Considering cyber public schools

TOM GRALISH / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Philly schools Superintendent William Hite is proposing a cyber public school.

Let’s get this straight: Philadelphia Public Schools have dismal literacy rates, graduation rates (64 percent) and many students lack to the motivation and skills to make substantial progress.

So what does the school district propose? Cyber schools, The Inquirer’s Kristen A. Graham reports.

Right, because the charter cyber schools are doing such a great job.

“Here in Philadelphia, we want to begin to compete for students," Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said Wednesday, adding that he wants to develop “innovative school models that will provide options for many of our students who are not as successful as we want them to be in traditional comprehensive high schools.”

Cyber charters save districts money, and allegedly provide an alternative to students who struggle in traditional settings.

But those students don’t appear to be doing any better at home.

Last year, know how many cyber charter schools met state standards?


This is a recipe for failure, a race to the bottom that offers stuggling students who barely show up at school the chance to fail in the comfort of their own home.

The School Reform Commission will consider a resolution Thursday to approve up to $15 million to fund the virtual school for two years. The actual cost will be determined by how many students enroll.

Don’t do it. That’s money will be far better spent helping children learn in real classrooms with teachers instead of banking on virtual education.

--Karen Heller