Eleanor Chute writes in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ("Charter schools now big business nationwide") about how charter schools have been transformed into huge, often profitable business enterprises since their inception in the early 1990's.
The early charter schools in Pennsylvania were largely the product of passionate parents or community groups, who sometimes planned their dream schools around the kitchen table. But the picture has changed dramatically since the charter school law was passed in Pennsylvania in 1997, with an expansion of education management organizations that bring big money and clout into the picture.Chute's article has good quotes from corporate-style reform critic, Gary Miron and research data from the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado Boulder. According to their study, private operating companies or Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) will run a majority of the nation's charters "within a couple of years." This, even though the small, independent charters of the early '90's type perform much better than the more costly ones run by CMOs.