MN Charter School Enrollment Continues to Grow

Minnesota’s Charter School Enrollment continues to grow according to the figures published by the MN Department of Education. According to the October 1, 2017 enrollment reports there were over 56,200 students enrolled in charter schools in grades K-12 – an increase of about 2,800 students over the previous year – despite the fact there is one less charter school in 2017-2018 . Charter schools now enroll 6.5% of K-12 students in Minnesota.

Demographically Minnesota’s charter schools continue to be more diverse than the overall public school population in the state.

  • 54% of charter school students qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch compared to 37% of all public school students.
  • 21% of charter school students are Limited English Proficient compared to 8% of all public school students.
  • 59% of charter school students are Minority Students compared to 33% of all public school students.

The one population in charter schools that is less than the state average is Special Education Students  – 13.5% in charter schools verses 14.1 % of all public school students.

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2018 Innovation Awards -Update

The Association is pleased to announce that 21 schools submitted applications for the 2018 MN Charter School Innovation Awards. The vast majority of applications are from charter schools that have not applied previously. The 2018 Awards will be given out during National Charter Schools Week – May 7-11, 2018.

The MN Charter School Innovation Awards were established the by Association’s Board in 2016 to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Minnesota’s Charter School Law. There are five categories of awards which coincide with the five innovative purposes defined for chartered public schools. The Awards are awarded annually during National Charter Schools Week.

 

2017-2018 Charter School Leadership Survey

Every two years the Association conducts the Minnesota Charter School Leadership Survey to collect information on the state and status of charter school leadership so that the Association can better support school administrators. The information from previous surveys has been extremely helpful in addressing public policy issues and in shaping the work of the Association with school directors.

The Survey asks questions in four areas: Basic Demographic Information, Professional Background and Experience, Work of the Director, and School Governance and Management. The Survey is based on the Charter School Leadership Survey developed by the Center for Reinventing Education at the University of Washington.

Charter School Boards – Role & Responsibilities

One of the topics the Association’s Board Governance Work Group grappled with over this past fall was the question of “What is the Role & Responsibilities of Boards in the Oversight of Student Performance, Achievement and Success?” In researching the question it was amazing to find how little has been written on the topic.

What the Work Group did find set in motion a vigorous discussion about the what achievement and success mean,  what factors are a part of measuring student performance, achievement and success. Ultimately the Work Group thought those issues need to be addressed by individual boards – but the discussion led to the defining of what the charter school board’s role and responsibilities are in the oversight of student performance, achievement and success.

The Work Group recommended a Policy Statement that can serve as a job description for boards and a blueprint for board education on the board’s role and responsibilities in the oversight of student performance, achievement and success.

The Policy Statement has been sent to Boards and School Directors of member schools.

 

The Cost of Authorizing Minnesota’s Charter Schools Report

In 2009, the Legislature enacted a number of amendments to Minnesota’s charter school law involving the authorizing of chartered public schools. Among the amendments was a new funding formula schools pay to authorizers to conduct their oversight responsibilities, and a requirement for authorizers to publicly account for the authorizing fees they collect from schools through an annual income and expenditure report submitted to the Commissioner of Education.

Annually, the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools compiles all of the authorizer income and expenditure reports submitted to the Commissioner to produce a comprehensive picture of the cost of authorizing chartered schools in our state.

The big picture shows that in FY17, authorizers as a group took in over $2.9 million in income, with expenditures of over $2.7 million, and that the average cost of authorizing was over $16,700  per school.

THE COST of AUTHORIZING MINNESOTA’S CHARTER SCHOOLS for FY 17 REPORT

A Growing Movement – Charter Enrollment

A Growing Movement is the title of a recently published report on America’s Public Charter School Enrollment. In 2016-2017, over 3,011,000 students or 6% of the nation’s 49,974,000 students attended a chartered public school.

Minnesota charter schools had an enrollment in 2016-2017 of 53,930 or 6% of the 874,830 public school students in the state.

According to the report St.Paul had the 34th largest charter school population in the nation with 12, 910 students, while Minneapolis had the 38th largest charter school population in the nation with 10,840 students.

The full report published by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools can be found HERE

MN Supreme Court Hears Education “Adequacy” Case

On Tuesday, the MN Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Cruz-Guzman vs State of Minnesota. The Plaintiffs in this case  claim that state action (open enrollment, charter schools, etc.) and inaction have led to segregated schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The argument before the Court was whether the issue of what is an “adequate education” is an issue for the courts, or whether what an “adequate education” is should be an issue for the legislature and the people.  The Plaintiffs believe courts should decide what is an “adequate education”, while the State believes it should be decided by the Legislature and the people.

For those who like watching court television shows – here is a Real Case.