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October 20, 2016

Needed: Independent Reviewers of the Open-Enrollment Charter Applications

With more than 130,000 students across the Lone Star State on waiting lists, the need for high-quality charter schools is greater now than ever before. While networks throughout the state have ambitious plans to address this challenge, the simple truth is that there are too many students going underserved and charter schools are not being approved at a fast enough rate. Over the last four years, only an average of 4.5 schools have been approved yearly, while on average 10 schools were closed each year. In the most recent round of approvals, only two open-enrollment charters were granted out of 26 applications.

Put quite simply, the evaluation process needs to be improved, particularly as it pertains to external evaluators.  At best, previous external evaluators were mixed in quality. We need better representation from those within the charter school sector to serve as external evaluators to read and score. Potential operators should be evaluated by a pool of peers who understand the challenges of opening a new school and the rewards of providing innovative teaching and learning. We anticipate the Texas Education Agency (TEA) will receive an influx of applications compared to previous years so the need for high-quality evaluators is at its peak.  We are looking for a minimum of six external evaluators who have experience within the charter space and know our work well. Please note: evaluators are compensated for their time and expertise receiving $100 per application review.  

If you, someone on your staff, or board are interested in serving as an external evaluator, please contact us immediately for more details. The deadline is fast approaching, so please reach out to either Bruce Marchand or Elliott Nguyen. More information is available online at TEA’s website.  

512-584-8272 | 3005 S Lamar Blvd, Suite D-447, Austin, TX, 78704