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I have seen some examples of helpful reforms where I live. Minnesota, where I now live and where I grew up, has had largely equal per-capita funding for public school pupils statewide since the 1970s. The state law change that made most school funding come from general state appropriations rather than from local property taxes was called the "Minnesota miracle."


Today most funding for schools is distributed by the state government on a per-pupil enrollment basis.



The funding reform in the 1970s was followed up by two further reforms in the 1980s. First, the former compulsory instruction statute in Minnesota was ruled unconstitutional in a court case involving a homeschooling family, and a new compulsory instruction statute explicitly allows more nonpublic school alternatives for families who seek those. Second, the Legislature, pushed by the then Governor, set up statewide open enrollment


and the opportunity for advanced learners to attend up to two years of college while still high school students on the state's dime.


And Minnesota also has the oldest charter school statute in the United States.


Parents in Minnesota now have more power to shop than parents in most states. That gets closer to the ideal of detect the optimum education environment for each student (by parents observing what works for each of their differing children) and give it to them by open-enrolling in another school district (my school district has inbound open-enrollment students from forty-one other school districts of residence) or by homeschooling, or by postsecondary study at high school age, or by exercising other choices.

The educational results of Minnesota schools are well above the meager results of most United States schools, and almost competitive (but not fully competitive) with the better schools in the newly industrialized countries of east Asia and southeast Asia. It's a start. More choices would be even better.

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