The Education Evolving Blog

August 10, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

On August 8th, Governor Dayton announced that an additional 3,302 four-year old students in 64 school districts and 10 chartered schools, will have the opportunity to attend pre-kindergarten this fall for free due to an increase of $25 million in state funding approved during the 2016 legislative session.

The ten chartered schools will receive $1,966,342, or 7.8 percent of the funds, which will serve an estimated 237 students. The amount is roughly proportionate to the 7 percent of Pre-K students in the state served by...

August 2, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

On July 21st FUSE Charter School, which will open in Northeast Minneapolis in the fall of 2017, was announced as one of fifty finalists (down from an initial field of 700) for one of at least five $10 million grants from the national XQ Super School Project Competition.

Backed by Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, the competition seeks to identify at least five grantees (both school districts and individual schools can apply) that have reimagined how high school...

July 18, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

On July 1, 2016, Ramsey County District Court Judge, Shawn Bartsh ruled that the Board of Teaching was in contempt of court for failing to resume the “Licensure via Portfolio” program that they had abruptly discontinued in 2012 due to “budget constraints.” Judge Bartsh had previously ruled in that the Board must restart its alternative-licensing program, primarily for out-of-state teachers.

The lawsuit, brought against the Board in April 2015 by Nathan Sellers and Rhyddid Watkins on behalf of their teacher...

June 27, 2016 · By Krista Kaput

When Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to replace the much maligned No Child Left Behind (NCLB) educators were left with two questions: How much power would the US Department of Education (USDE) actually hand off to the states to set their own accountability standards, and how would the states use that new power to change the way schools would be evaluated for effectiveness? The questions are of special interest to charter school advocates, who have complained for years that NCLB’s focus on standardized testing discouraged the kind of innovative pedagogy chartering was...

June 21, 2016 · By John Kostouros

The Minnesota Association of Charter Schools (MACS) has published the criteria it will use for the first Minnesota Charter School Innovation Awards Program. The contest is open to all Minnesota charter schools. The application form as well as an informational webinar are available on the MACS website.

The award program, 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 also to focus attention on the important...

May 12, 2016 · By John Kostouros

Prior to 2009, when legislators made major changes to the law regulating school chartering in Minnesota, more than 50 school districts, colleges and nonprofits had agreed to serve as what were then called “sponsors” for new charter schools. Today that number is down to 24, with several stating their intention to discontinue acting as what are now called “authorizers.” Why the drop in organizations willing to serve this critical role, and what does the drop mean for the future of chartering in Minnesota?

Eugene Picollo, head of the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools, attributes...

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...

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