Charter schools are publicly funded, independently operated schools that are allowed to operate with more autonomy than traditional public schools in exchange for increased accountability. In 1991, Minnesota became the first state to pass a charter school law. Today, 42 states and the District of Columbia have similar laws. The National Charter School Resource Center is committed to providing high-quality and balanced resources for the charter school community. The Understanding Charter Schools focus area provides a range of resources that outline the basics about charter schools, review the findings from rigorous studies about charter school performance, and highlight profiles of successful charter schools.