HARRISBURG – Yesterday, Governor Wolf announced the creation of a Charter Division within the Pennsylvania Department of Education to increase oversight for charter schools. Below is a statement from Jonathan Cetel, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Campaign for Achievement Now (PennCAN) on the Governor’s action:
“Today the Governor and the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) took a step in the right direction in announcing the formation of a Charter Division within PDE to provide specialized support and oversight of both brick-and-mortar and cyber charter schools.
Although local school boards have the primary responsibility for monitoring brick-and-mortar charter schools, it has become increasingly evident that the state needs to increase accountability for all public schools. As for cyber charter schools, an increase in PDE’s capacity to provide the kind of academic, fiscal, and governance oversight necessary to be an effective authorizer is long overdue.
Though the creating of PDE’s Charter Division has the potential to be a positive step, charter advocates are rightfully skeptical of this change since Governor Wolf has a proven track record of instituting policies that undercut and shortchange charter schools. We remain cautiously optimistic that the Wolf Administration will remember that there are tens of thousands of parents on charter school waiting lists and numerous studies have proven that they are outperforming traditional public schools.”
PennCAN: Launched in May 2012, PennCAN: The Pennsylvania Campaign for Achievement Now, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit education reform advocacy organization building a movement of Pennsylvanians with the political will to enact smart public policies so that every Pennsylvania child has access to a great public school.