The Minnesota legislature makes it possible for districts to create schools with charter-like independence and autonomy

This blog post originally appeared on the Education Innovating blog run by Education Evolving from 2010 to 2011. It has now been merged into our main blog.

In 2009 the Minnesota legislature created a new statewide platform for the creation of new schools. The Site-Governed Schools law allows for the creation of schools inside districts that enjoy the same autonomy and exemption from state regulation as schools in the chartering sector.

Education|Evolving contends that placing this authority in state law is critical to sustaining a district’s commitment to new and innovative schools through the political changes in district and city leadership.

School and teacher autonomy is spelled out explicitly in the law, leaving little to doubt and dispute. The teachers in schools created under the law may have significant control over who works there, what learning model is used, how the budget is allocated, and the schedule of the school days and year. These details are arranged through an agreement with applicants who wish to start and run one of these schools, and the schools are judged on results.

On Wednesday E|E partner Bob Wedl will talk about his experience helping Minneapolis teachers start their own Site-Governed School in that district, following the passage of the law in 2009. He will describe the challenges faced, and the energy and attitude of the teachers involved in putting together the first proposal.

Image: Minnesota House, Minnesota Legislature

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