Charter Schools: 25 Years Later

Charter Schools: 25 Years Later This month marks the 25th anniversary of the first charter school law in the nation, passed in Minnesota on June 4, 1991. In the years since, charter schools have emerged as one of the most divisive issues in education. In spite of the sometimes contentious debate, charter schools are now firmly a part of the education landscape, enrolling roughly 5 percent of the K-12 public school student population across the country.

Originally framed as a testing ground to pilot new and innovative educational approaches, have charters lived up to their mission? Looking to the future, what changes—if any—should the charter sector consider?

The past 25 years of the charter movement has produced both successes and failures, writes Greg Richmond of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers. Here are three principles to ensuring every charter is a great school.

Policymakers haven't created the conditions necessary for charters to serve as the originally envisioned "laboratories of innovation," write Aaron Smith, but transparency, choice, and portable funding could change that.

If charter schools and districts were better coordinated, we would create an environment where every child has a place to thrive, writes Great School Choices founder Dirk Tillotson.


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