May 5, 2013

Charter school pioneer visits Maine, will speak at USM

AUGUSTA – A former Minnesota lawmaker who sponsored the nation’s first successful charter school law is visiting Maine, which became the 41st state to enact charter school legislation in 2011.

Maine now has two operating charter schools, and three may open next fall.

Former Democratic Minnesota Sen. Ember Reichgott Junge, whose charter school law passed in 1991 in her state, will be in Maine to help celebrate National Charter Schools Week in the state. She’ll speak at the University of Southern Maine on Sunday afternoon.

Gov. Paul LePage has championed charter schools since his 2010 campaign. Current state law says that no more than 10 public charter schools can be authorized to open within 10 years. Charter schools create innovative educational settings for students who don’t fit into the public schools.

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