Photo: Harvey Finkle
At Independence Charter School in Center City, kindergarten students Geonni Gee (left) and Nyla Ringgold-Floyd and classroom assistant Joanne Leibowitz enjoy math and reading online games on a website that a teacher created.
In 13 short years, the charter school movement in Philadelphia has grown from nothing to a network with 67 schools and more than 36,000 students, financed by $400 million in taxpayer dollars.
Counted together, they would be the second largest school district in Pennsylvania.
But today, the work of many dedicated educators who eagerly seized the opportunity to create successful learning communities has been nearly overshadowed by revelations about profiteering, excessive CEO salaries, mismanagement, and nepotism at several charters.