In order to increase learning opportunities and to allow for greater innovation in teaching practices, charter schools were formed in the 1990s. They were established as a means to establish a unique private school paid for with taxpayer dollars that would otherwise have gone to the local school district.
Chester E. Finn, an advocate for charter schools, postulates that the reform movements in American public education have failed because the method in which public schools operated in during the 1950s still exists today. Charter schools, unlike public schools, are market driven and can be closed for unsatisfactory results or lack of customer support.
Individuals opposed to the establishment of charter schools believe that charter schools drain funds from the public school system and only help promote the use of public funds to support religious schools. Closer examination does reveal that many charter schools did indeed originate from parochial institutions. Whether this relationship should be problematic is unknown. However, charter schools do resemble a de facto school choice plan. Despite charter schools operate with public funds, charter schools many times lack the public scrutiny in how public dollars for charter schools are spent.