MN was first to approve school chartering as a strategy for improving public education—this less regulated sector was to provide a space to try innovative strategies for teaching, learning and school organization. Now, 25 years in, we thought it helpful to provide a 10,000-foot overview of the sector today.
In the aftermath of the knockdown of the proposed rule that would have swept charter schools into the regulations on desegregation, it would be easy for the chartered sector to breathe relief—consider the matter closed. That would be wrong.
Having good definitions of the terms "student achievement" and "school quality" is important in our nation's quest to improve public education. But the two terms are often defined too simply, too narrowly, too controversially. This working memo puts forth our own deeper and broader definitions of these two important terms.
Public education now has two sectors: a district sector and a chartered sector. Chartering—and this two-sector arrangement in general—needs to be thought of as a strategy for change, not just a set of schools. Given flexibility, the chartered sector can and does generate the needed innovation, the necessary improvements in learning.
Teaching is the number one in-school factor affecting student outcomes. And a central part of the strategy for improving teaching involves better teacher preparation. With this report, we present our own contribution to that effort: we highlight essential elements and best practices for a new, different, and we believe better, teacher preparation program.