PA Cyber families rally at State Capitol
May 7, 2014
HARRISBURG, PA. – Bobby Klein of Philadelphia came to Tuesday's "Day on the Hill" rally at the state Capitol to show appreciation for the education and support he received from PA Cyber Charter School.
"Bobby wouldn't be where he is without PA Cyber and his instructional supervisor, Robert Liken," said his mother, Fern. Klein, a 2013 graduate, is studying interactive media at Harrisburg University.
The Kleins were among 2,000 cyber and brick-and-mortar charter school students, family and other supporters who rallied outside, then went into the state Capitol to take their message personally to their state representatives and senators. The rally was sponsored by PA Families for Public Cyber Schools.
Amanda Laverde, a PA Cyber junior, is worried about proposed legislation that would cut funding for special education. She came to the rally with her friend Rachel Atias, also a junior, who tried both traditional schooling and a different cyber school before coming to PA Cyber. She loves interacting with the teachers and other students in PA Cyber's Virtual Classroom classes.
Dawn Phillips of Quarryville, Pa., brought her daughter Victoria, a seventh grader, to show support for the school that got her "away from bad influences" in her former classroom school. With them were Carol Diaz and daughter Christy from Nottingham, Pa.
Misty DiFrancesco of New Cumberland in south-central Pennsylvania came with her sons Leo, 7, who is an accelerated learner in PA Cyber, and Xander, 9, who needed extra help in reading.
"Xander's school told us they were doing away with their Title I reading program, so I just pulled him out halfway through kindergarten," DiFrancesco said. "Leo wasn't being challenged academically. That was the nail in the coffin. I pulled him out, too.
"PA Cyber has been fantastic. Leo is working ahead and Xander is getting all the help he needs."
Leading the speakers at the outdoor rally was Larry Jones, president of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools. He said, "If the spending cuts and special education cuts in these bills come to fruition, none of the children standing here will be able to attend (charter schools)."
Monica Allen, president of PA Families for Public Cyber Schools, said, "We need to understand that the attacks on our schools are real." State Rep. Dan Truitt told students that "you are not second class citizens. Don't let them make you second class citizens."
State Sen. Anthony Williams urged families to look beyond party affiliation and vote for candidates who support charter schools, and state Rep. Jim Christiana called for an "open marketplace" in which families can choose the schools that are best for their children.
Students held signs with messages such as "Save our Charter Schools" and "Special Education Cuts Hurt ALL Children." They chanted "Equality for all," and "Charter schools are public schools."
"We are here not to fight violently, but politically and ethically fight for charter school choice," Jones said.
Casie Colalella / email@example.com
About PA Cyber
Serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PA Cyber) is one of the largest, most experienced, and most successful online public schools in the nation. PA Cyber's online learning environments, personalized instructional methods, and choices of curricula connect Pennsylvania students and their families with state-certified and highly-qualified teachers, and rich academic content that is aligned to state standards. Founded in 2000, PA Cyber is headquartered in Midland (Beaver County) and maintains a network of support offices throughout the state. As a public school, PA Cyber is open for enrollment by any school-age child residing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and does not charge tuition to students or families.