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Charter schools are becoming more common in Minnesota. As of 2018, there were 164 charter schools. It is important to know that Charter schools are public schools and must fulfill all or most of the requirements like other public schools. However, Charter schools have boards that are composed of parents, licensed teachers and community members.  Also, Charter schools have an authorizer (college or university, a nonprofit organization, or a traditional school district) that is the authorizing authority and oversight body of the school.


  •  Charter schools are public schools.

  •  Charter schools are tuition free. 

  •  Charter schools may not require entrance exams or requirements. 

  • Charter schools may not limit the admission of pupils on the basis of intellectual ability, measures of achievement or aptitude, or athletic ability.

  • Charter schools must accept all students up to capacity. If there are more students than slots, the school must conduct a lottery.


  • Charter schools have specific program focuses such as language immersion, project‐based learning, environmental education, arts education, expeditionary learning, online learning, etc.

  • Charter schools are normally smaller in size than traditional public schools and usually have smaller class sizes.

  • Charter schools are more diverse in enrollment than state averages.


Magnet schools are similar to Charter schools in that they possess a specific educational focus. The biggest difference between them however, is that Magnet schools are operated by a public school district. The schools must fulfill all state requirements. There are currently 80 Magnet schools in Minnesota serving over 40,000 students. 

The most common educational focus of Magnet schools in Minnesota are:

  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)

  • Fine and Performing Arts

  • International Baccalaureate, International Studies

  • Career and Technical Education (CTE) and

  • World Languages (immersion and non-immersion)

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