The charter movement has surged in the past three decades. Today, 6,000 charter schools in 42 states and the District of Columbia enroll 2.3 million students, with another million pupils on waiting lists.

Yet Virginia remains a backwater, with just five charter campuses.

Still haunted by the days of “massive resistance” to school desegregation, Old Dominion politicians have been leery of charters. Lawmakers from both parties ritually cite Article VII, Section 7 of the state Constitution, which declares, “supervision of schools in each school division shall be vested in a school board.”