Charter schools were developed according to three basic values: opportunity, choice, and responsibility for results. In 1991 Minnesota passed the first public charter school law, with Ohio following suit in 1997. By 1995, 19 states had signed laws allowing for the creation of charter schools, and by 2003 that number increased to 40 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. Charter schools are one of the fastest growing innovations in education policy, enjoying broad bipartisan support from governors, state legislators, and past and present secretaries of education. In his 1997 State of the Union Address, former President Clinton called for the creation of 3,000 charter schools by the year 2002. In 2002, President Bush called for $200 million to support charter schools. His proposed budget called for another $100 million for a new Credit Enhancement for Charter Schools Facilities Program. Since 1994, the U.S. Department of Education has provided grants to support states’ charter school efforts, starting with $6 million in fiscal year 1995.
Ohio passed charter school legislation in 1997 calling these public schools -- Community Schools -- are part of the state’s system of public education, offering an education that is equivalent to that of Ohio’s traditional public schools approved by the state department of education. Community schools are public nonprofit, nonsectarian schools that operate independently of any school district but under a contract with an authorized sponsoring entity that is established by statute or approved by the Ohio Department of Education. Community Schools are public schools of choice and are state and federally funded.
There are three types of charter schools: traditional (K-12), special education, and dropout recovery and prevention. Traditional (K-12) schools provide age-based learning dependent on grade level. Special education programs are designed for those with a specifically documented disability that has a significant and adverse effect on the ability to learn. Dropout recovery school are intended to find students who have dropped out of school and to assist them in completing additional education. In Ohio, charter schools can open in any community.