Beware of Fake News about Charter and Cyber Schools

If it’s on the internet it must be true?  If you see an advertisement for a “FREE” public school education that promises to be “the best education available in the State of Pennsylvania,” you better stop and check the facts.

In recent months the term “fake news” has gained much needed attention.  The challenge, however, is when is the news true and factual, and when is the news false?  One old-time adage to guide your reasoning should be, ‘if it’s too good to be true, it most likely is not.’  You might want to check multiple sources before you believe the story.  A case in point is the alleged success of Pennsylvania’s cyber and charter schools. Go directly to

A quick look at York County students in cyber and charter schools will show you academic failure by the same metrics used to measure academic success in our school district elementary, middle and high schools.  In one local charter school, only 19% of students are proficient or better in reading. In another local charter school, only 40% are proficient in mathematics.  Results for third grade reading proficiency is only 41%.   Students from York County, who are enrolled in Agora Cyber School, Commonwealth Connections Cyber School, PA Cyber Charter or most of the other 11 “Pennsylvania Approved” schools surprisingly demonstrate even worse academic performance: one cyber program reports only 34% proficient or better in mathematics and 27% proficient or better in reading at the third grade level.  The one exception to these poor results would be the York Academy Regional Charter school, however only 40% of students score proficient or better in mathematics.

This is not fake news – these are public records for your review.

Part two of the cyber – charter news scam is they are “free.”  Too good to be true?  The school property taxes paid locally pay the tuition for every local cyber and charter school student.  In the York Suburban School District, we budget nearly $1.2 MILLION for the “free” education.  To compound the absurdity of the PA Laws protecting cyber and charter schools, no publicly elected school board officials have the power to say no to programs or services chosen by these cyber or charter families.

Again, this is not fake news – these are public records for your review.

As the Pennsylvania State Legislature begins a new budget debate to determine how limited education funds will be distributed to school districts, it is imperative that accountability for school choice becomes a high priority.  The public schools in York County are providing a top quality education for ALL students who live in our communities and local property taxes should go to those successful public schools first.

Dr. Larry Redding

Acting Superintendent