As a host of new charter schools opened this year in the metro area, trying to lure disaffected parents away from public school systems, both Minneapolis and St Paul public schools are rolling out new programs and programming changes to keep these families – and the state funding dollars that come with them – in the school systems. In particular, Minneapolis public schools have fired the opening salvo in a multi-year offensive against their poor reputation, with a thorough-going re-design of district high schools.
Fortunately for St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS), the district does not have as serious a credibility problem as Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS). St Paul school board members Tom Goldstein and Keith Hardy told this reporter in July that district leadership believes not all parents want a “one-size-fits-all” public school. Some parents, Hardy said, are looking for specific types of programming, such as gender-segregated education or career-specific training in high school, and the district has to provide these or risk losing these families to charter schools.