(The Center Square) – Minnesota retained its position among the top five in the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools in its annual rankings report.
The Measuring Up to The Model report compares states’ charter school laws against the National Alliance’s preferences in 21 components, which are focused on flexibility, accountability and equity.
Minnesota received 178 out of a possible 240 points, the same score it received last year. Indiana (which has led the pack for the past several years), Colorado, and Alabama are the sole states to outrank Minnesota, with 181, 181 and 180 points apiece.
“Minnesota’s law is consistently strong and we hope more charter schools will open in the state to serve more students and families with high-quality education options,” National Alliance for Public Charter Schools Vice President of Communications Jennifer Diaz told The Center Square in an emailed statement Friday.
The North Star State received full points in the following components: No Caps, A Variety of Charter Public Schools Allowed, Non-District Authorizers Available, Adequate Authorizer Funding, Fiscally and Legally Autonomous Schools with Independent Charter Public School Boards, Clear Student Enrollment and Lottery Procedures, Automatic Collective Bargaining Exemption, Multischool Charter Contracts and/or Multicharter Contract Boards Allowed, and Extracurricular and Interscholastic Activities Eligibility and Access.
However, Minnesota lost points too, especially in the measures of Equitable Operational Funding and Equal Access to All State and Federal Categorical Funding, Full-Time Virtual Charter School Provisions, Equitable Access to Capital Funding and Facilities, Access to Relevant Employee Retirement Systems, and Automatic Exemptions from Many State and District Laws and Regulations.
Minnesota virtual charter schools’ enrollment levels should be capped per year of the contract, with increases possible if schools meet performance requirements, and funding levels per student should be based on costs proposed and justified by operators, the Alliance recommended. It said Minnesota should produce an annual report that compares district and charter school funding and makes annual recommendations to the legislature for any needed equity enhancements.
In the 2018-2019 school year, there were an estimated 59,492 students enrolled in an estimated 233 charter schools in the state, which enacted its charter school law in 1991.
Wisconsin, Virginia, Alaska, Kansas and Maryland are at the bottom of the rankings.