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Pocono Mountain SD hosts Governor Wolf's press conference on charter school law reform

Pocono Mountain School District hosted a press conference for Governor Tom Wolf on August 13, in the PM West High School library where the Governor announced his new initiative to make changes to the charter school law.


Recognizing Pennsylvania’s flawed and outdated charter school law is one of the worst in the nation, Governor Wolf is taking executive action, overhauling regulations, and will propose legislation to comprehensively reform the law. The governor outlined his vision that will strengthen charter school quality, accountability and transparency to control costs and improve outcomes for students.


“Pennsylvania’s charter school law is unfair for students, parents, school districts, and taxpayers,” said Governor Wolf. “While many charter schools are succeeding, others, especially some cyber charter schools, are underperforming and we are not doing enough to hold them accountable to the taxpaying public and the children they serve.


“Today I’m announcing comprehen-sive charter school reform through executive action, regulation, and legislation. These changes will level the playing field for all taxpayer-funded public schools, strengthen the accountability and transparency of charter and cyber charter schools, and better serve all students.”


Brick-and-mortar charter and cyber charter schools, and for-profit companies that manage many of them, are not held to the same ethical and transparency standards of traditional public schools. Despite the rising costs of charter schools to school districts and property taxpayers, school districts and state government have limited authority to hold charter schools accountable.


“We need school choice to become a fair and level playing field where all publically funded schools follow the same rules when it comes to educating our students and proving financial oversight and transparency of how taxpayer dollars are spent,” said Dr. Elizabeth Robison, Superintendent of Schools.  “Charter and Cyber Schools should have nothing to fear from sharing the same increased accountability and transparency that is expected and demanded of traditional public schools.”


The poor academic performance of some charter schools is also a concern.


A recent report from Stanford University found overwhelmingly negative results from Pennsylvania’s cyber schools and called for the commonwealth to take urgent action.


Governor Wolf’s proposal promotes innovation and choice, while ensuring that charter schools are providing a high-quality education and meeting the same standards Pennsylvanians expect from traditional public schools.


“We owe it to the children who are attending Charter Schools and Cyber Charter Schools to ensure thei parents are being given a high-quality choice, not just a choice,” said Dr. Robison.


(Compiled from an article on Governor Wolf’s website and local sources)


Link to Governor Wolf’s Comprehensive Charter Reform Package