charter school

Johnson says work requirements, school choice provide path out of poverty

GOP governor candidate advocates school choice, more direct parental role.

He said he’s open to options like school vouchers or tax credits to support parents who want to send their children to another school. He would also push for a “parent trigger” law. It would allow parents to make dramatic reforms at a “failing” school — like turning it into a charter school — if a certain percentage of parents passed a referendum, he said.

His proposal came the same day as DFL gubernatorial candidate Lori Swanson said she would appoint a “career and technical education czar” to help prepare students to fill workforce gaps in areas like health care and information technology. DFL candidate Erin Murphy plans to announce her education agenda Tuesday, which she said would build on Gov. Mark Dayton’s work.

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Despite district rules, Haddon Elementary increases enrollment and decreases absenteeism with unique programs


Haddon Elementary Avenue School is so in demand that families want to drive their children across the San Fernando Valley from Granada Hills to attend the Pacoima school.

Haddon is not a charter school, it’s not a new pilot program and it’s not a magnet school (yet). It’s a traditional Title 1 district school in a low-income Latino neighborhood that has been there since 1926.

But it wasn’t always growing. And in fact it had to fight district rules that prohibited families from moving to the school.

Five years ago, parents were so fed up with the school that they initiated a “parent trigger” to try to take over the school from the district. The trigger was never pulled, and a new principal came in who brought programs students wanted, like a Mariachi class, a robotics program and an award-winning speech and debate team.

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School choice bills to highlight next legislative session

Kelsey also is the sponsor of the so-called parent trigger legislation, which gives parents the ability to push for more choices if an individual school is failing. It failed to pass last year after Kelsey asked the Senate Finance Committee to place the measure on its 2016 calendar. The measure has now failed three years in a row.

State law currently allows 60 percent of parents to petition for a change to be made at a school.

Under the failed proposal, if 51 percent of parents at a school in the bottom 10 percent of failing schools believe a drastic change is needed, they could select from several “turnaround models,” including a conversion to a charter school or changing administrators.