The Education Evolving Blog

July 18, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

On July 1, 2016, Ramsey County District Court Judge, Shawn Bartsh ruled that the Board of Teaching was in contempt of court for failing to resume the “Licensure via Portfolio” program that they had abruptly discontinued in 2012 due to “budget constraints.” Judge Bartsh had previously ruled in that the Board must restart its alternative-licensing program, primarily for out-of-state teachers.

The lawsuit, brought against the Board in April 2015 by Nathan Sellers and Rhyddid Watkins on behalf of their teacher...

June 27, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

When Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to replace the much maligned No Child Left Behind (NCLB) educators were left with two questions: How much power would the US Department of Education (USDE) actually hand off to the states to set their own accountability standards, and how would the states use that new power to change the way schools would be evaluated for effectiveness? The questions are of special interest to charter school advocates, who have complained for years that NCLB’s focus on standardized testing discouraged the kind of innovative pedagogy chartering was...

June 21, 2016 · By John Kostouros

The Minnesota Association of Charter Schools (MACS) has published the criteria it will use for the first Minnesota Charter School Innovation Awards Program. The contest is open to all Minnesota charter schools. The application form as well as an informational webinar are available on the MACS website.

The award program, the first of its kind in Minnesota, was created to showcase some of the most innovative practices being used in Minnesota’s charter schools—and also to focus attention on the important...

May 12, 2016 · By John Kostouros

Prior to 2009, when legislators made major changes to the law regulating school chartering in Minnesota, more than 50 school districts, colleges and nonprofits had agreed to serve as what were then called “sponsors” for new charter schools. Today that number is down to 24, with several stating their intention to discontinue acting as what are now called “authorizers.” Why the drop in organizations willing to serve this critical role, and what does the drop mean for the future of chartering in Minnesota?

Eugene Picollo, head of the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools, attributes...

April 11, 2016 · By John Kostouros

In 1991 Minnesota was the first state to approve school chartering as a strategy for improving public education. This new, 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 would be helpful to provide a 10,000-foot overview of the sector today in Minnesota.

By law, Minnesota’s chartered schools are tuition free; may not require entrance exams or requirements; and must accept all students up to capacity. If there are more applicants than slots, the school must conduct a...

April 1, 2016 · By Curtis Johnson

In the aftermath of the knockdown the Administrative Law Judge gave to the Minnesota Department of Education last week over its proposed rule change that would have swept charter schools into the regulations on desegregation, it would be easy for the chartered sector to breathe a long sigh of relief. And consider the matter closed.

That would be wrong.

It’s important to remember there are two fully distinct challenges to charter schools under...

March 29, 2016 · By John Kostouros

For years charter school advocates have complained about regulatory overreach by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) leading to a gradual loss of the freedom to operate differently than traditional district schools. Those complaints grew louder last year when MDE issued a proposed rewrite of the rules governing the Achievement and Integration for Minnesota Act.

MDE’s proposed rules would have, for the first time, required charter schools to create an “achievement & integration plan” if they...

March 25, 2016

This week we at Education Evolving begin a multi-pronged effort to help Minnesotans and others interested in the evolution of school gain a broader understanding of the role chartering is playing in improving public education in 2016.

The effort begins with a white paper revisiting the purpose set out in the original law: to create a new, more entrepreneurial sector of public education that can develop innovative, more effective strategies for educating students, organizing schools and evaluating student...

February 24, 2016 · By Ted Kolderie

We in Education Evolving (E|E) seem to be identified with ‘innovation’; less, though, with what innovation is than with the thorny question of how to get it to happen. If pressed ourselves to define our role we’re likely to say it’s “to increase the system capacity for change”.

For years those of us involved have worked to improve the incentives in public K-12 . . . defining ‘incentive’ as a reason combined with an opportunity. Success requires both. If organizations get an opportunity to change but no reason to use that opportunity, nothing happens. Give them a reason to...

January 29, 2016 · By John Kostouros

A new research report concludes that while chartered public schools have become a significant force for improvement in public education since their beginning in Minnesota in 1991, the charter sector needs to grow and become more innovative if it is to to help the country raise student achievement to levels demanded by the global economy. Chartered schools now number over 6,700 nationwide, with 2.9 million students in 43 states and the District of Columbia; with waiting lists totaling more than one million.

“Simply put, the sector needs to be better, broader, and bigger, which will...

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Special Series

Chartering in Minnesota will be a topic of focus on this blog in 2016. We'll cover the innovation occurring in the sector's schools, new starts and school closures, personnel changes, legislative and rule making activity, the authorizer review process, and more.

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