Charter schools were well represented at this week’s House Public Education Committee hearing at the Texas Capitol. On Tuesday, February 9, Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock presided over the hearing focusing on interim charges for school strategies at the middle school level and high-performing students.
Witnesses from charter schools included members of our Elected Advocacy Committee: Matt Abbott of Wayside Schools, John Armbrust of Austin Achieve, and William Clark of Step Charter. Each witness gave testimony on best practices and strategies they are implementing at their respective campuses to ensure the success of their students. John Armbrust even brought two ninth grade students who participated and experienced a first-hand part of the legislative process: both students were called to testify and extended invitations to the Committee to visit their school.
Texas Charter Schools Association representatives were also in attendance and took note of issues impacting charter schools. There was discussion on high school retention, success, and postsecondary readiness, as well as strategies specifically aimed towards at-risk youth.
Additionally, the hearing covered the needs of high-performing students and increasing the recognition of the performance of higher performing students on test-based and non-test based measures. The committee is examining the state accountability systems’ ability to serve students across the performance spectrum, including those students significantly outperforming their peers.
We appreciate our Advocacy Committee members stepping up to the plate to share with our elected officials the great work they undertake at their schools. We must work towards ensuring that the charter school voice is heard in every conversation involving public education.