A few days ago, I posted warnings about the stealth effort to expand charter schools in Pennsylvania, embedded in a bill called HB530. Exposed to daylight and to the righteous wrath of parents and school boards, the bill failed.
Good work by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA), teachers, and people who understand the importance of public schools managed to kill HB530, which was a sugarplum for the rapacious charter industry.
Here is a report from the PSBA:
Thanks to a tremendous effort made by current and retired school directors and many other public school advocates, charter school expansion legislation under House Bill 530 (Rep. Reese, R-Westmoreland) was stopped in its tracks. As the 2015-16 session winds to a close, the bill will die.
This accomplishment could not have been possible without your efforts. Over the past two weeks advocates responded to our call to action and generated more than 2,000 email messages, 300 calls and texts, and multiple Twitter and Facebook posts all in an effort to oppose the legislation. With multiple indications that the bill was geared up to be considered by the House of Representatives, PSBA was a leader in pointing out the serious flaws in the legislation.
House Bill 530 purported to be charter school “reform” that actually did little to provide real change in the way charter schools are operated, funded or held accountable. Instead, it enabled the expansion of charter schools with less accountability and oversight, and actually diluted existing powers of oversight by local school boards while costing them millions of dollars.
PSBA agrees that the need for genuine reform to the state’s outdated Charter School Law is long overdue. In fact, throughout this legislative session, PSBA was working with members in the Senate and House of Representatives in hopes of clarifying and addressing many of our concerns.
It’s been suggested that PSBA has made inaccurate and misleading claims about House Bill 530. PSBA would like to set the record straight. Make no mistake – school boards are very serious about charter school accountability. House Bill 530 does not strengthen accountability and does not contain significant, reasonable reform or relief from increasing charter school costs.