Charter Schools Movement State Timeline
Minnesota is the birthplace of chartering. That’s why the Founders Library chose to capture oral histories of Minnesota founders, including former State Senator Ember Reichgott Junge and Ted Kolderie, the thought leader of chartering.
Ray Budde presents “Education by Charter: Restructuring School Districts” paper to Society for General Systems Research.
President Ronald Reagan’s National Commission on Excellence in Education publishes A Nation at Risk.
January 1983: Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich is inaugurated for second, nonconsecutive term.
Fall 1984: Minnesota Business Partnership includes “choice” in its proposal for K–12 education reform.
January 1985: Perpich proposes “Access to Excellence” education reform agenda, including postsecondary enrollment options (PSEO) and open enrollment.
January 29, 1985: AFT president Albert Shanker delivers National Press Club speech proposing a national certification system to move teaching toward a profession.
June 27, 1985: Perpich signs PSEO into law.
Attempt to repeal PSEO fails in the Minnesota Legislature.
Minnesota Legislature passes voluntary open enrollment into law.
The Citizens League creates a policy committee to develop education reform proposals.
March 31, 1988
Shanker introduces the charter school idea to the National Press Club.
Minnesota Legislature passes statewide mandatory open enrollment into law.
July 10, 1988
Shanker writes “A Charter for Change,” a New York Times column about charter schools.
October 2–5, 1988
Itasca Seminar, hosted by the Minneapolis Foundation, focuses on public education; Shanker is a featured speaker.
December 15, 1988
Citizens League releases report urging the creation of charter schools.
January 1989: Senator Ember Reichgott Junge introduces the first chartering bill to Minnesota Legislature.
March 6 and April 4, 1989: First public hearings on chartering in the Minnesota Senate.
September 27–28, 1989: President George H. W. Bush invites the nation’s governors to Education Summit to establish national education goals.
February 25, 1990: The National Governors Association issues recommendations to address a “major crisis in education.”
Spring 1990: Wisconsin Democratic Representative Polly Williams obtains legislative approval of a private school voucher program for low-income Milwaukee families.
July 1990: Ted Kolderie sets out fundamentals of chartering in paper entitled, The States Will Have to Withdraw the Exclusive.
November, 1990: Will Marshall of the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) teams with Kolderie to publish the PPI Policy Report Beyond Choice to New Public Schools: Withdrawing the Exclusive Franchise in Public Education.
November 6, 1990: Minnesota Republican Governor Arne Carlson is elected, defeating DFL incumbent Perpich.
December 1990: A new draft of charter school legislation emerges from a working group, headed by Commissioner of Education Tom Nelson.
March 7, 1991: Senator Ember Reichgott Junge introduces revised chartering bill into Minnesota Senate.
March 11, 1991: Representative Becky Kelso introduces a revised chartering bill into the Minnesota House.
March 20, 1991: Hearing in subcommittee of Senate Education Committee; chartering provisions later incorporated into Senate omnibus education funding bill.
April 10, 1991: Hearing in House Education Committee; no vote taken.
May 6, 1991: Governor Bill Clinton presents “New Democratic Agenda” in keynote address at the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) national convention, promoting more public school choice options.
May 7, 1991: DLC convention delegates pass resolution entitled “Making Public Education Work,” which includes language describing a charter school.
May 10–17, 1991: Conference committee meets on omnibus education funding bill.
May 17, 1991: Conference committee adopts compromised chartering provisions as part of final omnibus education funding bill.
May 18, 1991: Final house vote on omnibus education funding bill.
May 20, 1991: Final senate vote on omnibus education funding bill.
May 22, 1991: US Senator David Durenberger enters statement in record of US Senate lauding the Minnesota Legislature for passing chartering legislation.
June 4, 1991: Carlson signs omnibus education funding bill into law, including the chartering provisions.
June 5, 1991: Clinton, DLC chair, issues press release announcing passage of chartering legislation in Minnesota.
July 31, 1991: Durenberger introduces “Public School Redefinition Act of 1991” into the US Senate, the precursor to the federal chartering grant program, which would be passed in 1994.
November 18, 1991: The Winona School Board approves the Bluffview Montessori Charter School proposal, the first charter request to be presented and approved.
December 10, 1991: The Minnesota State Board of Education approves the Bluffview Montessori Charter School proposal; the school would open in the fall of 1993.
December 1991–January 1992: Local and state boards approve the Toivola-Meadowlands Charter School proposal; the school would open September 7, 1993.
January 24, 1992: US Senator Ted Kennedy accepts the chartering concept as proposed by Durenberger and Senator Joe Lieberman into S2, the Senate’s education act.
February 1, 1992: California assembly and Senate Education Committee chairs propose two chartering bills at a press conference.
April 2, 1992: An amendment to repeal Minnesota chartering legislation fails by nine votes in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
May 1, 1992: The DLC invites Senator Ember Reichgott Junge to introduce chartering to national audience at 1992 Democratic Leadership Conference.
June 9, 1992: The Minnesota State Board of Education approves the City Academy charter school proposal following approval by the St. Paul School Board.
August 10, 1992: The Minnesota State Board of Education approves the Metro Deaf charter school proposal following approval by the Forest Lake School Board.
September 7, 1992: City Academy opens as the first charter school in the nation.
September 20, 1992: Governor Pete Wilson signs legislation into law authorizing 100 charter schools in California.
October 1992: Democratic presidential nominee Clinton endorses chartering in national televised debate.
November 3, 1992: Clinton is elected president of the United States.
December 7, 1992: PPI releases Mandate for Change as blueprint for the Clinton-Gore presidency, with chartering as one of three recommendations for “Educating America.”
--Source: Zero Chance of Passage: The Pioneering Charter School Story, by Ember Reichgott Junge