Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment. Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.
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Host: Scott LaMar
What to look for on Radio Smart Talk Wednesday, July 24, 2013:
Cyber schools are one of several options available to parents deciding where to send their children.
The number of charter schools in Pennsylvania is growing rapidly, with 173 brick-and-mortar schools and 16 cyber schools. Together they educate some 105,000 students. Parents have more choices than ever before about where to send their kids. Public or private? Charter or cyber charter?
While funding for public schools continues to decline, the cost of sending students to independent, online charter schools continues to rise. The financial impact on public schools is big. Program cuts and layoffs loom large, while shrinking enrollment threatens to close some public schools.
This year, the state's 16 cyber charters will receive at least $366 million in taxpayer funds. They’ll get the funding despite the fact that none met federally mandated academic performance targets last year.
But when it comes to education, one size doesn’t fit all. Cyber charters provide options for families seeking alternatives. They foster competition among educators and innovations in technology. These are just a few of the reasons why cyber charters aren’t just a passing fad, advocates say they’re here to stay.
Is it time to rethink how charter schools are funded? How do we support innovation while balancing the need for accountability and quality?
To help us answer these questions and more we’ll speak with Jonathan Cetel, Executive Director of PennCAN, Stuart Knade Interim Executive Director of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, and Susan Spicka, a parent and grassroots public education advocate in Shippensburg. She's also the co-founder of Education Matters in the Cumberland Valley.
Susan Spicka,Stuart Knade,and Jonathan Cetel
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