Virginia education tip line sees concerns from parents about district’s new charter school law
Karen K. Weber, mother of third-grader, Olivia Weber in the back of the bus during the Parent-Student Day that was part of the first day of school at D.W. Webb middle school in Philadelphia. The district is trying out its own “Charter Schools”
PENNSYLVANIA — By late December, parents and students had spent hours studying the Pennsylvania School Choice Act, and the results were not promising.
From the very beginning, the law was being tested in Philadelphia public schools, and some parents decided — rightly or wrongly — that the law would be better if it wasn’t as transparent as it is.
“It’s just confusing,” said one parent, who asked not to be named as she was concerned about her child’s education. “I don’t quite get what it does. I don’t really understand why we have to make all the choices.”
The law has become a lightning rod in the nation’s education policy debate. Parents, teachers, and even lawmakers have complained about how it was passed. The state Senate Education Committee is slated to vote on it today.
“There are a lot of questions about the law and the people who made it, and this is an important chance to learn more about the choices we make as a state,” said state Sen. Joe Scarnati, a school-choice advocate.
Schools are not required to adopt the law’s core provisions. But they must demonstrate they have done so if they want to move ahead with their charters.
On Thursday, the Philadelphia public school system announced a trial program that would offer one charter school, D.W. Webb Middle School, to more than 40 families at a time.
The district is trying out its own “charter schools” to see how they fare against the government’s preferred option — charter schools that are publicly funded but privately managed. It’s the largest charter school program in the nation and one of the largest in the country by number of schools.
The district has the option of expanding the program to the district’s other schools by using the existing city contracts. But the district doesn’t want to jump ahead of the state law as the law