I bet you think that the largest chain in the U.S. is KIPP. If you did, you are wrong.
KIPP gets the most publicity, but it does not have the largest number of charter schools.
The largest charter chain in the nation is the Gulen network of charters.
You probably never heard of them.
All were established by Turkish nationals associated with a reclusive cleric named Fethullah Gulen.
This cleric and his movement, as the New York Times reported, are controversial in Turkey. He lives somewhere in Pennsylvania, but he has a thriving movement in Turkey.
The Gulen schools specialize in teaching math and science, and some of their schools get outstanding test scores.
60 Minutes did a special about the Gulen schools and was very impressed.
Others find it odd that a Turkish cleric would create a chain of charter schools in the U.S.
Some of the schools have gotten into trouble with state auditors.
Many screen out or exclude students with disabilities. This of course raises the test scores of the schools.
Two days ago, I wrote a post about a Gulen charter school in Minneapolis that pushed out 40 children with special needs.
Sharon R. Higgins runs a website called Charter School Scandals, where she keeps track of the financial and educational misdeeds of charter schools. She has a special section dedicated to following the Gulen network. She summarized her findings here.
It is all rather puzzling.