After Minnesota authorized charter schools in 1991, a group of veteran teachers founded City Academy in St. Paul. It became the first publicly funded charter school in 1992. A quarter-century later 43 states and Washington, D.C. permit charter schools to operate. Charters are innovative ways to govern, fund, and organize public schools.
Using public monies and free of many state and district regulations, these schools have grown in a quarter-century from a handful to nearly 7000 across the U.S (there are about 100,000 public schools in the nation); they serve about 3 million students (over 50 million attend public schools). Largely found in urban districts (57 percent of all charter schools), these schools enroll mostly Hispanic and black students (total of 59 percent) charters. To those nay-sayers that often point to U.S. public schools as tossing aside reform after reform, Charter schools are a success story.
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