Philadelphia Limits Choices for School Children

Brad Vasoli has a troubling article in The Bulletin about how the Philadelphia School District is trying to limit the enrollment of charter schools in the district. District officials claim that their interpretation of the law is that they have the power to do so.

Luckily, the school district does not interpret the law, the courts do. And just last year, the Commonwealth Court ruled that the Chester Upland school district could not limit the enrollment in charter schools. The official ruling states,

In the context of the Charter School Law then, a charter is not a contract, but a grant of power for the board of directors of that school to establish a school to provide public education to school-age children. Consequently, the Empowerment Board did not have authority pursuant to Section 693(1) of the Public School Code to limit charter school enrollment.

Just like McDonald’s is not allowed to limit the amount of folks that can eat at Wendy’s, school districts have no authority to limit enrollment in charter schools. This issue issue is not simply about battles between competing schools, but about limiting the choices available to Philadelphia familes.