CSDC Celebrated the 20th Anniversary of Chartering with its National Pioneers!
(Hanover, MD, October 15, 2012) Educators, advocates, policymakers and business leaders who helped pioneer the charter school movement, both in the District of Columbia and nationally, recently came together at a special reception hosted by the Charter Schools Development Corporation (CSDC) to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this revolutionary education movement.
The reception, which took place overlooking the nation’s Capitol, marked the national launch of former Minnesota State Senator and CSDC Board Vice Chair Ember Reichgott Junge’s book Zero Chance of Passage: The Pioneering Charter School Story. Co-published by CSDC, the book recounts the birth of the movement in Minnesota, tracks its transformative expansion across the nation, and looks forward to the fundamental impact this rapidly growing public school choice option will have on American K-12 education as the movement embarks on the next twenty years.
Reichgott Junge candidly shared with guests personal details of her challenging journey as an original champion of chartered schools, the tumultuous legislative passage of the nation’s first charter law in Minnesota twenty years ago, and chartering’s subsequent explosion onto the national stage. In her remarks the author saluted visionaries like Will Marshall of the Progressive Policy Institute, Al From of the Democratic Leadership Council, Andy Rotherham, Cofounder and Partner of Bellweather Education, and Josephine Baker, founding chair of the DC Public Charter School Board, for their early contributions in supporting the charter school movement.
With 600,000 children on charter school waiting lists nationwide, the need for affordable, high quality facilities was a central theme of the evening. “We have a lot of work to do. Finding and financing safe and inspiring facilities remains a big challenge to scaling the movement to a point where there are enough student seats in chartered schools to accommodate all those children on waiting lists,” said Reichgott Junge.
Chartered schools with their tuition-free, open-enrollment policies, are supported by both presidential candidates and supported by two-thirds of Americans, according to recent surveys. Chartered schools, untethered from the one-size-fits-all district structure, have greater flexibility to innovate in exchange for greater accountability for student achievement. It’s no exaggeration to say that chartered schools are transforming public education by showing what is possible.
Charter Schools Development Corporation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) focused exclusively on the facility and financing needs of charter school organizations, and specializes in assisting new schools, schools serving predominately low income students, and schools in communities with poor performing traditional schools. CSDC helps charter school entrepreneurs and leaders finance, build, expand and replicate their school models, turning educational visions into reality, with the goal of ultimately improving student achievement by increasing school choice and catalyzing competition within the American K-12 public education system.