Austin — The Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA) issued a report critical of public charter school graduation rates in their ongoing and longstanding opposition to these public schools. IDRA doesn't support public charter schools or the families that choose them in spite of the fact that more than 273,000 students are currently enrolled and another 141,000 are on waiting lists to attend one. The most recent 2017 Texas Education Agency state performance reports show minority and low income charter students outperform their traditional school peers in Reading, Writing, and Social Studies, and Limited English Proficiency charter students outperform in all subject areas. This is significant as public charter schools serve larger proportions of these students compared to traditional public schools.
• The IDRA data is not current. The report is based on 2015-16 data, even though 2016-17 data is already available and shows stronger results.
• IDRA data is not correct. 2016 Texas Education Agency (TEA) ratings clearly show 10% of charter schools were rated Improvement Required, and not the the larger percentage (22.9%) reported by IDRA.
• The methodology used in the IDRA report raises more questions than it provides clear answers. The IDRA report does not disaggregate the public charter school data, meaning it lumps all types of charters together including Juvenile Justice and Alternative Education Programs, as well as Residential Treatment Centers. The IDRA methodology masks public charter school actual academic performance and prevents a true "apples to apples" comparison with traditional public schools.
• 2017 Texas Academic Performance Reports shows strong public charter school graduation rates. The 4 year graduation rate of standard accountability charters is 96.31%. That compares to the 97.36% reported by traditional public schools.
• The most current data of the 2017 Accountability system shows continued public charter school improvement: 79.9% of charter campuses achieved a Met Standard or Met Alternative Standard rating and only 7.3% of charter campuses were rated Improvement Required. That’s an improvement over the 2016 data.