower parents. In fact, its failure to engage the legislative process deepens the political divides and minutia that usually leave the overlooked and underserved across Pennsylvania – the very students that seek refuge within the charter school community – perpetually downtrodden.
“All public school students – children at district schools and charter schools – deserve college preparedness, which is why the Coalition is pushing for dual enrollment to become law this fall. All public school students deserve collaboration within the K-12 system to provide them with robust academic resources, which is why we support policy that opens doors so that no endeavor is impossible for our schoolchildren to pursue. We should be opening pathways within public education, not restricting options through stifling regulations.
“The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools asks the Wolf Administration to discontinue any approach that cuts out the people’s voice – the Pennsylvania General Assembly – in the process of seeking, negotiating, and securing charter school policies that empower Pennsylvania families and their children for academic success and long-term prosperity as Keystone State workers, employers, and contributors.”
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 has over 175 charter schools that educated over 169,000 students during the 2020-2021 school year, with thousands more on wait lists across the Keystone State looking forward to future enrollment. For more information on PCPCS or charters schools, visit www.pacharters.org.