Developed by Public Schools Redefinition Act of 1991 (Not Passed)
Sponsor of Joe Lieberman
Start Date 1991-00-00
Notes The Public Schools Redefinition Act of 1991 On July 31, 1991, Durenberger was joined by his colleague, U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT), who both introduced the first federal charter school bill, The Public Schools Redefinition Act (PSRA). 56 According to private communications between, Durenberger and Lieberman, both “were interested in revealing the hidden costs of district schools and saw chartering as a way for schools to have more control over spending”.57 Lieberman also shared Durenberger’s view that federal support could spur efforts to expand charter legislation across the country, particularly in his home state of Connecticut. The bill language was a reflection of both Senator’s aspirations to allow for national charter expansion, according to Bulkey and Fisher: The founding legislators were purposefully brief in their definition of charter schools and of state charter school law so the individual states and the schools they authorize could determine how objectives would be met. The loose definition provided the opportunity for each state to develop their own legislation. Charter schools can be broadly characterized as publicity funded schools that students can choose to attend.58 The bill allowed the federal government to distribute grant funding to State Educational Agencies (SEA) for the purposes of conducting an “outcome-based public school program” and entering into an outcomes agreement.”59 Like many bills, the first iteration of the PSRA was a longshot to pass through Congress. However, it was a critical step towards securing federal support for charter schools. According to Durenberger’s Legislative Director, Jon Schroeder, introducing the PSRA: would open the door to cosponsors, statements in the Congressional Record, hearings, press would create a bully pulpit where they could invest time in the issue, talk with people, and build support for the idea in Minnesota and around the country.60