What to look for on Smart Talk, Friday, July 12, 2019:
More than 33,000 Pennsylvania students attend cyber charter schools. These online education programs are public schools and receive $463 million in state funding each year, money that comes from the budgets of the public school districts in which the cyber charter students reside.
In addition, cyber charter schools tend to have poorer educational outcomes than their public school counterparts, research from both the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University shows. A comprehensive assessment on charter school performance in Pennsylvania released earlier this year found that students in cyber charter schools lag “dramatically” behind their peers in both traditional public schools and in brick-and-mortar charter schools when it comes to performance in reading and math.
Supporters of cyber charter schools counter, however, that they educate students who enter their programs already well behind and that they keep students who would otherwise drop out altogether in the public school system. And some school districts have developed their own online education options.
Joining Smart Talk to discuss the challenges and performance of cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania are Susan Spicka, President of the Education Voters of Pennsylvania, and Ana Meyers, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools.