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Revitalizing Public Education with Charter Schools

A superintendent and a former school board member from a Wisconsin school district wrote how chartered schools, because of autonomy from district leadership and state mandates, have revitalized public education. “Charter schools can expeditiously address the needs of today’s students in order to improve the quality of their lives for tomorrow,” they say.

The Need to Strengthen the Policy Framework for New Schools

Ted Kolderie speaks on five key challenges of creating new schools: 1) showing the public the need for new schools, 2) finding a place within law for new schools, 3) making state departments more open to changes, 4) finding strong authorizers for new schools, and 5) evaluating the new schools which are opening.

Education Finance: More money or different spending choices?

In policy debate the discussion about money is often about ‘how much?’ The conclusion is almost always: ‘Not enough!’ This report looks inside schools and districts at differences in how money is actually spent. It suggests that the size of school and district, the governance arrangement and the degree to which teachers are involved in decision-making influence the allocation of revenue to instruction.

Minnesota Now Reports Revenue and Expenditure by School

In 1999 the Minnesota Legislature required all revenue to be initially allocated by school. Boards may re-allocate, but schools and parents can now see how much money 'belongs' to the school as a result of the students enrolled.

Cost of Sponsoring MN Charter Schools

Chartering cannot work without quality sponsoring/authorizing. Quality sponsoring requires good systems, competent people and time. That means: money. We studied what it cost three Minnesota sponsors to review applications, develop contracts and oversee schools, over a three-year period.

The Valley Crossing School as a Precedent for Contracting

Three local districts in Minnesota’s metropolitan suburbs share an elementary school didn't build, don’t own and don’t themselves staff. The Valley Crossing school is a kind of virtual organization; a fascinating case in the use of contracts.

Electronics Technology for Public School Systems: A Superintendent’s View

George Young, in 1981 superintendent of St. Paul, foresaw technology as a tool not to replace teachers, but to help them do their jobs. Using technology to individualize education can reform a system where students are lumped into grades and instructed as a group regardless of their learning style and abilities.

Mother Teresa As a Charter School

Institutions other than public education have found it useful not to let the mission depend on just a single organization. Historically the Catholic Church has been one of these. There is the hierarchy, but there are also the orders.

District-Initiated Chartered Schools

Some districts see chartering as a part of their strategy for change and improvement. Here we review three Minnesota districts that authorize chartered schools: Faribault, Hopkins and Waseca. The 'common market' approach of pooling courses, facilities, programs and transportation of district, chartered, private and home schooling in Faribault is particularly striking.

Trend Accelerating Toward an ‘Open Sector’ in Public Education.

A policy brief providing an update on the current status of chartered schools and charter-ing in Minnesota. Includes the latest statistics on the charters that are operating in the 2004-2005 school year, information on the most recent round of charter approvals, an update on Minnesota’s growing cadre of sponsors and more.

Restructuring Our High Schools for the 21st Century: Creating ‘Grade 11-13’ Schools

Currently, students are held until 12th grade even if they can move faster. The Minnesota Post-secondary Enrollment Options Program (PSEO) showed that bright high school students can do well with college-level work. The Grade 11-13 model goes even further, restructuring both high school and the first year of college, un-duplicating the curriculum.

Essentials of the Charter School Strategy

A quick summary of the essentials of the charter idea, written in 1994, is still basically applicable today.

Sponsoring Charters: A Resource Guide for Minnesota Authorizers

A guide for charter school authorizing, from the decision to authorize through contract development. It covers how to assist and oversee the school, and clarifies the relationship to and duties of the state department of education, the sponsor and the board of the chartered school. It also explains the 'Sponsor-Initiated School,' whereby an authorizer actively solicits new school proposals.

Resisting the Temptation to Comprehensive Action

Consider a given public policy problem. Everyone sees the problem is complex. From this comes an impulse to control all its elements. Everyone sees the importance of improvement. From this comes an impulse to command improvement. Together these produce the 'blueprints' we so often see: lists of actions all of which must be taken, in a certain order, over a period of time. But in the public sector blueprints usually fail. Mechanisms of "mutual adjustment" usually work better.

School Boards and Teachers Have Choices, Too

In K-12 policy discussions, "choice" usually implies family choice. But school boards and teachers have options, too. Boards can choose to authorize chartered schools, which may be easier than trying to change their existing schools. And, teachers can choose to form teacher professional partnerships in their schools.

Evaluating Chartering: Assessing Separately the Institutional Innovation

In scaling-up the charter 'movement' it's essential to see the distinction between the schools and the strategy of chartering.

New Dimensions of Sponsorship

Since the late 1990s, there’s been growing discussion about the sponsor’s role – in the ongoing oversight as well as in its initial approval. This paper explores whether sponsors might also play an active role in soliciting proposals.

States are Creating a Non-District Sector of Public Education

Essentially with chartering the states are creating a new sector within the framework of public education—different both from the district sector and from private education. This graphic shows the two sectors of public education, as distinguished from private education.

Un-Bundling the School: New Options for the Way Learning is Organized and for the Way People Work

Lots of high-performing ‘organizations’ are arranged as a bundle of contracts rather than in the classic ‘public bureau’ framework. Ted Kolderie explains, with examples, and with a discussion of the implications for schools and for the arrangements in K-12.

North St. Paul District Trims Its Budget

A common concern is that rising costs, not covered either by increases in revenue or by improvements in productivity, lead the districts to reduce the scope or quality of the program available. Here E|E looks at what happened in a district near Saint Paul after its 'budget crisis' appeared in the news.

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