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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Minnesota to step up oversight of charter schools

  • Education officials are preparing to step up their oversight of the nonprofit groups, school districts and colleges that monitor Minnesota's charter schools.
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  • Education officials are preparing to step up their oversight of the nonprofit groups, school districts and colleges that monitor Minnesota's charter schools.
    Each of Minnesota's independently run public charter schools has an organization called an authorizer that oversees its finances, academics and operations. The state Department of Education last week notified authorizers about new draft guidelines that detail how the state will monitor them starting next year.
    The new evaluations will assemble a wide array of data to gauge how well authorizers are doing and to hold them accountable for the performance of their schools.
    "We believe putting the evaluations in place is an important step in our collaborative efforts to ensure high-quality public schools for every child in every setting," Charlene Briner, the Education Department's chief of staff, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press for a story published Monday.
    The rapid growth in charter school enrollment across the country over the past decade has come with calls to hold charters and their authorizers more accountable.
    Several of the state's 26 authorizers said their first impressions of the plan were positive, but some said they are eager to offer the department feedback that will shape the final evaluation process.
    Authorizers that score low on the evaluation will be given time to improve but won't be able to take on new schools or oversee expansions of their existing charters.
    The state expects to complete its plan for the overall evaluation process by the end of June.

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