On August 27, 2016, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review published an article by Elizabeth Behrman regarding a national report on cyber charter school performance. The article cited PennCAN’s Executive Director:
“I think there can be some policies around recognizing what is smart growth for cyber charter schools,” said Jonathan Cetel, executive director of PennCAN, the state branch of 50CAN.
His organization supports cyber education, charter schools and school choice, he said, but under-performing cyber charter schools pose concerns for education advocates. And cyber charters market aggressively to attract students all over the state. A recent report from the Pennsylvania School Boards Association found that cyber charter schools spent more than $3.9 million on advertising across the state in 2014-15.
“There are some students that this model is really working for,” Cetel said. “But some parents are treating cyber schools as the only space where their kid is safe. They’re choosing the school as a last resort. We need to be looking deeper into who is doing well.”
In particular, PennCAN supports changes to the state charter school law that would restructure the funding cyber charters receive to be more consistent with their overhead costs, as well as the creation of a commission to study the strengths and weaknesses of cyber charter schools.
“There should be more research into this,” Cetel said.
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