Once again, the latest news about the School District of Philadelphia isn't about children - it's about money ("Phila. schools facing huge budget shortfall," Wednesday). One district official went so far as to express concern about charter school enrollment significantly increasing the revenue gap.
Charter schools do more - much more - with less than traditional district schools. Charter schools have vibrant libraries, music rooms, dance programs, and provide books and enrichment materials to their students - while receiving only 80 percent of the funding directed to district schools. Charters are also managed with a level of accountability unheard of in district schools, with regular independent audits and financial reporting.
Most important, charter school students are achieving. Seventy percent of Philadelphia charter schools made AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) last year - compared with just over 50 percent of district schools. Charter students are coming to school every day - most city charter schools have attendance rates close to 100 percent. Charter schools don't talk about dropout rates - they talk about college.
If the measure of success is achievement by dollar spent per pupil, maybe charter schools aren't the problem. Maybe they are the solution to the district's budget woes.