One of the hallmark innovative education policies that Minnesota led the nation in implementing was Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) for high school students.

While PSEO is about creating new learning opportunities for young people (earning college credits while in high school) there has been and continues to be opposition to providing these opportunities to students.

There are a number of reasons given for that opposition, including – some who oppose it on philosophical grounds that students are not mature enough, while others oppose PSEO for very practical reasons, the impact on high school budgets.

Whatever the reason, access to Post-Secondary Enrollment Opportunities have not been made available to some students, while others have no even been made aware of these potential opportunities.

Over the years there have been legislative efforts to address the barriers that have been erected to limit student access to Post-Secondary Enrollment Opportunities.

Given the one of the primary purposes of chartered public schools is to create new learning opportunities for students, the chartered public school community needs to be a leading proponent of expanding post-secondary enrollment opportunities for Minnesota’s high school students.

For more information about the work and legislative agenda of click here PEOPLE for PSEO.


Chartered Public Schools – Centers of Innovation?

The underlying concept of chartered public schools was and still is unleashing education from the conventions (laws, rules and regulations) that inhibit education from being innovative. Minnesota’s charter school law laid out the areas that legislators expect chartered public schools to be innovative – new learning opportunities for students, teaching methods, ways of measuring outcomes, forms of accountability, and professional opportunities for teachers.

The charge from the legislature was that chartered public schools would be centers of innovation for public education. To be a center of innovation requires that the school have a culture conducive to innovation.

In the January/February 2019 issue of the Harvard Business Review there is a great article entitled “The Hard Truth About Innovative Cultures”. In the article the author outlines five truths/characteristics about true innovative cultures. 1] Tolerance for Failure but No Tolerance for Incompetence. 2] Willingness to Experiment but Highly Disciplined. 3] Psychologically Safe but Brutally Candid. 4] Collaboration but with Individual Accountability. 5] Flat but Strong Leadership.  To create and sustain a culture of innovation the author suggests is One Part Creativity and One Part Discipline. People often only focus on the Creativity part of the equation.

Charter schools need to examine their organizational cultures with these characteristics in mind because every charter school is to be about experimentation and innovation – not as a one-time event or statement – but as an ongoing element of the school’s purpose.  The whole idea was and is that innovation will improve student learning, achievement and success.   Given the purpose of chartered public schools – one has to ask whether schools that do not have a culture of innovation, and are not centers of innovation in education should be charter schools.