It’s been nearly 30 years since charter schools were proposed as an alternative to public schools. Minnesota passed the country’s first charter school law in the early 1990s. Since then, charter schools have spread across the U.S. In Georgia, there were more than 86,000 students enrolled in public charter schools for the 2017-18 school year, according to the Georgia Charter Schools Association.
To look at the future of charter schools, we spoke with Jon Valant, a Brookings Institution fellow. Valant has researched charter schools around the country, including New Orleans, Louisiana, where the majority of public schools are now charter schools. Kennesaw State University economics professor Ben Scafidi also walked us through the history of charter schools in Georgia. Scafidi is the former chair of the Georgia Charter Schools Commission.