The author of the July 8 Op-Ed “ The hijacking of the charter school movement” is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts. The following is a sampling of the erroneous and misleading information in his article:
1. There are mechanisms for closing ineffective charter schools, and several are closed every year.
2. The Department of Education has no authority to override district decisions relative to the charters authorized by the districts.
3. Money for charter schools comes from the “hosting” districts because taxpaying parents from those districts have decided the needs of their children aren’t being met in district schools.
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4. Because charter schools are public schools, subject to capacity, charter schools must accept every child who requests to be enrolled. “Cherry-picking” students is illegal.
5. The special education figures he used overstate what charters receive for special education expenses by $177 million and underreport actual expenses.
6. The charter school pension “double-dip” reimbursement will be eliminated in the new state budget. District schools, however, will continue to receive that state reimbursement.
7. Using average statewide performance statistics is grossly misleading. When you look at the performance of brick-and-mortar charter schools relative to the district schools from which they draw students — primarily in urban areas — charter schools, in fact, significantly outperform their traditional school counterparts.
8. In every session of the legislature, charters have supported legislation to increase charter school accountability and transparency and strengthen authorization and oversight.
The writer is executive director of Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools