As cash-strapped school districts lay off teachers and close campuses, publicly funded charter schools are flourishing and altering the landscape of public education, the associated press reports. Despite a painful economic downturn, the charter school movement is expanding rapidly across the country with support from the Obama administration, wealthy donors such as Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey, and the highly publicized documentary “Waiting for Superman.”

Charter schools typically receive a mixture of public and private money and operate free of many regulations that govern traditional public schools in exchange for achieving promised results…

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