Study notes low performance of Texas charters, questions expansion​

new study from the Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA) bolsters the results of other studies we’ve seen recently on the low performance of charter schools in Texas. IDRA–a nonprofit that publishes research and evaluations on public education–discovered that Texas charter students overall have lower graduation rates and accountability ratings than their peers in traditional public schools. IDRA then poses the question on whether Texans should be supporting the expansion of a charter system that overall is failing to meet the needs of students.

Some of the key findings of the study include:

  • The Class of 2016 saw graduation rates of 62 percent in charter schools compared to 90 percent in traditional public schools.
  • While some charter schools serve some of the students in highest need, analysis of TEA data for 2016-17 statewide reveals that there is very little difference in the percentage of students served who are considered at risk of dropping out: 50 percent in traditional schools compared to 52 percent in charter schools.
  • Nearly one out of every five charter campuses (22.9 percent) failed to achieve “meet standard” or the lower “alternative standard,” compared to about one of every 25 traditional public schools.
  • State funding for charter schools increased at a much faster rate than for public schools in the last decade, with an 8 percent increase for traditional schools compared to a 236 percent increase for charters.
“Texas needs to let go of the claim that charter schools can ‘rescue’ students from their so-called failing neighborhood public schools,” said Dr. Maria Robledo Montecel, IDRA president. “As our communities predicted, the data show otherwise. Our families and communities don’t need ‘rescuing’ by lottery. They demand strong neighborhood public schools.”

See more of IDRA’s infographics on the study here.