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Audit finds fault with Pa. education agencies

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

A new audit gives Pennsylvania’s Department of Education poor marks for the way it deals with academically struggling schools and special employees.

The report, covering mid-2010 to mid-2015, finds that the agency failed to provide special help to most poor-performing schools unless it was expressly required by federal law.

A new system of measuring school performance was adopted in 2012 to assess and compare schools. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said during a press conference Tuesday that merely labeling sub-par schools is of little service.

"If you’re going to come up with criteria for what is poor-performing … you’ve got to be prepared to do something to deal with it," said DePasquale. "There has to be an action, or why else have a Department of Education?"

The agency told auditors that it does not provide extra help to schools unless it’s required under federal guidelines, such as for schools with a high percentage of low-income families. Even some of those schools have gone without special help from the department, according to the audit.

The audit recommends that the agency put one person or office in charge of responding to struggling schools. It advised the department to become more of a "doer," relying less on contractors and intermediate units to meet low-rated schools’ needs.

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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