Newest (2021) Minnesota Charter and District School Demographics Report

Executive Summary

An analysis conducted in June, 2021, of Minnesota Department of Education data by the CSC shows major changes in K-12 enrollment between the district public schools and chartered public-schools during the period 2001-2002 to 2020-21 school years. Specifically, CSC notes several trends over the last 19 school years.

  • Statewide, Minnesota enrollment in public schools created by the process of chartering has more than quadrupled from 10,162 in 2001-2002 to 65,420 in 2020-21.
  • Meanwhile, district sector public school enrollment declined from 831,535 to 785,345.
  • As of October 1, 2020, there were 174 operational charter schools in Minnesota serving almost 8% of students enrolled in public schools.
  • Enrollment in public schools created by the process of chartering has grown dramatically, not only in Minneapolis and St. Paul, but also in suburban communities and greater Minnesota.  Approximately 50% of students enrolled in charter public schools attend schools in greater Minnesota, approximately 50% attend schools in Minneapolis or St. Paul. The percentage attending suburban and greater Mn charters has grown over the last 19 years.
  • Data from the 2020-2021 school year shows that, compared to state averages, charter schools enrolled a higher percentage of English Language learners (21% vs. 7%), low-income students (50% vs. 30%), and students of color (61% vs. 34%).  Charter schools also enroll comparable numbers of students who qualify for special education services—serving about one percentage point fewer students than the state
  • As compared to Minneapolis Public Schools, Minneapolis public charter schools serve a higher percent of low-income students (67% charter, 53% MPS); English language learners (25% charter, 18% MPS); and students of color (71% charter, 63% MPS).
  • In St Paul, the districted public schools and charters enroll a very similar demographic – within one percent in some measures, within two percent in others.
  • There has been a decline of thousands of low income and students of color enrolled in Minneapolis and St Paul district schools, and an increase of thousands of these students in chartered public schools.
  • In Minneapolis, comparing the 2001-2002 and 2020-21 school years,
    • K-12 Enrollment in Charter public schools located in Minneapolis has increased from 1,921 to 15,525
    • Minneapolis district enrollment has decreased from 47,658 to 31,841.
    • Enrollment of students from low income families in MPS decreased from 31,910 to 16,992.
    • Enrollment of students from low-income families in charters located in Minneapolis increased from to 1,579 to 10,425.
    • Enrollment of BIPOC students in MPS decreased from 35,054 to 20,054.
    • Enrollment of BIPOC students in charters located in chartered public schools in Minneapolis increased from 1,726  to 11,063.
  • In St Paul, from the 2001-2002 to the 2020-21 school year
    • K-12 Enrollment in St Paul Charter schools has increased from 2,683 to 16,429
    • SPPS K-12 enrollment has decreased from 43,714 to 33,735.
    • Enrollment of students from low-income families in SPPS decreased from 28,524 to 22,145.
    • Enrollment of students from low income families in charters located in St Paul increased from 2,683 to 9,730.
    • Enrollment of BIPOC students in the SPPS decreased from 30,102 to 26,794.
    • Enrollment of BIPOC students in charters located in St. Paul increased from 2,993 to 12,994.

To read the full report click here.