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Mon Oct 22, 2012, 03:24 PM

Corbett Failing in Efforts to Remove Local Oversight of Charter Schools

The word "reform" can be used to hide many things. Gov. Corbett tried to push a charter school reform law through the Legislature, before he was stopped by members of his own party. What is needed is more oversight of charter school finances and to level the playing field and make charter schools follow some of the same requirements as public schools. Instead, this reform school would have removed the little bit of oversight that school boards have over charter schools, and would have exempted charter school managers from the State Right to Know Law.



"The drive to diminish local control in Pennsylvania was halted when Republicans backed away from Governor Corbett’s charter “reform” legislation. The bill would have allowed the Governor and the State Education Department to override local school boards and open charters where the local board rejected them. This is a priority for Governor Tom Corbett and for ALEC, which values privatization over local control.

Apparently, some Republicans had trouble following the attack on public schools and local school boards, which are important and traditional institutions in the communities they represent. The bill would have also allowed charter operators to escape accountability and transparency in their expenditure of public funds."

There are many great charter schools. However, others have attracted people interested in 'get rich quick schemes.' Even when a charter school clearly and repeatedly violates multiple state regulations, it is almost impossible to close them down. The tax money keeps flowing to them, regardless of whether they actually are employing teachers or have a building.


Excerpt of link. Whole piece is highly recommended:

"With such dismal results, investors really ought to be asking why Gov. Corbett’s administration keeps approving new charter school applications. Cyber charters in particular are charging taxpayers far more per student than it actually costs to educate them – to the tune of one million dollars per day sucked from our public coffers into the pockets of charter school operators. (See “One Million Per Day”) Pennsylvania already has 16 cyber charter schools – including four approved just this past summer – giving us one of the highest concentrations in the country. Yet the Department of Education just scheduled hearings on eight new cyber charter school applications. [Post-Gazette, 10-22-12]

Gary Miron, an education professor at Western Michigan University who studies charter schools, told the Post-Gazette, “Pennsylvania, as far as I know, has the most lucrative funding for virtual schools. It’s very favorable. It doesn’t surprise me more companies and entities want to come there for virtual schooling.” [Post-Gazette, 10-22-12]"

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