School Choice Week is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the diversity of educational options that are available to families and students. Minnesota has long standing policies that encourages and fosters educational choice. There are policies that facilitate Home-Schooling, Non-Public Schools and Public School Choices.
Home-Schooling has grown from 2,300 students in 1988 to almost 19,000 in 2016 in part because of the state’s approach to oversight of home-schooling. While Non-Public School enrollment continues to decline from a high of 174,000 in 1964 to just over 66,000 in 2016, Minnesota does provide Textbook, Testing, Health Services, Guidance & Counseling and Transportation Aid. And then, there is Shared Time Programs between non-public and public schools.
In the Public School realm there is Open-Enrollment, PSEO, Concurrent Enrollment, Chartered Schools, Alternative Learning Centers, voluntary Pre-K programs, and schools with specialized curriculum.
While there is almost universal belief in the concept of educational choice based on the fact that every student has different needs and interests, the disagreements among folks about school choice come down to three fundamental issues or questions.
- What should be the parameters of the choices?
- Who should have the choices?
- Who should pay for the choices?
These fundamental questions are the core of the debate with every new school choice proposal. Today, there are legislative proposals to expand and/or State Education Tax Credit/ Subtraction, create a tax credit for non-public school scholarships, promote and eliminate some restrictions on PSEO, to just name a few. How these proposals will fair only time will tell.
School Choice Week is a time to remember that school choice is very much a part of our Minnesota history and reality.
A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Leadership is indeed about taking action to shape a preferred future rather that looking around for someone, somewhere to uncover what might be someday. Martin Luther King Jr. was a genuine leader in that he shaped a vision for the future of American society that would recognize and celebrate the diversity and inclusion of all peoples no matter their race, color, or creed.
While we have not fully achieved that vision, we have made progress as a society beyond what Dr. King spoke of at the time “… we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics…”
The vision he laid out some 53 years ago, has become even more inclusive and diverse as our society has acknowledged our changing demographics and the contributions of folks that were previously forgotten or ignored. Today, the vision includes all men and women – black, white, brown, straight and gay, and people of non-Christian or Jewish faiths.
As we reflect on the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, our focus should be on how his shaping of a vision of a future American society has helped us move forward, and what our society would be like if he had been a searcher for consensus, rather than a molder of the future.
The question for all who are in leadership positions in education and beyond is are we searchers of consensus in our work, or are we molders and shapers of a vision for the future?If we are genuine leaders – we must be willing to take on the risks of taking action to mold and shape the future, and not sit on the sidelines searching for consensus.
MACS OFFICE CLOSED MONDAY, JANUARY 16th for the MARTIN LUTHER KING HOLIDAY
As people start getting their materials together to file their income tax forms, it is an appropriate time for schools to remind parents of the Minnesota K-12 Education Subtraction and Credit Programs. The subtractions and credits cover; fees for after school programs, tutoring by qualified instructors, music lessons, field trip expenses, and home computer and educational software, to mention some of the expenses that qualify.
Minnesota has two programs—the K–12 education subtraction and the K–12 education credit—to help families pay expenses related to their child’s kindergarten through 12th grade (K–12) education. More information about the subtraction and credit programs can be found at:
The Office of the MN Secretary of State today published the monthly list of vacancies on State Commissions, Boards and Advisory Committees. Among the vacancies that exist:
- 14 positions on the ONLINE & DIGITAL LEARNING COUNCIL,
- 1 position for a Elementary Principal on the BOARD OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS, and
- 1 position for a Classroom Teacher, and 1 position for a School Administrator on the BOARD OF TEACHING.
For more information on all of the available positions and/or to apply visit the MN Secretary of State’s website:
Charter school administrators and teachers are encouraged to consider applying for positions to ensure that there is a voice from the chartered school community at the table of these boards and advisory councils.
HAPPY NEW YEAR !
Today, the Minnesota Legislature convenes for the 2017 Session under Republican Leadership in both the House of Representatives and State Senate for only the second time in the last 40 years. As you may know, in odd-numbered years the legislature focuses on the state budget and major policy initiatives.
So what are the funding and policy priorities that the MN Association of Charter Schools will be seeking in 2017? This FRIDAY, JANUARY 6th @ 10:30 there will be a Webinar about the Association’s 2017 Legislative Priorities . Pre-registration is required.
LOOKING AHEAD – MARCH 8th – CHARTER SCHOOL DAY @ THE CAPITOL