The Education Evolving Blog

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...

December 21, 2015 · By Curtis Johnson

Following several discussions about whether the education ‘industry’ was a suitable object for studying the effects of disruptive innovation, I recall Clayton Christensen showing up in October of 2005 at a breakfast meeting that Education Evolving was sponsoring in a small hotel near George Washington University in D.C..

That’s the morning he proposed writing what became the award-winning book Disrupting Class, asserting an inevitable impact new technology would have on an industry chronically resistant to...

November 11, 2015

Across the country, a growing number of educators are transforming student learning and the teaching profession in new ways through teacher-powered schools. More than 220 of these educators representing 23 states gathered in Minneapolis over the weekend for the first Teacher-Powered Schools National Conference.

The conference, produced by Education Evolving and the Center for Teaching Quality, kicked off with a tour of teacher-powered Avalon School in St. Paul, MN. The tour was followed by a mock meeting of the Avalon teacher team to demonstrate how the school is run and a question-...

April 15, 2015 · By Lars Johnson

E|E Associate Tim McDonald will give the keynote address at the pre-conference kickoff for the annual Wisconsin-based Innovative Schools Network (ISN) conference on April 29 in Wisconsin Dells. Senior Associates Curt Johnson and Bob Wedl will join a virtual panel to discuss the Split Screen concept and its essential role as a policy tool.

Tim’s book Unsustainable has become a strategic resource for ISN. The ideas, developed by Education Evolving and applied through this...

March 16, 2015 · By Lars Johnson

Last week I was on a call with the leader of a teacher-powered school. She told us candidly about her struggles with “collective autonomy.” On the one hand, she said, she fully wants to let teachers call the shots at her school. On the other hand, she is still formally the principal in the eyes of the district (per state and district rules, many teacher-powered schools are still required to have principals, even though those leaders are usually elected by the full teacher group). It’s hard to let others be in control, she said, when if something...

Pages

Subscribe to the Blog

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.

» See all blog posts in this series
» More about the coverage series