Classroom Technology

Einstein Out as Pa. Shuffles ‘Cyber Charter’ Lineup

By Andrew Trotter — May 28, 2003 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Pennsylvania’s lineup of eight “cyber charter” schools appears set to shift next fall with the entry of a new online school run by a subsidiary of Baltimore-based Sylvan Learning Systems Inc.—and the exit of the most controversial of the state’s online charter schools, Einstein Academy.

Commonwealth Connections Academy Charter School plans to enroll 400 students in grades K-8. It is the first online school that the state department of education has approved under revisions to the state charter school law that took effect last June.

Einstein Academy, meanwhile, has lost an appeal to the state on the revocation of its charter.

Before the changes to the law, cyber charters were governed by the same 1997 law that allowed school districts to issue charters to brick-and-mortar schools. Under the 2002 revisions, the state education department was granted sole authority to grant charters for virtual schools in the state.

Pennsylvania’s cyber charters have generated protests and litigation from school districts and education groups, in part because the schools draw students—and money, under the state’s school funding formula—from districts all over the state. And questions have lingered about the costs and quality of the online schools. (“Pennsylvania Report Examines the State’s Online Charter Schools,” Nov. 7, 2001.)

Connections Academy, a division of Sylvan that also runs online schools in Colorado and Wisconsin, will manage the new cyber charter. The division is in the process of being spun off, with other Sylvan K-12 education units, to a new company, to be called Educate Inc.

Commonwealth Connections Academy plans to offer a K-8 program of “balanced offline and online activities,” said Barbara Dreyer, Connection Academy’s president. Each child will have a computer, all the lesson plans will be online, and teachers will conduct some lessons online. Other learning activities will involve computers, using programs stored on a CD-ROM.

Revocation Upheld

The director and nine teachers to be hired for the newly approved school will be located in a facility in the Harrisburg, Pa., area, with other teachers—called “curriculum specialists"—based in Baltimore, Ms. Dreyer said.

All members of the teaching staff will have Pennsylvania teaching certificates, she said.

She said the school might pick up some students who were formerly enrolled in Einstein Academy, which on May 14 lost its appeal to the state charter school appeals board of a decision by the Morrisville school district to revoke its charter.

The revocation of the charter was based on Einstein’s alleged financial mismanagement and inadequate services to students needing special education, among other grounds.

Officials of Einstein, which once enrolled more than 3,000 students, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that they would now appeal to Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court.

Events

Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Classroom Technology AI Is Common Thread Through the Big Challenges Schools Are Facing, New Report Says
Recruiting and retaining educators, cybersecurity, and scaling innovation across schools are some of the biggest challenges.
3 min read
School-aged boy using laptop in classroom.
iStock / Getty Images Plus
Classroom Technology 8 Tips for Schools to Avoid Chaos in the Age of AI
Most district leaders are in the beginning stages of figuring out how to integrate AI into K-12 education.
6 min read
A group of researchers studies elements impacted by artificial intelligence
Kathleen Fu for Education Week
Classroom Technology What Is Age-Appropriate Use of AI? 4 Developmental Stages to Know About
Child development experts and teachers offer advice on when K-12 students should start using AI-powered tech and for what purposes.
11 min read
Elementary, Middle, and High-school age children interact with a giant artificial intelligence brain.
Kathleen Fu for Education Week
Classroom Technology New York City Schools Went Online Instead of Calling a Snow Day. It Didn't Go Well
The nation's largest school system attempted remote learning again since the pandemic, but got it interrupted by technical difficulties.
5 min read
A woman plays with a child who is sledding in New York's Central Park Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024. Technology glitches kept many New York City teachers and students from virtual classes Tuesday—the first attempt by the country's largest school system to switch to remote learning for a snow storm since the COVID-19 pandemic.
A woman plays with a child who is sledding in New York's Central Park Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024. Technology glitches kept many New York City teachers and students from virtual classes Tuesday—the first attempt by the country's largest school system to switch to remote learning for a snow storm since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Frank Franklin II/AP