Texas is proposing a new scoring system that would accelerate the expansion, and decrease the oversight, of high-performing charters while preventing low-achieving schools from expanding.
Teacher groups and public school advocates oppose the plan, The Texas Tribune reports.
Texas caps the number of charter school operators at 305, but doesn’t limit the number of schools each operator can open. In 2019, 172 charter operators ran 700 campuses.
As of September 2019, the state has established 333 charters and closed 156, leaving 177 active charters and five that were not operating.
Texas' move to expand charters is opposed to recent developments in California, where Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 1505 last year, giving local school districts the sole authority over approving charter schools. The new law could make it much more difficult for charters to expand.
Meanwhile, in the Los Angeles Unified School District, a $5.5 million grant program is addressing another contentious issue between charter and traditional schools: co-location. The one-year pilot program will be funded by charter school bond money and will be used to pay for school upgrades at co-location sites, also benefiting traditional schools in the process.
The charter debate can be a contentious one, and is one that has also reached students and their parents. “We all want the same thing, a better future for our children," a parent from LAUSD said late last year during a march by the parent advocacy group Speak Up Parents calling for the unity of traditional, magnet, pilot and charter schools. "The last thing we need is to face more hostility from within our community over the path we choose to help our children succeed."
Meanwhile, to add to the debate, Boston University researcher Marcus Winters recently released a report that found students who attended a common enrollment system charter school had sizable improvements in their reading and math scores. The study's findings, he hopes, will add “clear evidence into these conversations" about “to support or not support charter schools."