Following approval from the Minnesota Department of Education last month, the Minnesota Guild of Public Charter Schools became the first charter authorizer in the United States to be sponsored by a teachers union.

The Minnesota Federation of Teachers, with funding from the American Federation of Teachers, founded the guild, and the union's president, Lynn Nordgren, will serve on the guild's executive board, according to a press release. It will be the 26th approved charter authorizer in the state, according to a press release from the education department. Charter authorizers are designed to hold charter schools more accountabile, according the department, by meeting certain standards of quality and being responsible for the performance of their schools.

Authorizers must review a proposed school's mission, curriculum, achievement goals, governance structure, business plan and finances before it is approved by the state, the guild noted in its release. There are currently 154 charter schools open in Minnesota, according to the education department.

The union-sponsored guild "will be uniquely positioned to offer educators the chance to create schools with distinctive missions based on teacher expertise, autonomy and accountability for results," Nordgren, who led the effort to found the guild, said in a statement.

The guild says it will begin accepting applications for charter schools in January.