A. Charter schools might be subject to considerable debate in the 2009
Legislature. Which of the following most closely represents your view
as to the
future of charter schools? Please check one:
1._60.5%____ Expand their role
2. _26.3%____ Don't expand or reduce
3._13.1%____ Reduce their role
B. One suggestion is that educators should try to replicate innovative
that show significant achievement from their low-income and minority
What is your view? Please check one:
3._5.3%____ No opinion
C. Another suggestion is that schools with significant improvement in
student achievement should receive more state aid. What is your view?
Please check one:
1. _54.1%____ Agree
2. _24.3%____ Disagree
3. _21.6%____ No opinion
John Nowicki (3) (1) (2)
Donald H. Anderson (2) (1) (1)
Some of the core ideas of Nathan could be implemented in the present
system of public education without necessitating specialized
approaches. It takes a new thinking process to occur on the part of
the present educational system.
John Rollwagen (1) (1) (1)
What a terrific session. Joe is a great resource, and I agree with all
that he said. I particularly like the idea of providing additional
financial support for schools that objectively perform better.
It's surprising and disappointing to me that there is still so much
knee-jerk opposition to the concept of choice, and charter schools in
particular. We have to keep in mind and emphasize that no one is
trying to throw out the current education infrastructure. We're just
trying to make it better with creative innovation that ultimately can
be spread widely
throughout the existing system to everyone's benefit.
Fred Senn (1) (1) (1)
Shari Prest (3) (1) (2)
Once again, I appreciate the thorough information presented. While I
and most skilled and knowledgeable educators consider most of Mr.
Nathan's findings to be common knowledge of best practices, I have to
take issue with some of Joe Nathan's approach and findings. Mr. Nathan
disregards the value of differing analysis and perspective related to
charter schools when he says he is "particularly worried about attacks
from many persons in the educational establishment who would like to
discontinue charter schools, post-secondary options and school
choice." Our publics might be particularly worried about attacks from
many persons who would like to promote charter schools and school
choice. The research would support the latter perspective to a far
greater degree than the former.
The high priority, rules and funding exceptions, and partisan
promotion given to charter schools, privatization of education and
even school choice should be questioned and vetted for partisan bias.
The research absolutely does not show greater average success for
charter schools and in fact, even after excluding U of M studies,
research clearly demonstrates that student outcome comparisons are
either similar to or favorable in regular public schools. National
studies have been done and when the study findings were argued by
conservative, usually partisan perspectives, the studies were reworked
to take into consideration the debated conditions. The findings held
up that on average similar students, from similar families with
similar socio-economic conditions, and with parents with similar
levels of education do as well or better in regular public schools.
School choice on its own has shown very little impact except some
higher parent satisfaction, a number that is skewed in several ways.
Most notably the fact that a high percent (I believe 30-50%) of
students enrolled through choice leave the chosen situation within a
year. The measurement includes parent satisfaction of those students
who remain. If charter, private, etc. schools fare so poorly with the
additional incentivizing and without the cumbersome mandates, one must
ask themselves why these initiatives should be promoted, often at
expense to regular public instruction. One must consider carefully
what the motivations for such disregard or redesigning of actual data.
I support Mr. Nathan's notions of more carefully attending to and
coordinating education from early childhood through post secondary. In
fact educational leadership in the state of Minnesota has taken the
lead on this and other crucial and timely issues through such
initiatives as the Bridge to Higher Learning, Minnesota's Promise,
I also support Mr. Nathan's suggestion that we know how to close the
learning gaps. What we have lacked is the financial, public, and
governmental commitment. The educational leadership in Minnesota is
among the best in the world. They however need the support, resources,
and public and governmental commitment to make more personalized and
more future oriented education a reality.
Further, we can no longer depend solely on test scores, especially
those standardized tests that fail to measure student progress, at the
expense of the critical thinking, communication, and problem solving
skills that will be more and more necessary in a world transitioning
at unparalleled speed.
Wayne Jennings (1) (1) (3)
Tom Abeles (1) (1) (1)
The bottom line is that current models and funding efforts for
education in Minnesota are incremental. They do not look at the
fundamental structure of the entrenched system. In other words, it is
too much trouble to shake the entire system up so we default to
options which are like moving deck chairs on the Titanic. At one time
MN took some bold, challenging, risks. Some succeeded and some
flopped. But, the entire system is like a giant snow ball heading down
the hill. Incremental change is like pebbles along the ball's path;
they get absorbed and may make some change but the basic change is to
increase the size of the ball itself. Yes, the ball has momentum,
created by those who have a strong interest in maintaining the status
quo where change is like a different version of Microsoft XP, version
7.x instead of a bold new operating system. The open source/open
access movement and the world of social networking tell us that such
efforts are rewarded in this emerging environment and closed systems
die. MN education is in its death phase only it doesn't want to
Bert Press (3) (1) (2)
David Broden (1) (1) (1)
Question A: If the role of charter schools are to expand and I agree
that they have unique value added there must be better understanding
by the general public of what charter schools are and how they are
different from the public school system. One key problem with charter
schools is that many people do not understand what they are, how they
are operated, what the standards are, who manages, etc.--although I
see benefits. Moving ahead with expansion should only happen if the
communication and discussion of the purpose and benefit are better
communicated and accepted--and here the key word must be accepted by
the public not just the charter school advocates.
Question B: Innovation must be the focal point for education of the
future. The word "innovation" must be applied to better link the
student with all aspects of education--each course--life as a
citizen--and preparation for jobs. Only with innovation will the
individual student become connected not only to that student interest
and capability but to help to student grasp the value of education to
the individual so that that individual can
build a path forward.
Question C: I agree with reward for success. However, rewards should
not be the only basis for more state aid. The rewards for achievement
should be to further enhancements matched to the type of achievement.
These increases should not however take away from the need to channel
more funds to the schools who miss the standard and need help. The
real debate needs to be what is the type and level of funding or other
state aid depending on achievement or lack of achievement--both need
attention and both need reward--now discuss what the form and value is
Robert A. Freeman (1) (1) (1)
Clarence Shallbetter (1) (1) (3)
Paul Hauge (2) (1) (1)
Fred Zimmerman (1) (1) (1)
State Sen. Sandy Rummel (3) (3) (3)
Question 1: Refine their role - where is the innovation they
promised??? How do you
bring to scale the few schools that have succeeded?
Question 2: My hope is that we open innovation to the main stream
Question 3: If they are raising student achievement with what they are
doing, amidst comparable populations, and in current budgets, let's
learn what they are doing and make those strategies available to
Austin Chapman (1) (1) (1)
Bill Jungbauer (1) (3) (3)
Bill Hamm (1) (_) (_)
Question 1: Expand their role - It is pathetic to see how long term
the attacks upon choice in education by teachers unions have been and
how baseless they have been. This is an issue I was happy to hear Joe
speak on many years ago and am glad to see him still plugging away at.
Question 2: While I agree in principle, the fundamental difference
between Public Schools and Charter School philosophies prevents
effective transfer of many principles. Public Schools are now the
training centers for the corporate world which makes them product
oriented. Charter Schools tend to be overwhelmingly child oriented.
Socialism can never compete on equal ground with capitalism, Socialism
will always fail or fail to fully implement (especially discipline).
Question 3: Tend to disagree, perhaps a quality pay incentive to
replace tenure but absolutely don't give more money as a handout. I do
not object to additional moneys for education experimentation or and
number of other legitimate reasons. The successful need a good pat on
the back they are living within their means, not a pot full of money
to distract and divide them. While I strongly support PSOE many of
these students are still running into the same need for remedial
education that our High School grads are. This is still one of the
dirtiest little education secrets out there and I have yet to see any
solid evidence it's changing. I no longer hold Joe's support of open
enrolment mostly because I see it predominantly being used as a way to
gain a student better access to sports not a better education. This
counters the stated goals of this program of promoting academic
competition between schools and if it fails to do that it truly does
Yes, I am willing to help Joe again, please include a contact number
in your response if you have it.
State Rep. Jim Abeler (2) (1) (2)
Al Quie (1) (1) (3)
Don Swoboda (1) (1) (1)
Sandra Peterson (3) (1) (2)
Question A: I would increase the accountability and oversight for
these schools. I like the idea of site managed schools, but would
prefer to see them within the school district as an independent
charter. That would provide better oversight.
Question B: However, I have not seen very many innovative programs
that we would want to replicate. Many of the charters are becoming
more segregated by race, religion and ethnicity. I support change that
can give us good information about best practices and are held
accountable to high standards. Charter schools will need closer
monitoring and scrutiny in the future.
Jan Hively (2) (1) (1)
Question 1: There should be a level playing field for parents to make
choices based on school climate and program. In North Minneapolis, for
example, many parents chose charter schools primarily because they
could offer free bus transportation to all students as compared to the
public schools which deny bus transportation to students living less
than a mile from school.
Outcomes should be defined and performance evaluated against outcomes
across private, charter and public schools.
Question 3: But it's important to measure pre-post achievement rather
against an arbitrary measure of achievement.
Tim McDonald (1) (1) (1)
Chris Brazelton (2) (1) (1)
Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to hear from someone so
experienced regarding the issues facing education. This was quite
informative and I do come away feeling optimistic. I hope that many
influential people are listening.
Question 1: Actually, none of the above closely represents my view. I
believe we need to continue to allow charter schools to be the small
labs to test new ideas, then take those that work and replicate those
in other communities with similar issues. The challenge is often that
it is the talented individual teachers and administrators that make an
experiment work and they are not so easily replicated.
Question 3: This would certainly create the incentive for schools to
use the most effective methods to achieve their goals, as long as it
does not punish those schools with a higher number of mentally
Robert Klungness (2) (1) (1)
Chuck Slocum (1) (1) (3)
Having been there in the earliest meetings in the mid 1980's when Lew
Lehr, Dave Koch and other key business leaders first crafted these
strategies with Governor Perpich, I am amazed that the Berman-Weillor
report commissioned and updated by the Minnesota Business Partnership
is not mentioned. The MBP lobbied for years to bring accountable
reforms to the K-12 system.
Cheryal Lee Hills (1) (1) (1)
Robert J. Brown (1) (1) (_)
Question 1: When charter schools began I thought there would need to
be just a few in order to create some competition for district schools
in order to get them to change their behavior. While this has happened
in some cases, I now believe that there needs to be an expansion of
charter schools because some districts are totally our of touch with
the reality of today and are unwilling to make necessary changes
either because of a lack of leadership or a fear of the power of
teachers unions. It must be always remembered that the purpose of
schools is to serve the needs of the students first, not the needs of
the staff first.
Question 3: If there is good data to show which schools are doing best
for students (and that data is available to parents) then a complete
open enrollment model would allow the people to vote with their feet
and go to the schools that are succeeding. If the money follows the
students (essentially a voucher system) then the good schools would be
rewarded without creating any bureaucratic aid formula that inevitably
would be manipulated to the benefit of the politically powerful.
Question 1: None of these really fit. I think there needs to be some
quality assessment that is widely if not universally accepted.
Sponsors probably have a major role here. MDE does not have the
competency or experience to do this --- and probably should not.
As very few if any traditional districts have replicated charter
school efforts that work, it is hard to see why the interest in
forming new charter schools will not continue. The change in approach
by Minneapolis needs to be monitored --- particularly the leasing of
North High school to Dunwoody academy. Minneapolis seems to now
understand that lease aid for charter schools can inure to the
Minneapolis Public Schools benefit.
Question 2: I don't know how to incentivize this as replication is not
a function of legal barriers --- it is one of will power and local
school board policy.
Question 3: With very rare exceptions, no charter school has operating
deficits; and all can fund their programs as they exist. This is not
true for traditional districts like Minneapolis which declared a $28
million "deficit" even after the $60 million per year referendum
passed. I think the biggest difference in spending for charters is
that they budget only cash they have in hand or are reasonably
expected to get in the current fiscal year. In contrast, forward
commitments in the teacher and other employee contracts are made "on
the come" betting that the Legislature will add necessary funds at
some future date. In effect, I think traditional districts are
"spending" money they do not yet have.
Shirley Heaton (2) (1) (2)
Question 1: Their success needs creditation to prove it is not just a
Question 2: But be certain to check into the training and experience
capabilities of the teaching staff.
Question 3: Again it is necessary to determine the true cause of the
success in order not to be caught throwing good money after bad.
Ed Dirkswager (1)(1) (2)
Charles Lutz (1) (1) (1)
Larry Haws (2) (1) (3)
Scott Halstead (2) (1) (3)
Carolyn Ring (1) (1) (2)
Question 1: Only after well documented analysis of existing charter
schools and "what works and what doesn't.
Question 3: There should be specific criteria for more state aid,
including achievement, but not limited to it.
Bright Dornblaser (1) (1) (1)
I'm afraid I find this summary scattered and unfocused. I am
frustrated at the persistent, but narrow, focus on Joe Nathan and his
views. While there are some notable exceptions (i.e., Harvest Prep), I
have not seen much persuasive evidence that charters are particularly
effective. It is not true that if mainstream public schools are not
working, then charters must be the answer. It could be that the real
problems with contemporary education have not been correctly
Larry and Ann Schluter (_) (1) (1)
Charter schools have been operating without much oversight and as a
result have had many problems with their management. Also, if we are
not allowing our local districts to have large minority populations,
why do we allow some charter schools to have large and in some cases
religious populations? If we are making many exceptions in teaching
practices in the charter schools and if they are that good, we should
be making some of these same exceptions in our mainline schools.
Marianne Curry (2) (1) (2)
Question 1: This should be a year for evaluation and accountability,
Question 2: However, I believe that sharing the positive models across
all districts is the way to go. We need to appeal to an inherent
motivation to create better results. School pride, et al. I don't
think monetary rewards are necessary.
Question 3: This assertion would set up an unnecessary "we/they"
dichotomy politically and could disadvantage some students at the
expense of others.
Generally, the Nathan interview challenges a prevalent assumption that
integrated schools produce superior results. Notwithstanding the
sensitivity of racial issues, if 62% of students of color who transfer
to suburban schools drop out within a year and showed no measurable
progress in math over white students, then we must question the wisdom
of paying all those additional transportation costs and social costs
to students who ride the bus for two hours a day. The fact is that
students who remain in their neighborhoods with enlightened school
cultures respond well with higher test scores and less culture shock.
Make all school private and run by Catholic Church.
Lyall Schwarzkopf (1) (1) (1)
I have a grandchild in a Mpls. charter school because the public school was not challenging to him. In the charter
school he can advance as he is able. He is one of the 10% white children in the school and he is doing well. But we
need to use the techniques that are working well in other schools to help all students. The teacher's union needs to
begin to think about the student as well as the teacher. Seniority is a real problem.