For Immediate Release:2014-01-29
Press Contact: Tracy Young
phone: 512.584.8272

Weighted charter lotteries for disadvantaged students OK by feds, "blind" charter lottery still required by Texas law

(Austin, Tex.) Under current law, no Texas statute or rule permits weighted lotteries. But recently, the U.S. Department of Education issued updated guidance to public charter schools seeking to use "weighted" admission lotteries when selecting students. This new guidance allows the use of weighted lotteries to preference educationally disadvantaged children and brings federal policy into line with many state laws.

When a charter school does not have enough seats for all students seeking to attend, students are admitted through a lottery process to give all students an equal chance.  Previously, the federal government required those admission lotteries to be "blind" (and Texas law still requires this rule) if a school wanted to qualify for federal money designated to support the start-up costs of charter schools. Some state laws require public charter schools to give disadvantaged students a slight edge in the lottery process.  


Public charter schools are tuition-free, open-enrollment public schools that have the flexibility to adapt to the educational needs of individual students while still held to state academic and financial accountability standards.  In total, there are more than 178,000 students in over 550 open-enrollment charter campuses (2013 AskTED) with more than 101,000 students on waiting lists across Texas (2012 survey). Charter students represent close to 4% of the public school population in Texas. The Texas Charter Schools Association is the statewide Association representing open-enrollment charter schools in every part of our great state. 
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