Topic: Charter Schools

Mixed Bag: Pending TEA Rules for Charter Applicants

A new set of proposed rules for charter-school applicants is a mixed bag, as Texas AFT commented this week at a special hearing on the issue at the Texas Education Agency. Under the latest proposed revision of the commissioner’s rules on charters, says TEA, the agency would among other things “specifically define the mitigating factors to be considered when the...

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Online, For-Profit Schools: $24 Billion, Zero Accountability?

Our friends at the Progress Texas group in Austin recently compiled the relevant research on the workings of “virtual schools,” the taxpayer-funded online operations run largely by for-profit companies that purport to offer a full education to their students. The Progress Texas analysts say the research shows “virtual schools provide unregulated financial windfalls to a few insiders by shortchanging our...

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Upcoming State Senate Education Hearings

At last week’s meeting of the Texas Senate Education Committee, we learned of a series of upcoming hearings on topics assigned to the committee. Sen. Florence Shapiro, the Plano Republican who chairs the panel, parceled out responsibility for conducting the planned hearings to four of her colleagues. (Shapiro noted that she will not be back for next year’s legislative session,...

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Romney Attacks Public Education, Teachers; AFT Responds

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten was quick to respond to an attack on public education this week by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. She writes: “He unveiled his proposals today and offered them up on a platter of rehashed rhetoric, failed initiatives, and the promotion of division over cooperation. “Instead of committing to ensure quality public education...

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TEA Sunset Review: Improvements Needed

The Texas Education Agency’s continued existence is not really in doubt as it comes under so-called “sunset review” leading up to the 2013 legislative session. But TEA’s capacity to carry out its mission effectively is in question. The agency has a big job, overseeing the elementary and secondary education system of Texas, which encompasses five million students, more than a...

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Charter Schools: More Bucks, Less Bang?

It is an article of faith among some charter-school boosters that these privately managed schools are cheaper to operate than traditional public schools. However, a recent study published by the National Education Policy Center undermines that assumption. As the NEPC noted in releasing the report, “Schools operated by major charter management organizations (CMOs) generally spend more than surrounding public schools,...

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State Board Discussions of Overtesting, Charter Issues Set for April 18

Two agenda items for the State Board of Education meeting in Austin this week will be of special interest to educators. Board member George Clayton, Republican of Dallas, has put a “discussion of standardized testing in Texas” on the agenda of the committee on instruction, which he chairs. At previous meetings Clayton has criticized the excessive emphasis on standardized testing...

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Lieutenant Governor Issues Interim Education Study Assignments

Lt. Gov. Dewhurst also today issued study assignments for the interim to the Senate Education Committee. We’ll have more detail in an upcoming Hotline message, but the committee’s interim charges include these topics: --“the growing demand for virtual schools in Texas,” plus “the benefits of virtual schools, related successes in other states, and needed changes to remove barriers to virtual...

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Familiar Foes of Improved School Funding Try to Undercut School-Finance Lawsuit (and How You Can Fight Back)

A brand-new front group for corporate-controlled “education reform” has been created to intervene in the pending litigation filed by school districts that are seeking improved funding for public schools. The agenda of the so-called “Texans for Real Efficiency and Equity in Education” is laid out in their petition to intervene in one of four major school-finance lawsuits filed in state...

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Texas “Parent Trigger” for Charter Conversion of Neighborhood Schools Has Limited Scope

Charter-school operators who want to take over neighborhood schools have hit upon a new strategy of late, seeking to pass state legislation under which a majority of parents at a campus can trigger charter conversion by petition. The prototype of this so-called “parent trigger” legislation, based on a model promoted by the corporate-dominated American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), was passed...

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Something’s Broken: Hearing on Charter Schools

Last Friday’s hearing on charter schools before the Texas House Public Education Committee produced a mixed result for the promoters of charter schools in Texas. Judging by comments from members of the committee, legislative infatuation with charter schools has noticeably ebbed after 17 years of mostly lackluster or negative educational outcomes. Excellent student performance at Texas charter schools is by...

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