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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: July 11, 2017 02:49 PM
From: Representative Margo L. Davidson
To: All House members
Subject: Establishing a Moratorium and Accountability Commission on Cyber Charter Schools

To: All House Members
From: Representative Margo Davidson
Subject: Establishing a Moratorium and Accountability Commission on Cyber Charter Schools
Posted: June 28, 2017

I believe that our Commonwealth’s children deserve a high quality education regardless of zip code. Currently, there is not one cyber charter in the Commonwealth that has met the state’s academic standards. In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would place a moratorium on the establishment of new cyber charter schools as well as the expansion of existing cyber charter schools, and would establish a commission to study several recurring and troubling issues relating to cyber charter schools and issue a report with its recommendations. Specifically, this commission would study:
  • Why cyber charter schools have not met educational standards,
  • The repeated and high rate of student expulsions from cyber charter schools for truancy after not performing well academically,
  • The cost disparity between the financial costs of cyber charter schools and brick and mortar schools.
  • Special education staffing and programs in cyber schools
  • Teacher to student ratios within cyber charter schools
The moratorium would be effective through the completion of the commission’s study and recommendations report.
Cyber charter schools continue to underperform academically, and all too often students who are expelled from cyber charter schools return to their home schools performing two to three grades below grade level in reading and math. A study from the Center for Research on Educational Outcomes showed that in the 17 states they reviewed, 14 out of 17 states had lower learning growth in reading and all 17 states had lower learning growth in math.
Financially, federal authorities have indicted two of the five largest cyber charter schools in our Commonwealth on charges of fraud. Accountability and assessment of cost disparities will be crucial moving forward as we look to streamline our budget, especially with education being the largest line item in our budget.
As a strong proponent of educational excellence, and the belief that all children, regardless of zip code, should have access to high quality educational options, we want to ensure the choices provided to parents that are funded by the Commonwealth using public dollars are good choices. Please consider joining me in co-sponsoring this very important legislation. Any questions please email whaigood@pahouse.net

Introduced as HB2514