Texas AFT and other education advocates push TEA to do more thorough reviews of charter-school applicants

Texas AFT continues to push the Texas Education Agency to do a more thorough review of new charter school applications. This process traditionally hasn’t collected the information that would show the impacts these new charters would have on existing public schools and their funding. Last week, 20 education advocacy organizations, including Texas AFT, submitted 37 recommendations to TEA regarding the Generation 26 new charter applications. TEA took into account similar recommendations for the Generation 25 charter application in 2019, which helped integrate more public transparency in the charter application process. The recommendations were crafted, in part, to address the rapid increase of out-of-state charter applicants and to ensure that TEA considers the additional cost to the state to educate a student in a charter school compared to a real public school. 

Key priorities include: 

  • Charter applicants should identify the specific zip code of the new charter to accurately demonstrate the need for a new charter school.
  • Charter applicants should calculate the additional cost of the proposed charter to the state for consideration in the charter approval process. 
  • TEA should expand the criteria for approval of new charters to include the impact of the proposed charter on public schools and local communities.
  • TEA should change the charter application process to a two-year cycle to accommodate the demands of the legislative session and to allow for more accurate budget projections based on approved charter enrollment.
  • TEA should require additional information in the application that would better inform the agency, external reviewers, SBOE members, and the public, including related party and real estate transactions; professional development hours by proposed programs; more specific information about innovative programs; and management services agreements without redaction. 

You can see the full letter to TEA and detailed recommendations here