Minnesota passed the first charter school law in 1991, and the first charter school opened in St. Paul in 1992. Since then, 43 states and the District of Columbia have created charter legislation. States’ charter laws and regulations vary significantly.
In the 2013-14 school year, there were 6,465 charter schools nationally, serving 2.5 million students. According to the last figures released by the U.S. Department of Education, about 56% of charter schools are elementary schools, 24% are secondary schools and 20% serve both elementary and secondary students.
Minnesota Legislature: Resources on Minnesota Issues: Charter Schools
National Alliance of Public Charter Schools Dashboard: Students and Schools
National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education: Fast Facts
National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education: Number and enrollment of public elementary and secondary schools, by school level, type, and charter and magnet status: Selected years, 1990-91 through 2012-13
The Center for Education Reform: Charter School Law