The state education department held a hearing Monday for a proposed cyber charter school that would be based in York.
The proposed Urban Cyber Charter School would offer a “bricks and clicks” model statewide, with students taking courses online with access to more services at cyber cafes to be located in YWCAs. The school would be managed by 3Cord Inc., the company that currently manages New Hope Academy Charter School.
Ryan Davis, board president for the proposed school, said representatives of the school talked about matters such as the vision and curriculum and answered questions on everything from the admissions process to technology. He said the school should know if it is approved within 120 days.
“I feel confident,” Davis said.
The Education Law Center was among those scheduled to give public comment. The nonprofit advocacy group recently asked the state education department for a one-year moratorium on cyber charter schools, citing concerns including the academic performance of existing cyber charters , the issues surrounding the funding of cyber charters, and the department’s ability to monitor more.
“The performance of the existing cyber charter schools has not been good at all,” said Rhonda Brownstein, executive director of the center, so it makes the center concerned the department is considering eight more. Just one of the current cyber charters made AYP last year, she said.
The education department should press the pause button, take a serious look at how cyber charters are doing, and see if any changes need to be proposed to the legislature, Brownstein said.
Read more from the center here.
Davis said he thinks “they’re just trying to protect the traditional brick and mortar system. We have to be able to show them there’s a new way.”
The Coatesville Area School District was also scheduled for public comment. According to submitted testimony, the district raised concerns about the Cyber Cafes not being accessible for all students and questions about special education services, among other issues.
Read submitted comments below.