Letter to the Editor
HOW LONG DO WE HAVE TO WAIT?
When charter schools recently were accused of sub-standard performance, the Texas Charter School Association defended charter school performance as “steadily improving” over time.
While charter schools have seen improvement over the 20 years since their inception, it’s clear from five years of TEA data that charter schools underperform as a whole compared to their ISD counterparts. This isn’t an opinion; it’s the facts.
The evidence is in the past five years of TEA Snapshot Data available on TEA’s website. Keep in mind, this isn’t based on the A-F Accountability System (which I agree is far from perfect). These are the raw numbers, and the data shows the following:
Since 2012, charter schools have had fewer students in special education, career and technical education, and gifted and talented education programs. Not just by a little, but a lot. It’s interesting that a “random lottery” of public school students generates such a skewed student population compared to the state as a whole. Maybe if a charter doesn’t offer those programs, the students don’t bother applying to attend that school? Just a thought.
From 2012 through 2016, charter schools had a dropout rate of 3.5 times that of ISDs. The five-year average was 5.7% for charters and 1.6% for ISDs. The high was 7% in 2012 for charters and a low of 4.7% in both 2015 and 2016. So, the Charter School Association is correct. Their dropout rate has improved, but they still fall well behind ISDs.
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Written by Thomas Ratliff (former member of the State Board of Education where he served two terms as the board’s Vice Chairman), contributed by Tony Price
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