Minnesota Parents Speak to the Power of Charter Schools

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Student and parent walking out of school

A recent column for the Morrison County Record in Minnesota featured the unique voices of parents whose children attend Minnesota's suburban and rural charter schools. 

See what they had to say about their innovative public schools:

“[Our school] has been a life-saver for him. … He’s one of the kids who slipped through the cracks. We’ve gone from a sullen kid who doesn’t smile much to a youngster who is excited about school and has many friends.”

- Melissa Sondrol, Northwest Passage High School parent

“[My daughter] was able to give one of my daughters an IEP after years of fighting the public school system to get her IEP meeting. Within 30 days of starting PACT, she had a full education plan set up and services started to help her reach her full potential.”

- Catherine Gallo, PACT Charter School parent

“I enrolled my daughter at Swan River Montessori in Monticello so she could get a hands on education that embraces her curiosity and challenges her academically. The school staff go above and beyond and have been simply wonderful. My child has flourished in the Montessori environment and we are thankful to be part of the Swan River family.”

- Amanda Glunz, Swan River Montessori parent

The column also featured key findings from a recent report by the Center for School Change. Here are some of the findings about Minnesota's charter and district school demographics: 

  • Minnesota’s charter schools serve a higher percentage of students from low-income families, students of color, and students for whom English is a second language than district schools.
  • About half of charter public school enrollment is in suburbs and greater Minnesota.
  • K-12 enrollment at charter schools in the last 18 years grew from 10,162 in 2001 to 61,944 in 2019. Meanwhile traditional enrollment went from 831,535 to 806,055. Though the majority of students are enrolled in district schools, there is steady movement into charter schools when given the option.


Joe Nathan is the director of the Center for School Change. Read his original piece in the Morrison County Record