Vallay Varro was a founding state executive director. She now serves as the president of 50CAN.

When it comes to state charter school laws, Minnesota takes the cake, having ranked first in the country for the second year in a row. According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the group that ranks state charter laws every year, one of the secrets to Minnesota’s success is the bill passed in 2009 that boosted accountability for charter school authorizers.

Transparency and accountability are crucial pieces of the education equation; we need to be able to know what works and what doesn’t and adjust accordingly. Our children are too important for us to remain ignorant of who's learning and why.

This legislative session, we’re declaring a Minnesota School Emergency in Effect, advocating for three reforms that will put Minnesota on track to close its achievement gaps and provide great schools for all.

Two of our three campaign goals focus on increasing accountability and transparency in our schools. The first, clearing a path to quality pre-K, advocates for the implementation of a statewide rating system for pre-schools so that parents can make the right choice for their child. The second, building a barometer of teacher effectiveness, advocates for the development of a trusted system that measures the impact of teachers on their students' achievement.

The more we know about what’s going on in our classrooms, the more all of us—parents, teachers, administrators, and citizens—can do our part to make sure every one of our kids has access to a quality education. It’s great that Minnesota takes the cake when it comes to its charter school policy, but it’s time to strive for a new goal: taking the cake when it comes to providing great schools for all students.


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