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PA Charter Performance Center

About the PA Charter Performance Center: 

The PA Charter Performance Center seeks to improve the quality of education, especially for at-risk students, by producing unbiased, accurate and timely information that will build momentum for the adoption of sound state-level charter school policy.

Charter schools are educating a growing share of Pennsylvania’s K-12 students. Last year over 146,000 students attended a Pennsylvania charter school, an astonishing 85 percent increase in just ten years. Low-income and at-risk students are more likely than other students to enroll in charters. While only 16% of district schools are located in high poverty areas, 58% of brick and mortar charter schools are operating in high poverty census tracts. This raises significant equity issues about who attends charters and how are they doing.

While enrollment is growing, student learning is not keeping pace.  The most recent assessments show that 78% of 3rd through 8th grade charter students failed their Math PSSA and 56% failed English Language Arts. Over six in ten 11th graders attending charter schools failed the Algebra Keystone Exam and 45% failed Literature. More concerning is the fact that every one of Pennsylvania’s 14 cyber charters has been identified as needing some level of support and improvement under the state’s accountability system.

Absent unbiased, accessible information, there can be no accountability to boost charter school performance or close poorly performing operators. The Center seeks to close this gap by delivering reliable information on school performance for charters and district run schools to advance the policy conversation in Harrisburg and help parents make the best decisions for their children.

PA Charter Performance Center Advisory Board: 

  • Veronica Brooks-Uy, Interim VP of Policy, National Association of Charter School Authorizers
  • Esther Bush, President and CEO, Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh
  • Sarah Cohodes, Associate Professor of Economics and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University
  • Sharif El-Mekki, Director, Center for Black Educator Development
  • Erica Frankenberg, Professor of Education, Penn State College of Education
  • Ed Fuller, Director of the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy Analysis, Penn State University
  • Brian Gill, Senior Fellow and Director of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Educational Laboratory, Mathematica
  • Christina Grant, Chief of Charter School and Innovation, PSD Charter School Office
  • Alyssa Hopkins, School Development Manager, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • TerryAnn Hudson-Mitchell, charter school parent
  • David Lapp, Director of Policy Research, Research for Action
  • Colin Miller, Vice President, Government Affairs, California Charter School Association
  • Susie Miller Carello, Executive Director, SUNY Charter Schools Institute
  • Kathy Schultz, Dean of the School of Education, University of Colorado – Boulder
  • Rogers Smith, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
  • Heather Wilkes, charter school parent

Follow us on Twitter: @pa_charter

The work of the Center is made possible by a generous donation from the Ivywood Foundation.