On June 4, 1991, the Minnesota legislature enacted the nation’s first charter school law, leading to the opening of the country’s first charter school one year later in St. Paul. Today, 43 states and the District of Columbia have charter laws in effect, and approximately 3 million children attend charter schools.
With the 25th anniversary of this educational landmark upon us, we joined the Hopkins-Hunter Forum for Education Policy for a conversation exploring the successes, challenges, and future of the charter school movement. This discussion was anchored on Chester E. Finn’s latest book, Charter Schools at the Crossroads: Predicaments, Paradoxes and Possibilities, co-authored with Bruno V. Manno and Brandon L. Wright. As we imagine decisions and developments to come over the next 25 years, our guests explored controversial issues such as backfilling, special education, and English language learners within the charter framework, and address how policymakers might minimize the variability in charter schools’ quality and move beyond the “no excuses” model.
This event was sponsored by the Achelis & Bodman Foundation.