Bring the Story to Your State





Today over two million students attend public charter schools in 42 states and the District of Columbia. According to the September, 2012 Kappan/Gallup poll, over two-thirds of the American public supports chartering. Every presidential candidate—regardless of political party—has supported chartered schools since President Bill Clinton championed chartering twenty years ago.

Yet, more than twenty years after the first charter school law passed in 1991 in Minnesota, charter schools remain a mystery to many. Chartered schools are here to stay. But why? Why were chartered schools created in the first place? Why are there over 600,000 students on waiting lists for charter schools across the country? The origins of chartering, evolved from civic leaders, championed by Democratic lawmakers, and passed by a bipartisan coalition in the Minnesota legislature, have been lost. Myths dominate the conversation about chartering. The concerns raised by opponents to public school choice and chartering in Minnesota back in 1991 haven’t changed—they are the same objections and myths raised by opponents in every state around the country. And yet, chartered schools continue to grow in state after state.

Zero Chance of Passage, The Pioneering Charter School Story is the national award-winning book that is the seminal reference on the history of this unique and inspiring redesign of public education. Minnesota state senator Ember Reichgott Junge, the Democratic lawmaker who authored the law, candidly tells her personal and challenging journey of pioneering chartering through its early origins, its tumultuous legislative passage in Minnesota, and its explosion onto the national stage. It is the story of bipartisan lawmakers who took a stand for change, just as today’s lawmakers, charter school teachers and volunteer board leaders are taking a stand for change.

Sen. Reichgott Junge published her book last year for two reasons: to set the historical record straight and dispel the myths about chartering. There is no more important time to confront head-on the myths about chartering! That’s why Ember travels the country to help charter leaders tell the pioneering charter school story. Zero Chance of Passage is the primary tool. Charter school volunteer board members, school leaders, and teachers across the nation use the facts and messages gleaned from the origins to inform local media and policymakers, as well as prospective charter school families and students. They use the book to restart the conversation about chartering and inform its future for their community and state.

Invite Ember to your state! Contact her at or 612-750-1262.


“Thank you for visiting us. Your presentation was marvelous, and the audience clearly loved you.”
-Marguerite Most, Reference Librarian at Goodson Law Library, Duke Law School, Durham, North Carolina