Insufficient Oversight of Charter Schools in Pennsylvania

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In preparation for the back-to-school craze that will soon hit all American school children, let's have some fun by talking about schools — specifically, public schools and charter schools! 

Charter schools are public schools, but an article by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Eleanor Chute illustrates the exemptions provided to charter schools (and not public schools) under the state's Charter School Law. 

Charter schools are able to follow a different set of rules than public schools, ranging from the length of the school year to bidding requirements for supplies.

Charter schools are exempt from using student performance to evaluate teacher performance, a requirement for public schools. The Post-Gazette article also examines the complexities of charter schools, including funding (students do not pay tuition but home school districts cover the cost of attendance) and regulations (school districts provide oversight for brick-and-mortar charter schools and the state provides oversight for cyber charter schools).

The article also highlights the findings of a recent report from Auditor General Jack Wagner on charter school funding:

In a report on charter school funding, state Auditor General Jack Wagner argued that funding should be based more on costs. He said cyber charter schools in particular receive too much money for what it costs to operate them...

Mr. Wagner said there is more state oversight over regular school districts than charter schools.

"There is insufficient oversight of charter schools in Pennsylvania," he said.


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