The first charter school in the nation was started 20 years ago by St. Paul Public Schools. On Tuesday, the Minnesota school board voted unanimously to get out of the charter business.
The move is the result of new, rigorous requirements placed on charter school authorizers by the Minnesota legislature, and the school board is inviting its six district-sponsored charter schools to consider becoming "self-governed schools," under a new model that gives them some flexibility within the district structure.
The decision isn't a declaration of failure for the charter movement trailblazer, but it begs attention when the nation's first charter district decides to get out of the business. The value of maintaining the charter schools is clearly outweighed by the St. Paul district's other priorities.