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Hornbeck Op-Ed Misleads

March 14, 2017

Former Maryland Superintendent and education consultant David W. Hornbeck has an op-ed in the Courier-Journal and Herald-Leader on how, as a former supporter of charter schools, he’s learned the errors of his way. It’s a reprint of a piece he ran two years ago in the Baltimore Sun. While I won’t respond in full to his argument, the debate over urban charters for example, is settled, one portion of his piece does require a rebuttal. 


Hornbeck asserts that;


"Charter advocates say “strong” charter laws are required. Pennsylvania’s law is one that is characterized as strong. Yet, its charter growth is contributing significantly to a funding crisis that includes draconian cuts to teachers, nurses, arts, music and counselors in Philadelphia."


While it’s clear the Philadelphia Public Schools have funding-related issues, due in large part to deeper issues in the state like a growing pension problem, no one arguing for a strong charter law is pointing to Pennsylvania. 


The Center for Education Reform, gives Pennsylvania’s law a C. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools ranks Pennsylvania’s law 27th out of the 43 states ranked.  


Indiana by comparison, who is both more geographically and demographically relevant, is #1 in both groups ranks, and has seen NAEP score improvement since passing it’s “strong” law. 


Kentucky needs a strong charter law, preferably one that looks like Indiana. 




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