Minnesota House of Representatives

Menu

Public Information Services Menu

Accountability for charter schools

Published (3/23/2012)
By Erin Schmidtke
Share on: 



Charter schools could have a new set of accountability standards as early as this year.

Rep. Kelby Woodard (R-Belle Plaine) sponsors HF2714, which would establish heightened guidelines for charter schools throughout the state. The bill would designate student achievement as the primary purpose of these schools, and propose schools achieve that by maintaining a rate of 35 percent or greater student proficiency in reading and math. All pupils would have to demonstrate at least an average rate of “on-track” growth as well, or the school could be shut down.

The House Education Finance Committee laid the bill over March 20 for possible inclusion in a later bill. It has no Senate companion.

Woodard said the bill was necessary to ensure all charter schools in Minnesota meet the highest standards. He highlighted a portion of the bill that would broaden the pool of teachers available to charter schools by allowing those with out-of-state licenses to instruct students, if they meet certain requirements.

Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL-St. Paul) successfully offered an amendment that further emphasizes the need for student achievement in charter schools. The amendment also aligns the bill with a new law requiring teachers to pass a reading, writing and mathematics skills test.

The bill received support from some charter school administrators, who claimed that many existing charter schools are not sufficiently closing the education achievement gap. Eric Mahmoud, founder of Harvest Preparatory School and Best Academy in the Twin Cities, described the need for increased accountability and student achievement in charter schools.

“We have an opportunity to change the landscape of education. Even though we face challenges, I am very optimistic,” Mahmoud said.

Other educators and administrators urged the committee to reconsider the need for the bill. Eugene Piccolo, executive director of the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools, expressed concern that parents and school staff could be cut out of the charter school governing process. He also criticized the bill for allowing teachers with out-of-state licenses to teach in Minnesota, a concern echoed by Rep. Jim Davnie (DFL-Mpls).

“I can’t see that the agenda here is about teaching and learning. So it does make me wonder what the agenda is about wanting unlicensed teachers in the state teaching in our public schools,” Davnie said.

Session Weekly More...


Session Weekly Home



Related Stories


Waiting for the governor’s final grade
Omnibus education bill nears finish line
(view full story) Published 4/27/2012

Last in, first out … out or in?
Conference committee weighs benefits of changing teacher layoff practices
(view full story) Published 3/30/2012

Education advocate is moving on
Rep. Mindy Greiling announces she won’t seek re-election
(view full story) Published 2/3/2012

Withholding state funds from schools
Education finance law keeps $780 million for other General Fund spending
(view full story) Published 8/11/2011

First try at K-12 finance bill fails
Dayton says special education cuts ‘would create significant funding gaps’
(view full story) Published 7/15/2011

‘Bold and beautiful’ or full of inequities?
Confusion exists whether K-12 bill increases or cuts funding
(view full story) Published 5/20/2011

Minnesota Index: Teaching and learning
Facts and statistics about education in Minnesota
(view full story) Published 5/20/2011

Lands set apart
Permanent School Fund management, income potential explored
(view full story) Published 5/13/2011

‘Social promotion’ to promote literacy
Third-graders could repeat if they can’t read
(view full story) Published 4/29/2011

Historic St. Paul walkout
Illegal action changed teacher bargaining; a new debate rises over right to strike
(view full story) Published 4/15/2011

Changes in education
House approves omnibus education finance bill
(view full story) Published 4/1/2011

Education finance bill offers bold reforms
Quantity not as key as quality, says DFL
(view full story) Published 3/25/2011

A voucher by any other name
Bill would create limited scholarships for low-income students
(view full story) Published 3/18/2011

Fewer days, longer hours
Some districts find four-day school week works as a budget fix
(view full story) Published 2/18/2011

First Reading: ‘Pitting the good against the good’
Proposed lift of safe schools mandate is a tough call
(view full story) Published 2/4/2011

The goal: 25,000 new teachers
Bush Foundation commits big bucks to revamp teacher training
(view full story) Published 1/28/2011

First Reading: Alternative teacher mindset
Tackling the achievement gap one classroom at a time
(view full story) Published 1/21/2011

Public Information Services  ·   175 State Office Building, Saint Paul, MN 55155   ·   Public.Information@house.mn