Some thirty years ago in an era when public education was seen as being somewhat stuck and static the concept of chartered public schools was proposed as a way to reimagine schooling. Chartered public schools would be outcomes based and focused on innovation in programming, teaching methodologies, assessment techniques, evaluation processes, and redefining the professional development, the role and power of educators in managing the school.
Today, we are in another era where there is growing recognition that public education must address the historical barriers to an equitable and quality education for many students, while also dealing with the inequities brought upon by a pandemic. If the pandemic has demonstrated anything is that public schools and educators have the capacity to meet new challenges. The challenge ahead is a daunting one. Public education is being called upon to reimagine how it must be different to be more equitable in a post-pandemic world.
What that reimagined public education ecosystem might look like is yet to be defined. What we do know is that it will require a renewed commitment to creating and sustaining a culture of innovation and a commitment to re-empower educators to take the lead in education.
For charter schools the upcoming 30th anniversary of Minnesota’s first in the nation chartered public school law provides an opportunity to reflect on how the movement has or has not reimagined schooling. It provides a time to renew the commitment to innovation and empowering educators to lead and act to ensure that each-and-every individual student has an equitable opportunity to a quality education to achieve their potential.