A high-quality public education system has always been a hallmark of the state of Iowa. Historically, we have been a leader in K-12 educational outcomes, but our public school systems have slowly deteriorated over the last two decades.
In 2013, Mark Jacobs launched Reaching Higher Iowa (RHI) to advocate for educational reform. RHI successfully advocated for the implementation of universal statewide assessments aligned to academic standards.
The success of that advocacy work expanded to a new non-profit organization called Great Public Schools for Iowa (GPSI) in 2021. GPSI successfully advocated for the passage of a law allowing for public charter schools to be set up outside of traditional school districts. In July of 2023, GPSI hired Mike Huguelet as its first Executive Director. GPSI rebranded as the Iowa Coalition for Public Charter Schools and accelerated its mission statewide.
In its first year, the Iowa Coalition helped facilitate applications to launch 5 new public charter schools: 3 in Des Moines and 2 in Cedar Rapids.