By Mike DeNardo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Philadelphia nonprofit says Pennsylvania charter schools would be better off if they were overseen by more than local school boards.
Right now in Pennsylvania, school districts approve applications for new charter schools. The
Pennsylvania Campaign for Achievement Now, an education reform group, says if there were multiple charter authorizers, performance would improve.
“The first thing you need to be, to be a good authorizer is you have to want to oversee charter schools,” PennCAN’s executive director Jonathan Cetel said. “There’s a lot of evidence that local school boards just don’t want to be in the business of doing this.”
The state senate is considering a bill that would allow universities to issue charters. Cetel says a committed authorizer is more likely to close low-performing charters and scale-up good ones.
“Ultimately, and this is something that Philadelphia has struggled with – they’re closing low-performing schools. So if over time, if you close your bad ones and you scale up your good ones, you’re going to lead to a much higher-performing portfolio of schools.”