Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Opinion: Why CREDO Shows Poor Results for PA

A friend who’s familiar with charters in PA shared the following with me after I asked him about why the CREDO study showed such poor results in that state:

While I hadn’t seen the study yet, looking at it now this result is completely predictable. Pennsylvania’s approach to authorizing has been antithetical to producing good results for kids – local districts are the authorizer here and have vacillated between having virtually no bar – for quality, for financial acumen, for anything – in the early years, to using the district’s financial health as the determining factor in more recent years. 

In Philadelphia that leads to no new charters being authorized since 2008 (with no appeal process since Philadelphia is in a state takeover) and charters wishing to expand their grade spans one grade at a time being forced to ask for permission anew on an annual basis. In Pittsburgh every new charter is denied on bogus grounds, but at least they can appeal, so usually after a protracted and highly political process, they win on appeal. 

Here in PA we do not have a structure that fosters the creation and expansion of high-quality schools.  We have the opposite – little to no accountability, and little to no ability for high-performers to expand. 

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