The charter school movement began in Minnesota, and continues to be strong, thanks in part to the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools, which represents a majority of Minnesota’s 164 charters.
MTCS is a member of the association, headed by Executive Director Gene Piccolo, a veteran school administrator and former assistant commissioner of the Minnesota Board of Education.
Piccolo explains that the association, MACS, has three main purposes: public policy, leadership development and building community.
MACS represents the interests of charter schools and students at the Minnesota legislature, does research and helps advance public discussions of charter schools. The organization also provides training for charter school leaders and helps board members with governance issues. MACS also helps build unity and community among charter schools.
A lawsuit accusing Minneapolis Public Schools of de facto discrimination with segregated schools has caused some concern because the state Education Department is said to be working to include coverage of charter schools through rulemaking. Piccolo says charter schools should not be covered because students choose to go to these schools and are not arbitrarily assigned by the local school board.
Though the legislature has a short session this year MACS will seek to obtain increases in extended day revenues, including longer school days and other activities.
MTCS leaders are pleased to have the association looking out for charter students and schools every day.