Businessman and governor candidate Tom Wolf released his plan to reform charter schools in Pennsylvania.
Wolf plans to amend the funding formula in a way that is equitable to public schools and charter schools, eliminate pension double dipping, increase academic and financial oversight, and forbid the use of taxpayer money on lobbying. His policy also includes a $1 billion increase to public school funding to restore Pennsylvania to federal stimulus level funding.
“Too many of Pennsylvania’s charter schools are failing students and making it more difficult for students in public schools to get a strong education,” Tom Wolf said. “Too many charter schools – especially our cyber charter schools – are underperforming and failing to provide our children with a high quality education. I will reform policies and strengthen oversight and accountability of the charter school sector while leveraging the effective, innovative teaching tools being developed in our high performing charter schools.”
Charter schools are no stranger to controversy. Just 43 charter schools, and no cyber charter schools, met federally mandated performance requirements during the 2011-2012 school year. Most recently, the founder of Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School was accused of stealing $1 million dollars from taxpayers.
The state senate is already addressing the issue of charter school reform with SB 1085, which would address authorization and oversight of charter schools.
This plan comes in addition to a general education plan that he released earlier. Other governor candidates are addressing education too. Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz’s policy includes universal pre-k, restore education funding and alter the funding formula for public schools. Former DEP Secretary Katie McGinty’s plan is a multi-step map for increasing state education funding.
Fellow former DEP Secretary John Hanger released an education plan yesterday that, like Wolf’s, focuses on transparency and accountability for charter schools. His policy also includes state increases to education funding levels and transferring control of public schools from the state back to local school boards. It also addresses the treatment of teachers changes to state standardized tests.
Other candidates for governor include State Treasurer Rob McCord, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, Pastor Max Myers and Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz.