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Friends of Education

Friends of Education’s sole mission is to improve the education of children. Its mission is exemplified by its original name, "Saving Children Through Education".

Saving Children Through Education was formed in 1999 and initially focused on a grade school in an area of North Minneapolis which population has the following demographics: 31.7% of the families with minor children – almost one-third of the population -- have incomes below the poverty level, and 76.7% of the population is minority, the largest groups of which are African-American, 51.2%, and Asian, 17.9% (U.S. Census 2000 information). The grade school, Ascension grade school, is affiliated with the Catholic parish of Ascension Church, and although affiliated with a Catholic parish, the majority of the student body of Ascension grade school is non-Catholic.

Saving Children Through Education focused on Ascension school because the school’s state assessment scores evidenced that the school needed help. In 1999, before Saving Children Through Education became involved with the school, Ascension grade school performed at a 21% proficiency rate on the Minnesota mathematics standardized achievement test. Saving Children Through Education assisted Ascension grade school in implementing the Core-Knowledge sequence developed by E.D. Hirsch, Jr. and the Core-Knowledge Foundation as well as the math program developed by Saxon. The following year, in 2000, Ascension grade school achieved an 80% proficiency rate on both the Minnesota standardized mathematic and reading assessment tests. Saving Children Through Education’s involvement with Ascension grade school resulted in the organization’s name change to "Friends of Ascension".

In 2003, Friends of Ascension decided to expand its reach, while maintaining its stated mission to improve the education of children, and authorize quality charter schools. In 2009 Friends of Ascension changed its name to "Friends of Education" to reflect its broad-based interest in improving the education of children. Friends of Education is not a religious organization, and it does not promote any religious activity or teaching.

Due to the tremendous success achieved at Ascension School with the Core-Knowledge sequence and Saxon math, Friends of Education authorizes only those charter schools which implement a content-rich curriculum. Friends of Education also requires that its authorized schools implement a phonics-based reading program rich in literature and a sequential math curriculum typified by the Saxon or Singapore math programs.

Friends of Education is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Minnesota corporation, incorporated in 1999. Friends of Education is a member of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and is registered with the Minnesota Office of the Attorney General.

Questions regarding Friends of Education relative to its authorization of charter schools can be referred to R. Elizabeth Topoluk at

Their website address is