Friday, October 18, 2013

Charter News

The New York Times weighs in on the discussion going on during their mayoral race over charter schools.   They seem to lean towards them as good but they seem to have a negative for every positive.  The key seems to be oversight and accountability.  Not enough to make sure that the poor-performing ones are shut down quickly.  (And I recommend reading the comments - they do not lean towards charters.)

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that Moody's says charter schools are hurting urban public districts. 

Philadelphia is one of several urban public school districts where the rise of charter schools poses a threat to district finances, according to Moody’s, the credit rating agency. In 2003, the Philadelphia district spent 7.9 percent of its general fund on charters. By fiscal 2012, the schools ate up 23.7 percent of the fund.

“While the vast majority of traditional public districts are managing through the rise of charter schools without a negative credit impact, a small but growing number face financial stress due to the movement of students to charters,” a team of analysts write in a new Moody’s report.

Three factors are at play: demographic and financial shifts, difficulty adapting and state policies.
In Pennsylvania, they are overhauling their charter law...to get more accountability.

“This was a very good piece of legislation,” said House Education Committee Chairman Paul Clymer, R-145, West Rockhill, who believes that comprehensive charter school reform is long overdue. He touted the bill’s ethical components, such as prohibiting charter school administrators from sitting on school boards and making it illegal for charter school board members to be compensated.

“It is a necessary piece of legislation that reinforces and, in some cases, inserts accountability, ethics, integrity and performance measures into a system hit hard by recent scandal and subsequent federal indictments,” Emrick said.

The bill cleared the House floor Wednesday on a 133-62 vote, barely a month after a federal grand jury indicted Midland-based Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School founder Nick Trombetta on 11 tax and fraud charges. Trombetta, who has pleaded not guilty, faces up to 100 years in prison for allegedly scheming to steal $1 million and hide $8 million from the Internal Revenue Service.

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