What is a Charter School?
A charter school is a public school that receives public education funding and is open to all children in the state in which it is located. In general, a charter school is its own school district, nonsectarian, tuition-free, and governed by a Board of Directors elected by the parents and staff of the school. Minnesota passed the first charter school law in 1991 and saw the opening of the first charter school in the nation in 1992. Since 1991, over 40 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have laws allowing the creation of charter schools.
Minnesota Charter Schools are:
Publicly funded schools of choice:
Parnassus is a charter school in Minnesota and is authorized by Friends of Education and is funded on a per pupil basis.
Usually established by a group of founders:
Parnassus' foundering members are three parents who were interested in providing the best education available to their own children and to as many other students as possible. The lack of choices available for education excellence in the community became the driving force in the decision to have Parnassus be a K-12 school. See “Parnassus History.”
The governance can vary from charter school to charter school. Parnassus’ Board of Directors has a parent majority comprised of up to five parents, one licensed teacher teaching at the school, and one community member.
Focused on one specific philosophy:
Every charter school has its own mission and philosophy. Parnassus’ philosophy is that all students benefit from the highest standards of academic integrity and from a rigorous, content-rich, educational program that develops their intellectual capacity, personal character, and leadership skills. The school provides an environment that fosters academic excellence through the habit of discipline and thoroughness, the willingness to work, and the perseverance to complete difficult tasks. Through a defined traditional, classical curriculum grounded in the classical Trivium, students will be prepared to become active and responsible leaders and members of their community.
Created for a very defined purpose:
Parnassus desires to educate all students who enter our school, expecting nothing less than the best from each one. Parnassus is a fit for parents and students who wish to make a definite educational choice. Those students who will thrive at Parnassus are the ones who understand, and whose parents understand, the effort necessary to attain a classical education. Parents and students not in agreement with the mission, philosophy, and policies of the school may not be able to adhere to the stated policies of the school. In such cases, a different educational opportunity may be more appropriate.