Op-Ed: Student-based funding will renew Pa.’s education system

Originally published in The Pottstown Mercury.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf recently announced a plan to cut nearly a quarter-billion dollars in state funding for charter schools. It was Wolf’s latest attack on Pennsylvania’s charter school law, which the governor believes is “outdated.”

State Rep. Joe Ciresi, D-Montgomery County, followed with a proposed charter “reform” bill. This punitive measure, Ciresi says, would serve as a “re-start” since the existing charter law was written in 1997.

The world has undoubtedly changed since 1997, but the law consigning kids to a school based on where they live dates to 1834. If Pennsylvania reforms its outdated education system, the state should look beyond the Clinton years. In fact, lawmakers should reevaluate an archaic education model that predates not only Google, but also cars, electricity, and even indoor plumbing.

The 1997 charter school law was a significant step forward; it enabled children to attend the school that works for them rather than the one near where they happen to live. This effort continued with the introduction of tax credit scholarships in 2001. Both advances, though, preserved the antiquated system of assigning children to a specific district, resulting in a warped view of education funding.

Most opponents of parental choice claim…

Read more at The Pottstown Mercury.