The Education Evolving Blog

January 19, 2017 · By Krista Kaput

Yesterday, the Minnesota House of Representative’s Education Finance Committee, chaired by Representative Loon, convened to hear an overview on Minnesota charter schools. This was the first time since 2009 that the Committee had a meeting dedicated to the state’s charter schools.

The meeting began with testimony from Ember Reichgott Junge, a former democratic state senator and author of the state’s original 1991 charter school law.

Junge provided an overview of the history of chartering and made the point that the original law received bipartisan support and was the middle...

January 11, 2017 · By Krista Kaput

Last summer the 74, an education news nonprofit, published the book, The Founders, by Richard Whitmire. The book chronicles the history of charter management organizations (CMOs) and how they have brought “high-performing” chartered schools to scale throughout the country.

While some may question Whitmire’s narrow definition of high-performing (namely test scores), his book brings up a couple of questions about chartering for Minnesota: Why...

January 4, 2017 · By Krista Kaput

For the past five months, we have followed the development of Minnesota’s state accountability plan as mandated by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). While the US Department of Education (USDE) has defined what must be included in four of the plans' required indicators, states have the freedom to choose which measures they will include in their fifth indicator, of school quality/student success (SQ/SS).

As...

December 28, 2016

Two studies published by Education Next (EdNext) earlier this month conclude that parents seem to be happier with their children’s schools when they are able to choose them.

The first study was an analysis of data from the 2012 National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) survey, which was given to a representative sample of 17,166 households. In the survey, the US Department of Education asked parents about their satisfaction with their child’s school. While the data was...

December 22, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

On December 15, the US Department of Education (USDE) announced the launch of the Education Innovation Research (EIR) grant competition, which was established under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), for 2017. President Obama has requested $180 million for the program in his FY 2017 budget, though the money has not yet been appropriated.

The purpose of the bi-partisan grant competition is to support...

December 16, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

This post is the third in our series (see earlier posts June 27 and Sept. 21) on the progress that the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has made developing the state’s new accountability plan, as required under the year-old federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

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December 7, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

On December 6th, the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools (MACS) hosted a luncheon in St. Paul to honor the winners of the first Minnesota Charter School Innovation Awards. The award program, which is 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 to also focus attention on the important role innovation should be playing in the development of charter schools, according to MACS executive...

November 21, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

Every weekday morning at 8:20 am, Dr. Charvez Russell, executive director of Friendship Academy of the Arts (FAA), a K-6 charter school in the Longfellow neighborhood of South Minneapolis, joins his students in the cafeteria. He delivers a ten-minute inspirational message, drawing on books, articles, and recent events to extol the virtues of respect and leadership, and making sure to use animated hand gestures to engage the younger students.

The point of addressing the students, according to Dr. Russell, is to help students set aside the “backpack of challenges” many of them face at...

November 11, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

This blog post is the second in a two-part set on charter school facilities. Our first post was on the Minnesota lease aid program and “affiliated building corporations” (ABCs). This post will examine strategies and initiatives that other states have implemented.

One of the biggest challenges faced by chartered schools in Minnesota and in other states is...

November 8, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

On August 24th, we published a blog post about the challenges Minnesota charter schools face finding appropriate facilities. This piece expands on the topic with a deep dive into the financing of chartered school facilities in Minnesota.

If a Minnesota school district wants to buy or construct a building or make a capital improvement to an existing facility they can pay for it with property tax dollars or sell bonds. Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) plans...

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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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