Should Texas Continue Giving a Blank Check to Charters?

On November 17 the Senate Education Committee will meet to discuss charters, vouchers and choice. It is a preview of the next legislative session and privatization of public education. As charters receive public money and are essentially given a blank check to open schools wherever they want regardless of societal needs, it is important for our State Legislative to implement some controls on charter proliferation. What should be up for consideration is a targeted approach to charter school approval which takes into consideration the geographic location (so as to not disrupt neighborhood schools) and student needs. This hearing will be webcast live and will be archived and can be found here.

 

The below-listed series of links about charter proliferation originated with Karen Miller. For additional information contact kmillerpta@aol.com.

Not too long ago KIPP located a new school in Houston ISD across the street from a traditional HISD school.  

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/New-KIPP-venture-turns-school-into-community-hub-5631694.php#/0

Excerpt:  "While the Sharpstown Civic Association is glad to have positive influences in the neighborhood, board member Dale Davidson said, homeowners are worried that the influx of charter schools will continue to drain neighborhood public schools, such as Jane Long Middle School, across the street from the new KIPP campus."

Harmony Schools, which has opened its first school outside Texas, located it across the street from a DC school with the same science focus and serving the same grade levels.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dcs-charter-and-public-schools-need-to-coordinate-efforts-in-locating-facilities/2014/07/22/bbb37594-0866-11e4-8a6a-19355c7e870a_story.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/new-dc-charter-school-highlights-debate-over-planning/2014/07/05/e0273644-02ea-11e4-b8ff-89afd3fad6bd_story.html

The proliferation of charter schools in DC has raised questions by city council members as to whether the district has reached a tipping point in terms of supporting a dual school system.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/dc-council-members-fear-schools-near-tipping-point-as-students-flee-system/2013/01/23/a1e96dfc-659d-11e2-9e1b-07db1d2ccd5b_story.html

The response of parents and community members has prompted the formation of a new organization, Journey for Justice, http://www.j4jalliance.com/, which has filed civil rights complaints re urban school closures. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/05/14/holder-duncan-asked-to-investigate-racially-discriminatory-school-closings-in-new-orleans/

There is interest in several Texas cities in opening affiliates in response to threatened closure of inner city schools.

Another reaction which concerns me comes from the financial sector, as recently, in response to announcement by KIPP to double its charter enrollment in Los Angeles. 

http://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-kipp-charters-20141025-story.html

Moody's wrote this charter school expansion would be a credit negative for LAUSD (the nation's second largest school district.

http://www.bondbuyer.com/news/regionalnews/moodys-charter-school-expansion-credit-negative-for-lausd-1067623-1.html

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