Lehigh Valley

Cyber charter schools celebrate National School Choice Week

Cyber charter schools celebrate National School Choice Week

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Some of the 14 Pennsylvania charter schools banded together for a virtual pep rally Wednesday but not everyone thinks those schools are worth celebrating.

Bethlehem's Achievement House is a cyber charter school where students took part in a statewide virtual pep rally celebrating school choice, as part of National School Choice Week.

Carlos Betancourt is one of the more than 35,000 students enrolled in cyber charter schools statewide.

"I'm doing way better here than at a regular school," he said.

However, Carlos may be in the minority.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education says that all 14 cyber charter schools are under-performing at state standards.

"It's costing Bethlehem tax payers 10 million a year more for a charter choice for schools," Bethlehem Area School District Superintendent Joseph Roy said.

Roy went on to say that charter schools gut public education funding and do not make the grade for quality education.

He called them a failed experiment.

"I'm against choice that cost tax payers more for a system that performs less well than public schools," he said.

With more than 5,500 national events like Achievement's pep rally set for this week, the celebration of choice will continue to be high up on charter schools' curriculum.

"A lot of students who come from different schools mentioned they feel bullied and not learning anything. They like the small environment and that are flexible and can lean from home," Achievement House Head Isela Rodriguez said.

In total, cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania receive $360 million in funding from school districts and the state.

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