The history of public charter schools begins in 1991, with a single state law in Minnesota. That’s the groundbreaking everyone is hearing about this year, as educators celebrate the 25th anniversary of a movement that today consists of 6,700 schools serving 3 million kids.
The Founders is not that story.
This is the history of high-performing public charter schools — the best of the best, the top 20 percent, the gamechangers. This story begins years later in California, spreads east through the unlikely collaboration of top school leaders, and stands apart for its success in guiding poor and minority children from kindergarten all the way through college graduation. This is the story of the visionaries who rewrote the rules — and how those same pioneers are now pushing to reinvent American education yet again.