Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools


June 5, 2019

For immediate release: Statement of APPS Re CREDO study


The CREDO study released today presents more evidence that the charter experiment foisted upon the state’s children has been a resounding failure, especially considering the enormous amount of taxpayer dollars that have been spent on charter schools.  


For many reasons, comparing charters to district schools is not an apples-to-apples exercise. Charter schools receive outside funding from private donors, including significant amounts every year from the Philadelphia School Partnership.  PSP identifies as a non-profit funder of schools, but they have been strong financial and political advocates for privatization and charter expansion. The bulk of their corporate funding goes to non-district schools. 


Charter schools have been cited over the years for unfair practices such as presenting barriers to enrollment, failure to inform students and parents of their due process rights when facing disciplinary action, and expelling students for trivial offenses including being out of uniform and lateness.  Thus, many charters are able to exclude students with special needs, both behavioral and academic.  

Studies done by both Philadelphia City Controller’s Office and the State Attorney General’s Office have documented fraud and questionable spending in some of the city’s largest charter organizations.   Organizations including PCCY and the Education 

Law Center have conducted in-depth studies that show charters do not outperform district schools in most categories. ELC’s recent report shows: 1) the population of economically disadvantaged students is much lower in Philadelphia’s charter schools—70% in the District, 56% in charters; 2) the percentage of English learners is nearly three times higher—11% in District, 4% in charters; 3) few of the special education students in the traditional charters are from the low-incidence disability categories, such as autism and intellectual disability, that are most expensive to serve.

The diversion of public funds to privately managed charters has made it more difficult for public schools to fund essential programs, but public schools still manage to outperform charters in most categories.  Lack of oversight, both on the state and local level, has resulted in a lack of accountability in the charter sector. 

The CREDO study confirms that the claim of charter investors and operators that charter schools are a better choice has never been true.  Harrisburg must reform the PA Charter Law so that the voters in each district can have the means to fully fund and strengthen their public school systems.