Cyber Charter School Fights Back; Einstein Academy Charter School Vows Aggressive Response to Lawsuits.
PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 4, 2002
In the face of mounting lawsuits and disruptive tactics by school districts throughout the state, the Einstein Academy Charter School (TEACH) today announced its own aggressive actions "to fight for our students and for progress and innovation in education."
John R. Severs, principal of TEACH, said, "Our students and their parents are suffering because of the flat-out refusal by school districts in this state to abide by the law." Severs said Act 22, which authorizes charter schools in Pennsylvania, requires that school districts support student who seek alternatives to traditional classroom learning. Specifically, the state requires that about 75 percent of each pupil's tuition allocation should "follow the student."
"The fact is," said Severs, "school districts are treating taxpayers' dollars like their own. Instead of supporting the best possible education opportunity for the student, they are hoarding funds and turning their backs on non-traditional students."
Despite directives from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, school districts are refusing to allocate the funds. The latest tactic is for school districts to file lawsuits to delay or prevent any fund transfers. TEACH now finds itself threatened by continuous court challenges.
"It is clear that the strategy of the traditional school district establishment is to destroy cyber charter education by strangling it through the court system," said Severs. "We do not intend to let them do this to the students of Pennsylvania."
On behalf of TEACH, Severs listed an "action agenda" that included the following steps:
-- Standing our ground - TEACH intends to combat the avalanche of lawsuits that have been launched against cyber education. -- Appeal to a higher court - TEACH has asked the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court for a ruling of the validity of challenges to cyber education. TEACH's contention is that school districts are defying state law by refusing to pay and that the court challenges to cyber education are frivolous and inappropriate. -- Cooperation with the Department of Education - TEACH continues to interact with officials in the Pennsylvania Department of Education to address legitimate concerns that have been raised. These discussions have included addressing any and all questions about accountability, accreditation and results testing. -- Educational innovation - TEACH and Tutorbots Inc., a firm hired by the school to provide management services, are developing new Internet-based resources for all educators in Pennsylvania and expect to be sharing those "tools" with the education community at large in the near future.
"It is encouraging to note that we are not alone in the fight for education innovation," said Severs. "Lieutenant Governor Robert Jubelirer took a courageous stand this week in taking on the education establishment and calling for fairness for cyber education. We applaud Senator Jubelirer and look for others in the legislature to help us to what we do best: TEACH."
News editors: For a sample of news coverage of Senator Jubelirer's comments, as published in the Chambersburg Public Opinion on Jan. 29, follow this Web link:
http://www.publicopiniononline.com/news/stories/20020129/localnews/ 1551987.html (Due to the length of this URL, it may be necessary to copy and paste this hyperlink into your Internet browser's URL address field.)