By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some education advocates are calling on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to put the brakes on approving any more cyber charter schools.

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There are 15 online “cyber” charters  in Pennsylvania now, and six operators have applied to the state education department to run new ones.

But in a conference call today, education advocates said no new cyber charters should be approved.

Adam Schott, policy analyst with the group Research For Action, says that for one thing, cybers scored poorly in the state’s new School Performance Profile.

“For the eleven cyber-charter schools for which we had SPP scores, all of them scored among the lowest performing schools in the state,” he noted.

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And David Lapp, staff attorney with the Education Law Center, says the charter school law was meant to increase educational opportunities.

“At least in the cyber charter realm, we’ve really seen that that intent has not been fulfilled,” he said.   “And so we’re calling for a moratorium on increased expansion.”

Lapp points out that there’s no cap on enrollment at Pennsylvania’s existing cyber charters, so creating new ones is unnecessary.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education turned down all eight new cyber charter applications submitted last year.


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