Minnesota received an overall C grade in parent empowerment on the Center for Education Reform’s annual Parent Power Index, which factors school choice, charter schools, personalized learning, teacher quality, and transparency into its grading system.
With two school-choice programs, Minnesota received an F grading in the area of school choice, but still managed to score above the national average. Only one state, Florida, received an A for its school choice programs.
Minnesota currently offers a K-12 Education Credit, which is an individual tax credit program that “offers families refundable tax credits for non-tuition educational expenses like tutoring, educational after-school programs and books.” The state also offers an Education Deduction program that allows “parents to deduct educational expenses, including tuition, tutoring, books, and more.”
Overall, Minnesota ranked fourth on the Parent Power Index, which states that “only a lack of private school choice prevents this star from rising as high as it could.”
“Like its North Star name suggests, Minnesota is truly a stellar state for education innovation. It was the first state to pass a charter school law, and it is now at the forefront of digital and personalized learning. Minnesota also offers many choices for high school students to access higher education early on,” the Center for Education Reform explains.
Minnesota did, however, also come up short in the “teacher quality” category, where it received a C grade overall, but scored even worse in the following sub-categories:
- Delivering Well Prepared Teachers: C-
- Expanding the Pool of Teachers: D-
- Identifying Effective Teachers: C
- Retaining Effective Teachers: D
- Exiting Ineffective Teachers: D
- Pensions: D
The Center for Education Reform also graded Gov. Tim Walz (D-MN) as an anti-reform governor, cautioning against his “authoritarian” approach to public education.
“[Walz] has also been a classroom teacher as well as a teacher in China. Perhaps he absorbed the authoritarian ‘one size fits all’ mindset while over there, as he is a vocal opponent of charter schools and most paths that veer off the current status quo, despite being in the state that first pioneered education opportunities,” the Center for Education Reform states. “We will make sure he at least has access to programs that treat each student as an individual, not one of the masses.”
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