This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks
There will be no new cyber-charter schools opening this year in Pennsylvania.
The state Department of Education rejected proposals from each of the six operators that applied in November.
The state’s 14 existing cyber-charter schools – which educate students via computers in students’ homes – have thus far produced dismal academic results for their 35,000 students statewide.
Judging by the state’s new school performance profile scores, the 11 cyber-charters for which information is available scored well below state averages.
Pennsylvania’s cyber-charters have also drawn criticism from academics and the state auditor general regarding their use of public funds.
After hearing testimony from the six new organizations hoping to create cyber-charters, Education Department officials said in December that they would review the applications with "a laser focus" while "increasing the rigor of the review process."