Senior Policy Fellow John LaPlante notes that Minnesota has been recognized for its pioneering role in the Charter School movement.

February 29, 2008

Minnesota is Best State for Charter Schools

by John La Plante

Here’s a #1 ranking that Minnesota can be proud of. According to an annual report card published by the Center for Education Reform, Minnesota has the strongest charter school laws of any state. That is, charter schools are more secure here, and have a better chance of having an effect on education than anywhere in any other state.

Under the center’s framework, a strong law is one that makes it relatively easy to start and operate a charter school, and have fiscal and legal independence from school districts. Incredibly, in some states charter school applicants must first secure the permission of the local school district within whose boundaries they will operate. That’s like making Burger King ask for permission to set up a store inside a McDonalds.

Minnesota gets credit for, among other things:

Giving charters legal and fiscal independence;
Not imposing a cap on the number of charters;
Allowing a variety of organizations to approve and oversee charters (in addition, of course, to the state department of education).
Despite the fact that the national charter school movement started in Minnesota, charter schools still face opposition from vested interests. In the Winter 2008 edition of Education Next, Ember Reichgott Junge describes how her support of charter schools was one factor in her loss to Keith Ellison in the Fifth District primary.