An Overview of Twin Cities K-12 Schools
Freedom of Choice and Excellence in Education ring loud and clear for Twin Cities Families. Minnesota has a right to be proud with its award winning teachers, talented students, and high education rankings. As a Minnesota resident, you have the freedom to choose the best school for your child, regardless of where you live.
Schools in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area have achieved a coveted status as some of the finest in the nation. High school students in Minnesota continue to top the national list for their high scores on college entrance exams such as the ACT and SAT.
Families with children moving to the Twin Cities area or needing to relocate within the area do not have to worry about affecting their children's education. In most states, children are required to attend the public school within the district of their residence. Minnesota is unique in that you are not tied to the school district where your home is located - the open enrollment program allows parents to find the best school for their child, even if it is outside the district where they live.
Minnesota's school choice policy has allowed parents to match the interests and learning styles of each child as well as created incentives for school districts to improve their programs in order to retain students. Another benefit is that the Minnesota school system has been able to retain some of the country's most qualified teachers. In fact, only California beats Minnesota in the number of National Teachers of the Year awards.
This constant drive toward excellence in education is rarely seen in other areas where school choice and unique educational offerings are not available.
The Minnesota public school system offers a range of traditional schools, charter schools, magnet schools, and post-secondary programs. Traditional public schools offer a variety of learning programs including an emphasis on computers, or Advanced Placement courses, or an art and music focus, or a character-building curriculum to name a few. Minnesota was the first state to authorize charter schools in 1991, and there are now over 60 charter schools in the Twin Cities metro area. Magnet schools offer expanded study opportunities in addition to basic subjects; areas of study may include language-immersion, science, business, or the arts. Many high school juniors and seniors have the opportunity to enroll in college classes where they can earn simultaneous credit for high school and college completion.
Besides the many choices in public schools, parents also have more than 200 options for private schools within the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area. In order to compete with the offerings of the public school system, the private schools in Minnesota have to be excellent or they don't survive. Approximately 10% of Minnesota's schoolchildren attend private or independent schools. Some reasons that parents choose a private school may be for the smaller class sizes, a specific academic or activity focus, or for the development of religious values. Private school isn't just for the wealthy as both school vouchers and tax credits are available to further enhance the freedom of school choice for Minnesota families.