How do charter schools compare to traditional schools?
It has been a back and forth battle within the York City School District about a proposed charter school takeover. The state supports this option, while some parents, staff, and school board members are fighting to stop it from happening.
Charter schools are meant to provide an alternative to traditional schooling. The question is, are they working? The state could take over and push the district to all charter schools.
Tim Eller with the Department of Education said there are currently 165 charter schools across the state.
"There are a large number of them that have excellent academic scores, on the contrary there are some that don't have great academic scores," said Eller.
So how do they compare to traditional schools? State Performance Profiles provide a grade of how schools are doing academically. In Pennsylvania the average public school scored 76.9. The Average charter school scored 65.1.
A score of 70 is considered satisfactory.
In the York City School District, Lincoln Charter Received a score of 59.7. York Academy Regional Charter School 76.9.
Within the traditional schools: Davis School scored 55, Ferguson scored 54, and Jackson School scored 55.3. (See more scores here)
"Some charter schools are doing fine; others aren't. We have been proposing for quite a while that charter schools be held more accountable for academic results," said David Broderic, Spokesperson for the Pennsylvania State Education Association.
Broderic wants to see better oversight for charter schools and more funding, "Pennsylvania absolutely needs to change the way the charter schools are funded. Right now school districts are footing the entire bill and that's because in 2011 the charter school reimbursement program ended." said Broderic.
Currently the Department of Education does not have authority over charter schools because charters are set up through school districts.
"It is about time that we take a good look at that law and make sure charter schools are performing the way that they should be," said Broderic.