Before you shout, “Yay!” when you read that Pennsylvania’s new state budget includes a $210 million increase in education funding, take note…

First of all, the commonwealth pays just 35% of the education bill and comes in 46th out of the 50 states.

Secondly, unfunded mandates, “particularly charter school tuition,” writes The Mercury’s Evan Brandt, “will soon exceed the amount of state aid many districts receive.”

Including that $210 million boost.

Moreover, Brandt reports that charter school tuition keep rising and represent the second largest increase of any of the major expenditure categories, just behind salaries and costlier than both pensions and health care.

Take note:

  • From 2007 to 2016, charter school enrollment increased 97% by more than 65,000 students, according to the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.
  • It also found that districts are paying charter schools more than $865 million–a 139% increase.

As for Pennsylvania’s cyber charters, education historian and author Diane Ravitch reports that we Pennsylvania taxpayers handed them more than $1.6 billion from 2013 to 2016—and their performance track record is dismal, at best.

Nevertheless, despite online learning’s dubious performance results, early last month Governor Wolf signed PA Bill 440 into law, allowing districts to turn snow days into computer-driven days—more screen time over snowman time.

And so it goes…

With thanks, Carol (