As the start of the school year approaches, our televisions and social media platforms are being flooded by advertisements from Pennsylvania cyber charter schools trying to lure students and parents away from their own traditional public schools. These schools, or their nationally affiliated education management companies, try to use terms like “individualized instruction” and “tuition-free public school” to sweeten the pot in trying to get new customers.

When evaluating the option of whether to remove their children from their home public school and send them to a cyber charter school, parents should be armed with the knowledge necessary to make an informed decision. Fortunately for parents, the Pennsylvania Department of Education provides them with just such a tool.

The website www.futurereadypa.org is the site where the Department of Education uses to host the data regarding the performance for all schools in the commonwealth, whether they are traditional public schools, brick-and-mortar charter schools and cyber charter schools. Anyone can access this data and analyze the performance of their home school district and any other school.

One of the extremely helpful features of the site is that it allows one to compare the performance of more than one school at a time. By using this feature, parents can see for themselves the difference between the public school their children now attend and the cyber charter schools that are competing for their students and our tax dollars.

All parents should honor their obligation to make the best decision possible regarding the education of their children. The best way to honor that obligation is to make that decision an informed one.

Joe Zupancic