Choice, Cyber Charter Schools, and the Educational Marketplace for Rural School Districts

Bryan Mann, Stephen Kotok, Erica Frankenberg, Ed Fuller, Kai Schafft


Pennsylvania is a state with significant proportions of students who attend rural schools, as well as students who attend charter schools. This study examines enrollment patterns of students in brick and mortar and cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania and how these enrollment patterns differ across geographic locale. We analyze student-level enrollment data, controlling for demographic characteristics, and find that, in contrast to brick and mortar schools, cyber charter schools attract students from a variety of locales across the urban-rural continuum. However, rural students exhibit the greatest likelihood of attending cyber charter schools. We discuss the implications of these findings in relation to educational equity, cyber charter school underperformance, and the fiscal impacts of charter schools on the budgets of small school districts.


charter schools; cyber charter schools; rural education; student mobility


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