Topic: Charter Schools

Hitchhiker Bills Start Catching Rides at State Capitol, With Deadlines Coming

On Tuesday afternoon on the Senate floor, a House bill on instructional materials was commandeered to carry numerous amendments bearing pieces of other bills that have been unable to pass on their own merits. One such amendment by Sen. Dan Patrick added to HB 6 a short and ugly version of SB 4, the bill on teacher evaluation opposed by...

Read More

After Surprise Attack, Resistance Mounts to Charter Conversion of Neighborhood Schools

On Saturday Rep. Mike Villarreal, Democrat of San Antonio, thought he could bypass resistance to his proposal to convert neighborhood campuses into charter schools.  Just one day after assuring Texas AFT and others that he would not offer such an amendment to SB 738, on Saturday afternoon he did exactly that, without notice of his change of heart. By Monday...

Read More

Bad Bills Looking to Hitch a Ride

It’s that time of the legislative session—the last seven or eight days—when many a bill dies unless it can hitch a ride on another bill that already has made it further along over the legislative obstacle course. Into the “watch out for these dangerous hitchhikers” category we place the following bills opposed by Texas AFT: --SB 127, the bill by...

Read More

Charter Schools: Expansion Bill Examined

Texas AFT opposed a bill in the House Public Education Committee Thursday morning that would allow wide-open expansion of charter schools in Texas. The proposed House committee substitute for the bill, SB 127 by Republican Sen. Dan Patrick of Houston, would be even more expansive than the Senate version. Under both versions, charter holders could self-authorize the creation of satellite...

Read More

Charter-School Expansion Bill Passes in Texas Senate, With Diminished Support

A 24-to-7 state Senate vote for charter-school expansion today shows a decline in support for charter expansion since the 30-to-1 approval of a similar bill in 2009. The bill is SB 127 by Sen. Dan Patrick, Republican of Houston. It authorizes charter holders to create new campuses under the same charter without prior approval from the state, and it allows...

Read More

Taking a Stand for Educational Quality, Employee Safeguards, Innovation

In the Senate Education and House Public Education Committees today Texas AFT's legislative team defended state standards of educational quality and employee safeguards from multiple attacks—while making the case for strong employee involvement and leadership in experiments with innovative practices. Texas AFT testified against a dangerous bill heard in the Senate committee (SB 738) that would allow "alternative methods of...

Read More

Setting the Table: Texas Senate Education Committee Makes Proposals for 2011 Session

The Texas Senate Education Committee, chaired by Plano Republican Sen. Florence Shapiro, has come out with a wish list of policy changes that Shapiro can be expected to seek in the 2011 session of the legislature. Not all of them have the full backing of her committee members, however. Controversial recommendations include: --Removing the cap on the number of charters...

Read More

Not Waiting for Superman

The much-hyped movie “Waiting for Superman” has been the focus this week of a media campaign that scapegoats teachers and their unions for all the ills of the nation’s schools, while portraying the operators of select charter schools and self-designated “school reformers” as heroes.  Read More

Read More

Not waiting for Superman

Be forewarned: There’s a documentary coming soon to a movie theater near you that portrays public school teachers and their unions as the villains responsible for low student achievement, while painting charter schools and their promoters as the heroes looking out for the best interests of schoolchildren. This film, entitled "Waiting for Superman," does get a couple of things right,...

Read More

State Hearing on School Finance: Ills Acknowledged, Cures Disputed

The state’s Joint Select Committee on School Finance, Weights, Allotments and Adjustments met today with a roster of invited business and academic witnesses chosen to support a specific agenda. Their testimony and responses from several committee members (Sens. Florence Shapiro, Republican of Plano, Sen. Dan Patrick, Republican of Houston, and Rep. Rob Eissler, Republican of The Woodlands) yielded a familiar...

Read More