When an unusual coalition of Republicans and Philadelphia Democrats led by State Rep. Dwight Evans joined forces to pass a law bringing charter schools to Pennsylvania, they spoke in glowing terms about this “innovative” alternative to troubled public schools.
At that time – 11 years ago – few could have predicted the explosive growth – and controversy – that now surround the charter movement.
About 67,000 students are enrolled at 127 charter schools statewide, including several in Philadelphia that are now under criminal investigation.
The “innovation” most in evidence at the Philadelphia Academy Charter School in Northeast Philadelphia, as The Inquirer has reported, has led to allegations of nepotism, conflicts of interest and financial mismanagement, all now under investigation by federal authorities.
Philadelphia Academy Charter is hardly alone.