Troubled charter school argues to stay open

Minnesota's education commissioner heard arguments Thursday over whether an online charter school should be shut down.

A two-year investigation by the Minnesota Department of Education into West St. Paul-based BlueSky Online charter school reveals the school's curriculum has lagged behind state standards, and has graduated dozens of students who didn't deserve diplomas. State education officials say the school should be shut down.

At the hearing, school officials said they've fixed problems with their curriculum. They also point to a recent opinion from an administrative law judge that says the school doesn't have a history of problems that would warrant a shutdown.

David Bjorklund is a science teacher and chair of BlueSky's board of directors. He says the school has fixed its curriculum problems.

"I am totally determined to make sure that we continue as a school that we continue to serve our students," Bjorklund said.

Department of education commissioner Brenda Cassellius has 90 days to make a decision in the case. In November, an administrative law judge found that BlueSky had violated state standards in some cases, but said the school shouldn't be shut down.

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