The Pennsylvania charter school law was enacted in 1997, authorizing the creation of public schools that operate independently of their surrounding district. The law was amended in 2002 to permit “cyber” charter schools, which deliver instruction through the Internet to students in their homes. There are now 81 traditional charter schools in Philadelphia, and 16 schools turned over to charter operators by the School District of Philadelphia through the “Renaissance School” reform process. Currently, more than 25 percent of all public school students in Philadelphia attend charter schools, among the highest of any city in the country. Many expect the number will soon grow to over 40 percent. In addition, Pennsylvania has the largest cyber charter school population — over 30,000 students — of any state in the country.
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