Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced the creation of the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Division of Charter Schools, an effort to improve quality and accountability of charter schools in Pennsylvania.
Through technical support and guidance, the office will assist charter school educators and leaders in setting goals to advance student achievement, increase parent and community involvement, and ensure academic and financial responsibility.
“Charter schools play an important role in our education system, but that role must be accompanied by sufficient oversight,” Governor Wolf said. “Establishing this new division within the Department of Education will allow us to maximize our resources to not only ensure charters are being properly supported, but that they are being held accountable to taxpayers.”
“The Department has already taken a number of steps to strengthen accountability and oversight with respect to charter schools – establishing a division within the Department is the next step to further streamline communication with charter schools, help ensure they receive needed technical assistance from the Department, and ensuring that all public schools in the commonwealth are held to the same high-quality standards,” Secretary Rivera said.
Accountability functions will include comprehensive fiscal and education programming reviews and focused attention on the reauthorization processes of cyber charter schools, which are chartered by the Department of Education.
Core strategies will include: developing policy regarding educational programming; establishing measures to monitor student achievement and growth, to include measures of student participation and attendance; reviewing and monitoring charter school compliance related to school improvement plans, comprehensive plans, and other required governance documents; conducting comprehensive audits and reviews that precede the cyber charter renewal process; monitoring and evaluating the integrity of programming and finances at both traditional and cyber charter schools alike; and analyzing data reported to PDE annually.
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