The cost and quality of charter schools is dominating the public education debate in Pennsylvania.
At least a dozen major bills seek better accountability and governance of the alternative schools, which are publicly financed but independently run. Much of the legislation focuses on funding formulas and audits. But some charter backers say what's missing is a provision for independent, statewide authorizers.
They contend such entities can weed out bad apples and ensure the operation of only high-quality charter schools. The Pennsylvania School Boards Association opposes the concept. They say statewide authorizers take away control from local communities.
According to the Chicago-based National Association of Charter School Authorizers, about half of U.S. states have some type of independent commission to sanction charters.
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