IT’S A BITTERSWEET WAY to celebrate the 25th birthday of this state’s education reform law.

But as we approach the quarter-century mark for the landmark law that made Massachusetts the recognized national leader in K-12 education and brought charter schools into being here, the Bay State’s charter school sector is focused on repairing frayed political ties, rebuilding its reputation, and redefining its mission.

Considered a smashing success story nationally, Massachusetts charters found themselves bashed as a drain on traditional public schools in the 2016 charter school ballot-question campaign. And even, in the fevered imaginings of some charter opponents, as the cat’s paw of “corporate” reformers supposedly hell-bent on the privatization of public education. A big campaign-finance violation by a key pro-charter-campaign funding group added image-injuring impropriety to the ideological attacks. For those aware of how hard idealistic charter educators work, it’s been a sad period.

To be sure, there are some bright spots. This fall, Phoenix Charter Academy will open a high school for those who have previously dropped out or are at risk of doing so, to serve students in Lawrence, Haverhill, and Methuen. Map Academy Charter School will start a similarly focused high school to serve Plymouth, Carver, and Wareham.