Gutting Charter Schools Is Wolf’s Plan
By Nathan Benefield
Gov. Tom Wolf, Aug. 13, unveiled a “reform” plan that has the potential to drastically reduce the ability of Pennsylvania families to send their kids to charter schools. He’s telling the students, families, teachers, and administrators of charter schools that they don’t matter.
Ironically, he is constructing this wall to prevent students from leaving their current school for a better opportunity on the anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall.
But we aren’t fooled. This overhaul, some of which he is planning to implement via executive action, would cut funding for charters, cap enrollment, and place a moratorium on new cyber charter schools, even as tens of thousands of students are on waiting lists for charter schools across the state. In short, it would deny families the schooling options they seek.
Wolf’s charter strategy, along with his June veto of tax credit scholarship expansion legislation, makes it clear his administration is treating the 350,000 students in charter and private schools like second class citizens. Because of that mindset he is unafraid of treating them with a dubious double standard.
For underperforming district-run schools, his solutions are to move away from standardized testing, water down tests, and increase funding. But for charter schools, Gov. Wolf proposes funding cuts and halting growth through the heavy hand of the law, regardless of performance or what families desire.
The governor’s motivation is clear: He wants to appease teachers’ union leaders. Unlike most charters and private schools, district schools are unionized. Under contracts with the AFT and NEA/PSEA, school districts collect campaign contributions for teachers’ union PACs. Since 2013, Wolf received $4 million from teachers’ unions.
This is a politically shrewd announcement from our governor, but disastrous for families and children.
Pennsylvania’s families deserve better. That’s why we won’t stop fighting until every child can attend the best school possible, no matter what Gov. Wolf’s campaign donors prefer.
Mr. Benefield is vice president and chief operating officer of Commonwealth Foundation.
2 thoughts on “Gutting Charter Schools Is Wolf’s Plan”
Cyber schools work very well. If you want to home-school your child(ren), I recommend them. With all the crap kids are learning in school, I mean other than the curriculum, it may be the best to take them out of public school altogether, if you can.
All Wolf wants to do is run this state even further into the ground.
Today’s (Aug 14) Wall Street Journal notes that in North Carolina statewide enrollment in traditional public schools has declined four years in a row. Less than 80 percent of K-12 students now attend district schools. More than 110,000 are enrolled in charters and 100,000 in private schools. More than 140,000 are being home-schooled. https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-smear-campaign-against-charters-11565737066?fbclid=IwAR3bc6feZc7Ilnfr6m3JBa0Hz1MkFjhMpYA-T6bOlw-hbVkjdqWvmC283hY
It should be obvious that if public schools were satisfactory, parents would not use charter schools.