Skip to main content

Don't reduce special education funding for charter schools

06/25/2014 09:56AM, Published by ACL, Categories: In Print, Opinion

An open letter to the Pa. General Assembly:

As an American student becoming increasingly aware of the world, I understand that our government is not exactly known for honesty, efficiency, or ability to govern. Today, I ask you to defy this notion. 

This country’s test scores are declining, literacy rates are plummeting, and for the government to continue to ignore education would be a folly of monstrous proportions. One essential aspect of an effective national education system is school choice, something which in Pennsylvania we may very soon lack. 

As you know, Senate Bill 1316 and House Bill 2138 plan to reduce special education funding for charter schools by thirty to sixty percent, but clearly this raises an issue: to act as though students with learning disabilities who attend charter schools deserve less than those at public schools is simply ignorant and discriminatory. These bills are no money saving scheme, they are an attack on charter schools. Simply forcing these institutions to close through massive funding cuts would displace special education students to district schools, exacerbating a funding issue for “higher” institutions of learning rather than remedying it. 

As a student of the Avon Grove Charter School in West Grove, to witness the actions of our government in this endeavor is embarrassing and discouraging. I desire to pursue a career in politics in the future, but now I understand that the problem with our government is simply that—politics. When our elected officials fail to see the citizens who elected them and instead focus on interest groups and statistics, it is no wonder that people no longer have faith in the institutions that are meant to watch over them. Nobody pays taxes so that you can diminish the quality of education for students with autism or dyslexia. Nobody elects you to isolate yourselves to Harrisburg in a Utopian bubble of policy and finance. There are real people whom you are meant to serve that will suffer from these legislative decisions. To see these bills as simple bipartisan compromises is myopic; there exists a world of developing minds around you which a simple vote may halt indefinitely. 

Pretend for a second that I am not a Charter student. Pretend that I am writing to you as an Eagle Scout, a National Security Language Initiative for Youth finalist, a student-teacher, a player of seven musical instruments, a National Honor Society President, and a humanitarian with a concern for the future and the environment. Now you could also pretend that I have become all of these things through the glorious district schools of Pennsylvania, and that benevolent and concerned school district administrators helped me all along the way, but I like to hope that senators and representatives are not in the business of pretending. Now, back to reality, I have achieved all of these things. Furthermore, I have done it all with the support of a charter school. Imagine that! Charter schools are not a second class education, stop treating us like second class students. To pass these bills may mean the demise of my school, and the demise of my education. Consider that when you sit down at your desk tomorrow morning. 

Anthony John Zunino III

Avon Grove Charter School student

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Chester County's free newsletter to catch every headline

special education avon grove charter school pennsylvania general assembly

You might also like


West Grove teen studying Chinese as part of National Security Language Initiative

West Grove teenager Anthony Zunino learns about Chinese language and culture during his six week stay.

It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • The Heart of Poverty

    08:15am — 12:30pm

    What is poverty? What does it look like in the U.S.? In Chester County? Join us for this free sem...

  • Brandywine Zoo Spring Opening!

    10:00am — 03:45pm

    Visit the zoo as the environment is getting ready to burst to life for the spring season! Join u...

  • Bug


    Set in a seedy Oklahoma City motel room, the play centers on the meeting between Agnes, a divorce...

  • Newark Symphony Orchestra Concert

    03:00pm — 05:00pm

    THE NEWARK SYMPHONY PRESENTS “STURM AND DELIGHT!” Simeone Tartaglione, Music Director James Al...

  • Share in this fun concert designed for the whole family, providing a unique opportunity to get up...

  • Cheerleading Open House!

    03:00pm — 06:00pm

    Hydro Force is an All Star cheer company offering a fresh, competitive cheerleading experience ...

It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.


    04:00pm — 07:00pm

    The Oxford Lion's Club is focused on serving the community and support many local organizations. ...


Chester County High School Sports