FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 7, 2022
Texas AFT responds to Lt. Gov. Patrick comments disparaging urban school districts
Lieutenant governor blames school districts for problems his charter schemes created
AUSTIN, Texas – In his comments last week pushing private school vouchers, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called urban school districts “dropout factories,” specifically citing Dallas ISD.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted every Texas school. Parents, teachers, employers, and students all across the political spectrum are rooting for a comeback. Nevertheless, Patrick slanders public schools and threatens the stability of indispensable funding with private expansion schemes — that fuel privately run charter schools that have worse graduation rates than public ISDs .
“It is obvious the current lieutenant governor has never served in a classroom to see what effect his dreamed-up schemes have on our public school students and employees,” said Rena Honea, president of Alliance/AFT, which represents Dallas ISD educators. “He, along with the current governor, continues advocating to fund a dual educational system. Our students, employees, parents, and taxpayers deserve stronger accountability than charter schools offer. Dallas ISD is making academic gains during these unprecedented times in spite of current state leadership’s efforts to privatize our schools.”
Here are the facts:
Following two years of significant increases throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Dallas ISD’s dropout rate now hovers slightly above average. In addition to pandemic disruptions, the district’s dropout rate can be attributed to a lack of funding, due in part to rapid charter school expansion in Dallas. Education funding in Texas is based on student attendance. When students leave for a charter school, public schools lose funding. Last year alone, Dallas ISD lost 24.4% of its enrollment to charter schools — the highest percentage of any single school district in the state — at a cost of roughly $341 million in revenue.
Charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately and undemocratically run, have significantly lower four-year graduation rates and higher dropout rates compared to traditional public schools. According to the Texas Education Agency, “students in the class of 2021 who were enrolled in state-authorized charter schools had a graduation rate of 67.0 percent, 23.0 percentage points below the state average, and a dropout rate of 18.7%, 12.9 percentage points greater than the state average.”