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Posts Tagged ‘charter schools’

More on Achievement School Districts

Chris Barbic, the founder of YES Prep and the superintendent of Tennessee’s Achievement School District, one of the models for Greg Abbott’s education plan, weighs in on what these things are and are not. First, by law, the Tennessee ASD charters can’t pick and choose their students; the charters are not open-enrollment schools. When a […]

Falkenberg on Abbott’s education plan

Lisa Falkenberg has a balanced take on Greg Abbott’s education plan. Progress has been tragically slow for the students of North Forest. And their saga makes great fodder for those beating the drum to create something called an “achievement school district” in Texas. It would have the power to take over low-performing schools with the […]

Abbott’s education plan

Some actual policy from Greg Abbott. In the 27-page, footnoted report that accompanied the press conference, he proposed to “create a swift, automatic process under which the very worst schools would be removed from the control of their local school districts each year” and instead run through the Texas Achievement School District. That district’s superintendent, […]

KIPP departs Galveston

I have two things to say about this. The popular KIPP charter school chain is pulling out of Galveston, where it operates two campuses with about 900 students combined under a contract with the school district. Because of statewide school funding cuts, Galveston ISD superintendent Larry Nichols said, the district has dipped into savings over […]

Teaching creationism in Texas

Zack Kopplin reports on some unconstitutional behavior by a national charter school operator that has several campuses in Texas. When public-school students enrolled in Texas’ largest charter program open their biology workbooks, they will read that the fossil record is “sketchy.” That evolution is “dogma” and an “unproved theory” with no experimental basis. They will […]

Back to court for the school finance lawsuit

Like deja vu all over again. State district court Judge John Dietz likened the state’s school finance case to the soap opera As The World Turns when he opened Wednesday’s hearing on whether to reconsider evidence in the trial that concluded in February. He drew the comparison not because of the trial’s drama but because […]

Testing and charter bills pass

A lot of stuff gets done at the last possible minute in the Legislature. The two big education bills were examples of this. The session’s two biggest school reform bills, one from each chamber, have danced the House and Senate in the session’s closing days—a stalemate that broke Sunday night as both bills passed each […]

House approves charter expansion bill SB2

A big step forward for those who would like to see more charters. Senate Bill 2 passed on a 105-34 vote on second reading. It now faces a third reading before it can be reconciled with a similar version the Senate passed last month. “I think the bill supports quality charters, helping them to expand […]

Where things stand with two weeks to go in the legislative session

With the Thursday midnight deadline for bills to pass on second reading in the House, I figured this would be a good time to take a look at the status of some major legislation and legislative priorities. There are two weeks left in the regular session, and the specter of overtime is hazy but present. […]

North Forest still fighting as the deadlines approach

Never give up, never surrender. North Forest ISD has spent more than $595,000 appealing the state’s order to shut down, newly obtained records show, and the school district is continuing the court fight as its July closure date nears. Despite the district’s ongoing appeal before an Austin court, the Texas Education Agency has ordered North […]

Legislative quick hits

This is the time of the session where there’s lots happening, and there isn’t always the time or space to stay on top of it all. So here are a few quick updates on things that are happening in an attempt to at least not be too far behind. A bill to give Tesla Motors […]

Charter bill passes Senate, voucher bill passes out of committee

Score one for Sen. Dan Patrick. As colleagues praised Education Chairman Dan Patrick’s efforts at building consensus, a significantly altered version of his expansion of the state’s charter school system quickly passed out of the Senate Thursday afternoon. Patrick, R-Houston, said the bill accomplished what should be the goal of lawmakers — lifting everyone through […]

Their charter school legislation and ours

How much of this sounds familiar to you? Charter schools would be given free rein if a proposal from Republicans in North Carolina’s state Senate is passed. Under the plan, oversight of charters would be taken from the state’s board of education and given to a charter school board with nine of 11 voting members […]

TEA drops the hammer on North Forest again

Pretty much as expected. North Forest ISD announced Monday that the Texas Education Agency had upheld the decision to close the school district and annex it to Houston ISD this summer. The ruling, however, does not end the school district’s fight to remain open. North Forest attorney Chris Tritico pledged to once again appeal the […]

HISD and KIPP debate North Forest’s future

HISD SUperintendent Terry Grier and KIPP co-founder Mike Feinberg meet with the Chronicle to discuss their vision for North Forest ISD. Under either scenario, students could face longer school hours to help them catch up academically, and some employees may have to change positions or lose their jobs if they don’t perform well. Grier said […]

The prospects for increasing charter schools

According to the Trib, it’s trickier than it might look. Senate Bill 2, the centerpiece of Patrick’s plans for the session, is the most ambitious attempt to expand the state’s charter school system since it was established in 1995. To succeed, it will have to pass a Legislature that defeated more modest proposals just two […]

North Forest still fighting closure

I don’t know how successful they’ll be, nor do I know if I should wish them luck. Texas Education Agency officials on Friday made their final case for closing North Forest ISD, while district leaders countered that the school system has improved but is being held to an unfair standard. The TEA’s chief deputy commissioner, […]

Not so fast on the North Forest charter plan

Not everyone is convinced that the plan to allow a consortium of charter schools to take over North Forest ISD is a good idea. In interviews Monday, state Rep. Senfronia Thompson and Sens. Rodney Ellis and John Whitmire, all Democrats, voiced reservations about the last-ditch attempt to prevent the annexation of North Forest to Houston […]

Charters apply to take over North Forest ISD

Fine by me. In a potentially groundbreaking move, three of Houston’s top-performing charter schools are making a pitch to run the long-troubled North Forest school district. The charter groups — KIPP, YES Prep and Harmony — are asking Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams to approve their plan, instead of having the Houston Independent School District […]

More concern of convenience

David Dewhurst channels Dan Patrick. Dewhurst, noting his differing view from Straus, said he’s a product of public schools and wants to support them, but said he doesn’t want to leave an estimated 315,000 Texas students in academically unacceptable schools. “I’m mad. I’m mad as hell about that,” Dewhurst said, adding that it takes on […]

Senate committee restores some money to public education

Emphasis on the “some”. Texas public schools would get back a chunk of the $5.4 billion in state funding they lost two years ago under a budget proposal adopted by the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday. But they probably should not expect much more than the $1.5 billion the committee added to the 2014-15 state […]

Why do we think more charters would help?

Patricia Kilday Hart discusses the political battle over charter schools, but in doing so reminds me that there’s a fundamental question that seems to be going largely unasked. Now, a sweeping bill filed by Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, could lead to an explosion in Texas charter operations. Patrick, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, would […]

HISD cold on Patrick’s charter proposal

HISD has a bone to pick with Sen. Dan Patrick’s school choice bill. The Houston Independent School District was charter friendly long before other school districts were, mainly due to the influence of then-Superintendent Rod Paige. The nationally known Knowledge is Power Program, for instance, probably would not exist on the scale and scope it […]

Some charter school stories

Now that Sen. Dan Patrick has filed his school choice bill, I thought this would be a good time to review some recent stories about charter schools. There were a couple of interesting stories relating to charter schools in the DMN the weekend before last. This story is about four charter school applications that contained […]

Patrick files his “school choice” bill

From the Trib: The State Board of Education currently oversees applications for charter school contracts, which state law caps at 215. Patrick’s Senate Bill 2 would create a new state entity to authorize the contracts and lift that cap, allowing for an unlimited number of charter school operators in the state. “There is no one […]

School finance system ruled unconstitutional

Surely no one is surprised by this. The system Texas uses to fund public schools violates the state’s constitution by not providing enough money and failing to distribute the money in a fair way, a judge ruled Monday in a landmark decision that could force the Legislature to overhaul the way it pays for education. […]

What we need is better choice

With all the talk about “school choice” floating around, it’s important to remember that in Houston at least we already have a lot of options from which to choose. Houston’s urban school leaders vowed Wednesday to continue efforts to expand quality school choices, despite financial and regulatory challenges. Top charters schools – including KIPP and […]

Patrick teases his school choice proposals

He doesn’t want to call it “vouchers”, but if it walks like a duck… “If there’s one message that I want to send, it’s that I want to champion public education,” said Patrick, the new chairman of the Senate Public Education Committee. Whether the education community is ready to embrace Patrick in that role is […]

TREE lawsuit may proceed with the other school finance suits

We will have one big school finance lawsuit, not multiple separate suits. State District Judge John Dietz ruled on Tuesday that the claims from Texans for Real Efficiency and Equity in Education, a group of charter school supporters and parents, belong in the lawsuit. The decision ensures that case will proceed to trial on Oct. […]

Some things are not easily replicated

I have three things to say about this. Harmony Public Schools appears to have cracked the code. The charter school system, with 38 campuses across Texas and more than 23,000 students, regularly produces students who excel at math, science and engineering. And they do it on a shoestring. Harmony’s five schools in Austin spent $7,923 […]

Once again on charter school facilities

David Dunn of the Texas Charter Schools Association writes another op-ed about funding for charter school facilities. The Texas Charter Schools Association has looked at the needs of public school students whose parents have chosen the option of public charter schools for them, and we know that these Houston students deserve the same consideration as […]

School finance lawsuit #6

And then there were six. The Texas Charter School Association announced Tuesday that it would enter the legal fray, arguing that the state has short-changed charter schools because it does not provide funding for facilities. “Just because a parent puts his or her students in a charter school doesn’t mean that they deserve that funding […]

School finance lawsuit #5

The plaintiffs keep on coming. A lawsuit by a small group of parents claims Texas is not getting enough bang for its educational buck, and asks the state’s courts to address inefficiencies in how education funding is spent. Attorneys plan to file their litigation Friday in Austin on behalf of five families who say Texas […]

Dis-Harmony

Interesting story about the Harmony charter schools, which are right up there with KIPP and YES Prep among the top charters. They seem to attract a fair amount of criticism, more than their peers, for how they do their business, which is explored in the story. Based on what is detailed, I have to agree […]