#TruthAboutCharters – Pass it on!
Week 1: Charter Schools are Public Schools
- Since the 2007-2008 school year, charter school student enrollment in Texas has grown an average of 14% each school year. Nearly 4% of public school students attend Texas charter schools.
- There are more than 101,000 students on public charter school waiting lists across Texas.
- Charter Schools are Public Schools: The Texas Legislature created charter schools in 1995 as “part of the public school system of this state.” Tex. Educ. Code § 12.105.
- 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.
Academic & Financial Accountability: Charter schools must meet the same academic and financial mandates as Texas school districts, including state assessments, curriculum requirements, and the requirement to ensure that students attain post-secondary readiness. Tex. Educ. Code §§ 12.059, 12.104, 12.111.
- The Texas Charter Schools Association is the statewide Association representing open-enrollment charter schools in every part of our great state.
Week 2: Charters Serve All Students
FACT: Texas public charter schools are open enrollment, tuition-free, public schools that must admit every student who applies if the school is not at capacity.
- If a school is at its enrollment capacity (capacity determined by state contract), students are admitted via a public lottery as required by federal and state law. (Tex. Educ. Code 12.117; 20 U.S.C. 7221i(1)(H)
- Charter School Lottery: Under current law, no Texas statute or rule permits “weighted” lotteries to provide preference to at-risk students. Texas law does not allow “cherry-picking” or “skimming”.
- Most charter applications only record the name, age and address of applicants. This is in contrast to most magnet schools, where selective admissions processes admit students based in part on a review of past academic performance and conduct.
- In accordance with state charter law, a charter school may choose to decline enrollment for a student who was expelled from their prior school for severe disciplinary reasons. Since charters receive no funding for facilities, it would be cost-prohibitive for them to open facilities similar to the alternative facilities used by ISDs to serve students with these serious disciplinary issues. (Tex. Educ. Code 12.111(a)(5)(A)
- Texas Charters Serve All Students: The latest demographic information from TEA data (2013) shows that Texas public charter schools, as a percentage of their total enrollment, serve more African-American students, more Hispanic students, more economically disadvantaged students and more at-risk students than traditional ISDs. Public charter schools serve the same percentage of limited English proficient students as traditional ISDs in Texas. Charters serve only slightly fewer special education students, as a percentage, than traditional school district schools.
Week 3: Charter Schools Serve English Learners (and more!)
FACT: Texas public charter schools serve English language learners, students in special education, at-risk and economically disadvantaged students and African-American and Hispanic students.
- The latest demographic information from TEA data (2013) shows that Texas public charter schools, as a percentage of their total enrollment:
- Serve more African-American students,
- More Hispanic students,
- More economically disadvantaged students, and
- More at-risk students than traditional ISDs.
- Public charter schools serve the same percentage of limited English proficient students as traditional ISDs in Texas.
- Charters serve only slightly fewer special education students, as a percentage, than traditional school district schools.
|Charter School Students||ISD Students|
|Limited English Prof:||17%||17%|
Week 4: Public Charter School Students are Excelling Academically
MYTH: Public charter school students do no better than traditional public school students.
FACT: Between 2010 and 2013, 15 of 16 independent studies found that students attending public charter schools do better academically than their traditional public school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.
TCSA works with member schools to develop a unified advocacy agenda for all Texas charter schools and ensures members speak with one voice when addressing policy concerns. The Association is active in Austin and Washington D.C., helping shape the policies that impact charter schools. Working with lawmakers, community stakeholders, grassroots advocates and our Members, TCSA develops an agenda that is embraced by every segment of the charter school community.
Charters were created by the Texas Legislature. Charter schools are granted their charter by the State Board of Education and subject to regulation by the Texas Education Agency.
TCSA has started the largest grassroots advocacy program in the country focused specifically on charter schools. We are working to recruit thousands of charter school parents, staff, and board members and mobilize them throughout the year in order to educate lawmakers about TCSA legislative priorities.
Stay connected with TCSA: be sure to follow us on twitter and "like" us on facebook to receive the latest communications from our Association.
For more information, contact:
TCSA Vice President, Public & Government Affairs
512.584.8272 ext. 308