In November 2019, the Texas Education Agency proposed some major rule changes to the Charter School Performance Framework (CSPF). These proposed rules would use a new scoring system to restrict expansion of Texas public charter schools. TPCSA advocated for reasonable changes to these proposed rules to ensure that approval for expansion amendments would depend on charters’ academic and financial accountability scores, and not on this new scoring system. Simply put, when the state determines that a public charter has met academic and financial accountability, it should be able to expand.
But in December 2019, a group of 17 anti-charter organizations joined forces to submit a letter to TEA opposing charter expansion generally. These organizations included Texas Association of School Boards, Texas Association of School Administrators, Raise Your Hand Texas, the Texas American Federation of Teachers and many others. When TEA received their letter, the agency scheduled a hearing for January 13, 2020. TPCSA testified at the hearing, making our case for reasonable changes to TEA’s proposed rules and reminding all present that Texas public charters are surpassing ISD schools in post-secondary outcomes.
The charter opponents who testified at this hearing made the usual false claims — that charters do not give ISDs notice when they intend to open new schools, that charters take away resources from students in ISD schools, that charters are low-performing and do not deserve the ability to expand, etc.
The good news is that TPCSA has conducted research that addresses each of these falsehoods, and we were able to present them in our testimony. Additionally, because we have already worked with TEA on the rulemaking, we feel pretty confident that our testimony was heard. However, it is a continuous battle to spread truth in a climate so full of false information, and because there were so many groups united against charter expansion, we are not out of the weeds.
The commissioner’s final decision is on hold, pending more research our team is sending over to TEA. We will continue to speak the truth to lawmakers and the general public about Texas public charters, but we need your help.
We encourage you to visit our website and read our research briefs to make sure you have the facts and evidence to correct falsehoods when you hear them. We also encourage you to reach out to your lawmakers and let them know about the good work you are doing for our children. If you need help identifying your lawmakers or crafting messages, reach out to Brian Whitley, TPCSA’s Vice President of Advocacy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.