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Charter Industry Announces Its Plans to Disrupt Pittsburgh Forum on Public Education on Saturday

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Prominent groups that support public schools–not charter schools or religious schools–are meeting on Saturday in Pittsburgh to discuss the future of public education with Democratic presidential candidates.

The billionaire-funded charter industry is angry that they can’t control the event and they have released their plans to disrupt the event.

Contrary to the claims of the charter industry, charter schools are not public schools. They are private contractors that receive public money and are typically unregulated and fail to meet basic standards of accountability and transparency.

Unfortunately, their leaders insist on minimal or non-regulation, assuring that grifters and entrepreneurs will be able to receive public dollars without any accountability.

The industry resolutely refuses to acknowledge, let alone curb, the waste, fraud, and abuse that has created a backlash against charter schools.

The Center for Education Reform, led by former Heritage Foundation education analyst Jeanne Allen, sent out this email:


 Charter Schools in Pittsburgh & Leaders

 throughout Pennsylvania Unite


Issue strong message to special interest sponsors of “Public Education Forum 2020” and the Democratic candidates ignoring parental demands



WASHINGTON – Charter school leaders in Pittsburgh, joined by others throughout Pennsylvania, and by key state democratic officials issued strong statements today challenging the Democratic candidates for president who will be in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this Saturday, December 14, 2019, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center for the “Public Education Forum 2020: Equity and Justice for All.” Sponsored by unions and other interest groups, the Forum has sparked strong responses from the Pennsylvania charter school community, with its unfounded attacks upon the substantive work being carried out throughout the state and right in the city where the forum will be held.


“We call on the candidates to remember those who won’t be there: the thousands of parents from underserved communities tragically forced to watch their children suffer academically because of a failed system that refuses any real reform,” said representatives of 5 of the city’s charter schools in a statement, speaking on behalf of the state’s 143,000 charter school students and their parents.


“The Democratic Presidential candidates have been summoned to demonstrate their allegiance to the unions and special interests who they believe hold the key to their nomination,” said CER Founder & CEO Jeanne Allen. “Not invited were any charter or reform minded voices to participate in this nationally televised forum where Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is expected to attend and criticize the very charter schools he has tried to keep from operating.”


Many charter educators will be on the ground in Pittsburgh to make their voices heard, including Dara Ware Allen, PhD, CEO and Principal, City Charter High School; Dr. Tina Chekan, CEO/Superintendent, Propel Schools; Jon McCann, CEO, Environmental Charter School; Vasilios Scoumis, CEO, Manchester Academic Charter School; Brian Smith, Founder & CEO, Catalyst Academy Charter School; William C. Wade, Ed.S., CEO, Urban Pathways K5 College Charter School; and David Zeiler, CEO, Provident Charter School. They have issued the following statement in response to the Public Education Forum this Saturday.


“As eight potential future presidents gather here in Pittsburgh this Saturday and are hosted by some of the nation’s most powerful special interests, we call on the candidates to remember those who won’t be there: the thousands of parents from underserved communities tragically forced to watch their children suffer academically because of a failed system that refuses any real reform. It is a cruel irony that the tagline of this weekend’s forum is ‘equity and justice for all’ when all the candidates being celebrated each oppose the very policies that help our schools give such words real meaning. Thanks to school choice, our public charter schools prevail at giving life-altering opportunity to children for whom educational success – and the more hopeful and secure future that comes with it – would likely be denied.


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