Wolf Attack On Popular Charter Schools By Nate Benefield
I watched, Sept. 16, as hundreds of charter school students flooded the Capitol and dozens of parents spoke out against Gov. Wolf’s attacks on charter school families. After they rallied in the Capitol rotunda, 1,700 letters were delivered to Gov. Wolf—letters from parents and students fearful of losing this critical educational opportunity.
The event was organized by our friends at the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools and comes at a desperate time. Gov. Wolf is taking unilateral executive action that would seriously threaten these public schools of choice as an educational option for parents.
In August, Gov. Tom Wolf proposed cutting funding for Pennsylvania charter schools, capping charter enrollment, and banning new cyber charter schools. Then, Gov. Wolf—without legislative authority—imposed new fees on charter schools.
At the rally, the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools again asked the governor to visit a charter school. While touting his “Schools that Teach Tour” since he entered office, nearly 5 years later, his tour has visited 167 schools across the state, but not a single one was a private or charter school.
Yet he seems to think he singularly knows best how their students should be treated.
By ignoring the 140,000 students attending public charter schools and 240,000 enrolled in private schools, Wolf is treating nearly 25 percent of Pennsylvania students as second-class citizens.
We need your help protecting educational opportunity for these kids. Legislation that would address charter school transparency and financial accountability has already passed the Pa. House, while legislation to create a commission on charter school funding has passed the Senate. These bills would address problems in the charter school law without taking educational opportunity away from students.
For reasons he alone knows, Gov. Wolf has chosen to ignore these legislative solutions and go his own way.
Commonwealth Foundation will continue our intellectual leadership on all types of educational opportunity, be it charter schools, tax credit scholarships, or public school funding. And we’ll keep sharing our message across the state via TV, radio, social media, and print.
Please reach out to your lawmakers to ask them to stand up for charter schools, and against Wolf’s unilateral action, by taking action on these positive steps.