Another cabinet level office in Harrisburg has been fiddling with statistics again without informing the public.
Like the state's Department of Environmental Protection, which neglected to list the production of the state's largest Marcellus Shale driller a few months ago without revealing that those numbers weren't in the calculation, the state Department of Education this fall changed the standards for figuring adequate yearly progress (AYP) for charter schools...without mentioning the change.
Hence the percentage of charter schools which made the magic plateau soared to 59 percent, while public school districts remained at 50 percent. Under the former standards, the charter school number would have been 37 percent.
The new numbers gave the Pennsylvania Coalition for Charter Schools something to crow about, a "striking" contrast to the public school figures.
When pressed on the change, DEP spokesman Tim Eller admitted the numbers may "mask some academic problems" among charters but maintained the change only levels the playing field between public and charter.
That may be.
What bothers us is that the change wasn't made clear when the AYP statistics were announced, similar to the DEP's statistical gap.
One wonders if it is just coincidence that cabinet agencies have not been entirely up-front with the public about statistics in two areas near and dear to the governor's heart. Like the gas industry, the charter school lobby has been very supportive of the governor, and the governor has been very supportive of it.