Twenty years ago today, the first public charter school opened in St Paul, MN, forging the path for the most innovative public education reform movement in a century. The concept of charter schools was proposed by a local Citizens League and authorized by bi-partisan legislation endorsed by a Democratic-majority legislature and a Republican governor. City Academy High School was started by two teachers and a youth recreation leader who wanted the autonomy to provide students at high risk of dropping out with the choice of a new type of public school that could better serve their needs.
Today, politicians from both sides of the aisle support charter schools, including Presidents Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Governor Romney. Legislatures in 41 states and Washington, D.C. have adopted charter school legislation. Additionally, in the last two years, 19 states strengthened their charter school laws by lifting caps restricting charter growth, providing more equitable funding and facilities support, and enacting new authorizing and accountability measures. Maine enacted its first charter school law.
And demand for public charter schools is at an all time high. More than 2,000,000 students attend approximately 5,600 charter schools, and more than 610,000 more are on waiting lists. Full post here.
(Image from unciaandtigris.blogspot.com)