Why Families Like Cyber and Charter Schools

Nine-year-old Ashley Matunis and her sister, 6-year-old Anna (pictured right), are typical girls who enjoy pizza and pretzels. They are also typical of the kind of students who attend cyber schools. They go to Pennsylvania’s largest such school, PA Cyber, which now¬†educates more than 11,000 students across the state.

As the girls’ mother Sarah Matunis notes, cyber school meets her daughters’ needs in a way regular schools cannot: Third-grader Ashley is learning quicker than average in math, and is now freely learning at the 4th-grade level. Anna was diagnosed with Type I diabetes before she turned 5, so cyber school allows her to keep up with school at home while her mother keeps tabs on her health. “We finally feel like our tax dollars are being used well,” she said.

The Matunis girls are just two of some 90,000 students in Pennsylvania in charter schools, which include cyber schools. And the waiting list is 30,000 strong. They and other charter school families gathered in Harrisburg yesterday for their annual day on the hill to remind legislators why school choice is so important: It gives families like the Matunis a chance at an education best-suited to how their children learn and function. Pennsylvania families want lawmakers to protect school choice, and provide more of it.

As for Ashley and Anna, school choice means they could be the next Hannah Tuffy, a Scranton native who is the first graduate of PA Cyber to be accepted to the prestigious U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Let’s give more families the schooling options they need to succeed like Hannah.