By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pittsburgh City Council put charter schools under the microscope on Tuesday during a discussion on closing the education gap in the city.

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Administrators from Propel Schools and others virtually discussed current and future plans to increase academic achievement.

Some people raised ideas such as universal preschool to help improve reading proficiency at a younger age as well as lower the high school dropout rate.

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Others said they’ve been using innovative strategies in the classroom to meet the needs of minority students for decades with far fewer resources.

“Many times through a blind lottery, in fact, all times in a public charter school, through a blind lottery, and be able to look at a kid once they’re enrolled in that school, assess their needs and move forward with them to get them to them to a point in time where they’re proficient in academic skills and they have the life skills to be healthy and successful throughout life,” said Lenny McAllister, the CEO of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools. “There’s a reason why charter school enrollment has gone up 80% in just the past decade alone throughout the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

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School administrators also argued a lack of diversity among educators is a contributing factor.