Philadelphia Charters for Excellence, I Hope

To balance the recent scandals involving misuse of funds at some Philadelphia charter schools, it was great to see the Inquirer reporting earlier this week that a new group was formed to promote Philadelphia charter schools. This new group, “Philadelphia Charters for Excellence” (PCE) will be composed of Philadelphia charter schools who “meet strict ethical standards.”  It’s not clear what the standards are and how compliance will be verified, but I like the sentiment.  Apparently the motivation for forming the group was to counter the corruption headlines dominated by a few charter schools with materials promoting the performance and high ethical standards of the majority of charter schools.  Regardless of the motivation, I like the idea that such an organization will exist to better promote district charters and help parents make more informed decisions about schools.  The Inquirer also reported that the PCE “plans to create a website to help parents compare the performance of charter schools.”  I hope that PCE plans to be transparent in their reporting of these standards and their schools performance–doing so will promote higher ethical and academic standards across the city, not just among charters.  It will also serve their PR purpose–as a parent, if I can see what the ethical and academic standards of PCE are, how each schools’ adherence to those standards is measured , and how each school performed against those standards, it will boost my confidence level in charters across the board.  In light of the recent Pew study that found that more families are choosing charters yet public opinion says that even more choices are needed, this sort of initiative is a welcome one.

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