Lancaster Online by Robert Gleason and Eugene DePasquale, August 4, 2022
Every state budget includes negotiated agreements on a variety of policy issues. Yet, despite bipartisan calls for comprehensive charter school reform, once again the Pennsylvania General Assembly has put this year’s budget to bed without any significant reforms to the charter school law — which is widely recognized as one of the worst in the country.
As longtime public servants representing both major political parties, and as concerned citizens who care about public education in the commonwealth, we are writing to express our great disappointment and frustration with the continued inaction by our state Legislature, despite broad-based, statewide, bipartisan support for charter school reform.
The fact that more than 85% of locally elected school boards (434 of 500), in a state as diverse as ours, have passed formal resolutions calling for a substantive charter school law overhaul should send a clear message to policymakers. It’s time for reform!
While we both recognize that choice has a place in our education system, we believe it is incumbent upon our elected leaders to ensure that the choices made available are high-quality, transparent and accountable. Educational choices must also be designed to ensure the responsible use of taxpayer dollars. All these factors need to be addressed in the current charter school law.
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