This thesis investigates the evolution of the charter school concept and the charter school movement from its inception in the 1970s to the present. Using legislative records, newspaper and journal articles, books, and various reports, it reveals the conditions in public education during the late 20th century that contributed to the emergence of charter schools, the ways in which Minnesota shaped and redefined the charter school concept into a model of public schooling that addressed the needs of public education, and the status of charter schools in the present. This thesis argues that the charter school concept was created in response to two important developments within public education: first, the call for school choice and second, growing concerns for the quality of public education in comparison with other global powers. While they were initially created as institutions of choice, charter schools underwent a significant legislative and political journey prior to the first charter school law in Minnesota. This caused them evolve away from this original charter school model. By the time charter schools reached the nation’s largest public schools system in New York City, they had become fundamentally different from their original design.


Baumgartner, Kabria




Education | History | United States History | Urban Education


History of Education, Charter Schools, Charter School Movement, Urban Education, Public Education

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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