Measuring Up



Minnesota

TOTAL SCORE:
56 out of 116

Rank: 16 out of 26

See a summary of the state’s charter law.

See additional observations about charters in the state and recommendations to support the growth of high-quality charter schools.

What is the state of charter schools in Minnesota?

GROWTH INDICATORS

 

 

Score


1. Public school share
 (2013–14)

6

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Number

Percentage

 

Public charter schools

149

7%

 

 


2. Public school student share
 (2013–14)

3

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Number

Percentage

 

Public charter school students

42,345

5%

 

 

3. Students by race and ethnicity (2012–13)

4

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

White

49%

74%

-25%

Black

27%

10%

17%

Hispanic

8%

7%

1%

Asian

14%

7%

7%

Other

2%

2%

0%

Total minority

51%

26%

25%

 

4. Students in special populations (2012–13)

4

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

Free and reduced-price lunch status

57%

37%

20%

Special education status

13%

13%

0%

English learner status

20%

7%

13%

Total special student populations

77%

44%

33%

 

5. Schools by geographic distribution (2011–12)

6

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

City

50%

18%

32%

Suburb

17%

24%

-7%

Town

9%

23%

-14%

Rural

24%

36%

-12%

Total nonsuburban

83%

76%

7%

 

6. Communities with more than 10 percent of students in public charter schools (2012–13)

2

weight = 1 | Possible total = 4

 

 

 

Number of communities with more than 10 percent of students in public charter schools

4

   
 

7. New public charter schools opened over the past five years  (2009–14)

3

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

2009–10

5

Average Annual Open Rate

3.1%

2010–11

1

2011–12

6

2012–13

4

2013–14

7

Total number

23

 

 

 

 

8. Public charter schools closed over the past five years (2008–13)

12

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

2008–09

4

Average Annual Closure Rate

3.5%

2009–10

5

2010–11

7

2011–12

4

2012–13

6

Total number

26

 

 

 

 
 

INNOVATION INDICATORS

 

 

Score

9. Public charter schools reporting use of various innovative practices (2011–12)

4

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

 

 

 

Extended day (30 minutes or more each day compared to traditional public schools)

27

Average

20%

Extended year (10 or more days compared to traditional public schools)

20

Year-round calendar

10

Independent study

22

School-to-work

13

Higher education courses

29

 
 

QUALITY INDICATORS

 

 

Score

10. Additional days of learning in reading (2007–11)

8

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

 

 

 

Number of additional days of learning in reading

14

 

 

 

 

11. Additional days of learning in math (2007–11)

4

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

 

 

 

Number of additional days of learning in math

-7

 

 

 

Items Reported But Not Scored

Startups versus conversions (2012–13)

 

Startups

Conversions

 

 

Percentage of a state’s public charter schools

99%

1%

 

 

 

Public charter schools that are independent, associated with a CMO, or associated with an EMO (2010–11)

 

Number

Percentage

 

 

Independent

147

99%

 

 

Charter management organization

1

1%

 

 

Education management organization

1

1%

 

 

 

Charter authorizers (2013–14)

 

Number of authorizers

Number of charter schools

Average number of charters per authorizer

Percentage of the state’s public charters authorized by this type of authorizer

Local education agency

7

10

1

7%

State education agency

Independent charter board

Noneducational government entity

Higher education institution

8

26

3

17%

Nonprofit

13

114

9

76%

 

Virtual public charter schools and students (2012–13)

Number of virtual public charter school students

914

 

 

Percentage of a state’s public charter school student population enrolled
in virtual charter schools

2%

 

 

Number of virtual public charter schools

5

 

 

Percentage of a state’s public charter schools that are virtual charter schools

3%

 

 

 

Health of the Movement Summary

Minnesota’s public charter school movement ranked #16 out of 26, scoring 56 points out of 116.

Minnesota scored relatively well on the following indicators:

    • Eighty-three percent of the state’s public charters were located in nonsuburban areas in 2011–12 as compared to 76 percent of traditional public schools.
    • Twenty-six public charters closed in Minnesota between 2008–09 and 2012–13, a 3.5 percent average annual closure rate.

Minnesota scored relatively low on the following indicators:

  • Only 5 percent of the state’s public school students were charter students in 2013–14.
  • Twenty-three public charters opened in Minnesota between 2009–10 and 2013–14, a 3.1 percent average annual open rate.1
  • On average, public charter school students exhibited lower academic growth in math when compared with traditional public school students between 2007–08 and 2010–11 (seven fewer days).

In addition to the above points, we also offer the following observations about the movement in Minnesota:

  • Seven percent of the state’s public schools were charters in 2013–14.
  • The state’s public charter schools served a significantly higher percentage of racial and ethnic minority students when compared with traditional public schools in 2012–13 (25 percentage points more).
  • Public charter schools in Minnesota served a significantly higher percentage of students in special populations when compared with traditional public schools in 2012–13 (33 percentage points more). More specifically, they served higher percentages of students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch (20 percentage points more) and English learners (13 percentage points more) and the same percentage of special education students.
  • Four communities in Minnesota had more than 10 percent of their public school students in charters in 2012–13.
  • An average of 20 percent of the state’s public charter schools reported using one of the six innovative practices that we tracked in 2011–12.
  • On average, public charter school students exhibited higher academic growth in reading when compared with traditional public school students between 2007–08 and 2010–11 (14 more days).
  • Ninety-nine percent of the state’s public charter schools were startups, and 1 percent were conversions during 2012–13.
  • In 2010–11, 99 percent of the public charter schools in Minnesota were independently managed, 1 percent were associated with a nonprofit charter management organization, and 1 percent were associated with a for-profit educational management organization.
  • As of 2013–14, seven local school boards had authorized 10 public charter schools (7 percent of the state’s total number of public charter schools), eight higher education institutions had authorized 26 public charter schools (17 percent), and 13 nonprofit organizations had authorized 114 public charter schools (76 percent).
  • There were five virtual public charter schools in Minnesota in 2012–13, serving 914 students (2 percent of the state’s public charter school population).

1The major reason that there was a slowdown in the number of new schools opening during this time was that the state’s overhaul of its public charter law in 2009 involved, among other things, that all authorizers be reviewed and reauthorized by the state department of education. There was a pause of more than one year when no schools were being approved to open because the state department of education was developing its criteria for reauthorizing authorizers and reviewing authorizers to determine whether they would be allowed to continue to authorize.

Recommendations

Minnesota has a relatively notable population of public charter schools and a relatively small population of public charter school students. Such students, on average, are performing better than their peers in traditional public schools in reading but not math, although it is important to note that the most recent student academic growth data available are from 2010–11.

While Minnesota’s public charter school law was ranked #1, the state of its movement was ranked #16, showing that there is sometimes a time lag between policy changes and the impact of those changes. Minnesota overhauled its law in 2009 and has been implementing these major changes since that time. For example, the 2009 legislation required all authorizers to be approved by the state department of education and reviewed every five years. Since then, the number of authorizers in the state has dropped from 48 to 27. In addition, 26 public charter schools closed between the 2008–09 and 2012–13 school years. In 2015, the state department of education will be reviewing the first cohort of authorizers approved under this legislation. We are optimistic that the overhaul to the state’s public charter school law in 2009 will yield stronger achievement results as more current data become available.

It is also important to note that Minnesota has developed a number of innovative charters, including the first public Montessori junior-senior high school in the state and one of the few public Montessori junior-senior high schools in the country, a number of “teacher-led” schools in which teachers who work in the school are a majority of the board members (similar to a farmer’s cooperative), and schools established by families of students with special needs.

To better support the growth of high-quality public charter schools, we encourage the state to change its law to provide more equitable funding and facilities support to charters. While the state provides charters with the same per-pupil allocation as other states and $1,314 per pupil for building expenses, significant gaps remain. We also encourage the state to increase the impact of the state’s movement by promoting the creation of innovative new schools, encouraging the replication and expansion of existing successful public charter schools, and ensuring that authorizers are closing chronically low-performing public charter schools.