The Purpose of Charter Schools

City Academy High School in St. Paul, Minnesota, will celebrate a milestone in September: 25 years as the nation’s first charter school. During that quarter century, charter school growth has been remarkable. Today, 44 states and Washington, D.C. contain some 7,000 of these independently operated public schools, serving nearly 3 million students. Remarkably, charters account for the entire growth in U.S. K–12 public school enrollments since 2006.
 
Confusion abounds among educators and the broader public about the purpose of charter schools and how these independent public schools relate to school district improvement efforts. A mainline view sees them “as the research and development arm” of K-12 public education, crediting Albert Shanker, former leader of the American Federation of Teachers, with most fully envisioning this perspective. Yes, Shanker endorsed this approach, but that hardly exhausts what he – and others – thought about chartering more than 25 years ago when chartering was hatched.
 
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2017-05-14T23:28:32+00:00

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