It’s been twenty-five years since Minnesota introduced chartering to America. In that time, the charter sector has gone from a disruptive innovation to the source of school choice for more than three million kids in over forty states. As we celebrate chartering’s silver anniversary, prominent thinkers are reflecting on what has been accomplished, what has been learned, and what the future may hold.
Richard Whitmire, author of the recently published The Founders: Inside the Revolution to Invent (and Reinvent) America’s Best Charter Schools, and Chester E. Finn, Jr., co-author of the forthcoming Charter Schools at the Crossroads: Predicaments, Paradoxes, Possibilities, came together for a lively, invigorating discussion of these key questions on October 12. What features have allowed some charter networks to produce breakthrough results while others have fallen short? How can we bring their success to scale and serve even more needy and deserving students? Is the success of the “no-excuses” model blinding us to other areas that might benefit from chartering, such as schools for high achievers, schools for the middle class, and schools focused on career and technical education? And will the foes of charter schools ever relent?