Gadfly mourns the passing of Ray Budde, an education professor at the University of Massachusetts who defined the term "charter school" and helped to spark the movement that continues to this day. As someone who took a strong interest in "the way things are organized," Budde set his sights on restructuring the top-down education system in his 1974 paper, "Education by Charter." By giving groups of teachers "educational charters," he hoped to "remove power from most central office positions and direct funds directly to schools." The paper generated little fanfare until it was republished in 1988 and widely disseminated. The idea slowly spread. Union head Al Shanker endorsed Budde's  concept, and Minnesota and California soon implemented pilot programs. Charters would expand far beyond Budde's original plans, but his basic notions pervade. An original thinker whose ideas helped thousands of kids receive a better education, he catalyzed a movement and will be missed.

"Ray Budde and the origins of the 'charter concept,'" by Ted Kolderie, Education|Evolving, July 3, 2005

"Educator who coined phrase 'charter schools' dead at 82," Associated Press, June 21, 2005

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