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Dallas Morning News distorts charter schools

April 13, 2016

The following Letter to the Editor appeared in the Dallas Morning News on April 11, 2016

Re: “Charter School Zombies — Troubled Texas schools are still too hard to kill,” Friday Editorials, and “School shows why charters hard to kill — Troubled Children First vows to fight to stay open, may go to court,” April 4 news story.

On two occasions this week, Dallas Morning News ran both a story and an editorial broadly depicting charter school closures as problematic, and distorting the charter movement as a whole.  We take exception with using one example of a poor performing charter school and its closure as representative of the movement. 

In 2013, the Texas Charter Schools Association took a strong stand and supported the Texas Legislature’s passage of Senate Bill 2, which requires the commissioner of education to close charter schools failing to meet state financial and academic standards for three consecutive years or at the time of charter renewal.  With the passage of Senate Bill 2 in 2013, Texas adopted one of the strictest charter closure laws in the country and the consequences for failing to meet the standards in Texas’ accountability system are more stringent for charter schools than other public schools.

Further, public charter schools must submit annual financial audits conducted by independent auditors to the Texas Education Agency and comply with federal financial standards

Since 2013, 23 charter schools have been closed in Texas.  This is in comparison to the 189 operating charters at the more than 600 campuses across the state with nearly 228,000 students who are thriving.  In fact, in 2015, poor and minority student groups in charter schools outperformed their peers attending traditional public schools in reading, writing, and math. 

We support providing options for a quality public education and make no mistake, we also support closing poor performing charter schools that do not meet the accountability and compliance standards set out in the law. 

--David L. Dunn, Austin, Executive Director, Texas Charter Schools Association

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