U.S. Says Pa. Was Not Authorized to Change Charter Progress Rules

The U.S. Department of Education says the Pennsylvania Education Department “acted prematurely” when it changed rules for how charter schools can meet academic-performance standards on the annual PSSA achievement test.

The change makes it easier for most charters to meet the state benchmarks, known as Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Public school advocates call it an unfair way to make charters look better than regular public schools, to which they have typically been compared.

Instead of averaging the scores of all tested students to make AYP, under the new rules charters could average the test scores of only a few grades to meet state benchmarks, the way it is done for entire school districts.

State Education Department spokesman Tim Eller said the change was made to bring calculations for charters into line with those of districts. Some charters have a wide range of grades and, like districts, would get a fairer evaluation that way, he said.

Many public school advocates said the change was part of continuing Corbett administration favoritism for charters and other school-choice options.

Click here to read the full article by Dan Hardy published in the Philadelphia Inquirer (October 16, 2012)


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