About Charter Schools
The first charter school was created when Minnesota’s legislature passed the first charter law in 1991. The first charter school opened in 1992.
A small group of educators and policy makers who believed that public schools should be held accountable for student achievement made that law and school possible. They developed the charter school model to create this accountability. In exchange for accountability, school leaders should be given freedom to do whatever it takes to help students achieve. That idea is the core of the charter school model.
Charter schools are always public schools. They never charge tuition, and they accept any student who wants to attend. Charter laws require that students are admitted by a random lottery drawing in cases too many students want to enroll in a single charter school. Charter schools must also meet the state and federal academic requirements that apply to all public schools.
In the last 20 years, most states across the nation have recognized that there is a critical need to try new and innovative approaches to improving student achievement in our public schools, while holding all public schools accountable for how students learn. Public charter schools deliver this combination of achievement and accountability. They have the flexibility to try innovative ways of improving learning with the goal of sharing what works with the broader public school system so that all students benefit.