After a national conversation about the concept of charter schools, Minnesota became the first American state to adopt a charter school law in June 1991 and opened its first charter school in 1992. In 1992, California adopted the second U.S. charter school law. Eventually, 43 states and the District of Columbia would pass charter school laws.
Charter schools are public schools that operate under contracts, or charters, with their states or local authorities. Charters exempt schools from certain state or local rules. In return for increased flexibility and autonomy, charter schools must meet accountability standards outlined in their charters. A school's charter is reviewed periodically, and can be revoked if it doesn’t follow guidelines on curriculum and management or if it does not meet accountability standards.
NCES, Fast Facts Charter Schools
NCES, The Condition of Education, Charter School Enrollment
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Facts About Charters
Center for Education Reform, Charter School Law
Education by Charter: Restructuring School Districts, 1988
Ted Kolderie, Beyond Choice to New Public Schools: Withdrawing the Exclusive Franchise in Public Education, Progressive Policy Institute, November 1990
Minnesota passes the first charter school law
CCSA, What are Charter Schools