The Feb. 17 editorial, “Cyber schools and charter schools hurt local districts,” presents misperceptions on public charter schools in Pennsylvania.
• Charter schools are public schools, not private schools.
• On average in Pennsylvania, school districts pay only 70 percent of what the taxpayer pays to the district to the charter school. The district retains the rest. Charter schools are already delivering effective education for 30 percent less than taxpayers are paying.
• While school districts may opt to have virtual programs, these are simply programs and not all-encompassing schools. There are significant and fundamental differences. Forcing students to attend cyber charter programs does nothing for those children who are trying to learn more effectively by leaving a system that is not meeting their needs.
The more than 150,000 children in this state who are in, or on waiting lists to get into a charter school are a testament to problems that parents perceive in their traditional public schools – and they don’t have the luxury of time to wait for improvements. If any school district wants to kill charter schools, they need to do only two things – listen and change. Listen to the parents to understand why they are choosing charter schools, and then change to address those concerns. Unfortunately for the children of Pennsylvania, many districts are not good at either.