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Report Finds Cyber and Hybrid Schools Save Pennsylvanians
HARRISBURG, PA – The Commonwealth Foundation released today a comprehensive report on Pennsylvania cyber schools and blended learning programs that conclusively found that these public school alternatives save children’s education while saving taxpayers millions of dollars.
Among the findings in the report, "The Learning Revolution: How Cyber Schools and Blended Learning Transform Students’ Lives," policy analysts found enrollment in Pennsylvania cyber schools exploded by some 1,400 percent in the last 10 years, from barely 2,000 students to almost 28,000 today, all while costing taxpayers just 76 percent of what traditional public schools cost.
"Education has finally caught up with twenty-first century technology to produce viable choices for parents and opportunities for students to grow, learn and thrive in a competitive global market," said report coauthor Nate Benefield, director of policy analysis at the Commonwealth Foundation. "Not only are these schools producing successful alternatives that save children from bullying or schools with inadequate resources, but they save taxpayers money along the way."
The free-market think tank analysts also looked at individual case studies like that of 13-year-old Caela Collins, Lake Ariel, Pa., who was hospitalized 16 times between kindergarten and 6th grade from pneumonia, bronchitis, allergies and asthma. In cyber school, Caela hasn’t been sick once, and has finished a year’s worth of science and English courses in just five months.
"If Pennsylvania education is really about finding what is best for children, then the one-size-fits all, brick and mortar model with its skyrocketing costs and stagnating results just isn’t going to get it done," said Benefield. "The cyber and blended learning models work because they allow students to learn at their own pace with individualized attention all at a fraction of the cost."
The report also found that contrary to fears from those who support only the traditional public school model, cyber schools do not drain resources from public schools, as districts retain about 25 percent of funding for a cyber school student it no longer has to educate.
To read the full report, "The Learning Revolution", visit CommonwealthFoundation.org. CF also released a new fact sheet on charter school funding, also available at CommonwealthFoundation.org.
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The Commonwealth Foundation is Pennsylvania’s free-market think tank. The Commonwealth Foundation crafts free-market policies, convinces Pennsylvanians of their benefits, and counters attacks on liberty.
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