Blog posts from 2016

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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