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25 Years of Public Charter Schools

August 3, 2016
  • Charter Schools Embrace Quality

    As charter schools were expanding, educators, advocates and policymakers were working to make sure that the new schools were providing high-quality educational opportunities to students across the United States. 

    The Charter Friends National Network (CFNN) launched in 1996 to advocate for strong public policies and high-quality public charter schools. This organization later became the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Another organization, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, was founded in 2000 to develop high-quality authorizers and, therefore, high-quality schools.

    New organizations, including the NewSchools Venture Fund and the Charter School Growth Fund, founded in 1998 and 2005, respectively, were created to entice creative entrepreneurs into public education and to support the expansion of high-quality public charter school networks. 

    Other organizations began studying the impact of charter schools. One prominent research center, the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), was established in 1999 with the goal of studying education policies. It became a leading authority on charter schools, and has conducted important studies on their performance and progress.

    Recently, cities from New Orleans to Denver to Camden, N.J. have launched common enrollment systems that make it easier for families to understand their options and to access high-quality charter schools. 

    Today, there are more than 6,900 public charter schools enrolling an estimated 3.1 million students in the U.S.


    Charter Friends National Network
    NewSchools Venture Fund
    Charter School Growth Fund
    Evaluation of the Public Charter Schools Program: Year One Evaluation Report Executive Summary
    Education Evolving, Charter Friends National Network
    New Schools Venture Fund: Our History
    National Alliance for Public Charter Schools: Measuring Up
    NAPCS, A Closer Look at the Charter School Movement
    Bethany Gross, CRPE, Making School Choice Work Series Common Enrollment, Parents, and School Choice
    Michael D. Shear and Nick Anderson, “Obama Uses Funding to Pressure Education Establishment for Change,” Washington Post: 
    The Federal Charter School Program is passed to help states create and support charters