In the year since the Sam Houston Charter School was authorized by the Texas State University System Board of Regents, a lot of headway has been made to develop a system that will benefit both the students of Sam Houston State University, as well as the elementary-aged students who will attend the open-enrollment schools. view article arw

GaryRubinstein writes here about the myth of YES Prep. It is run by the husband of TFA’s CEO. Wendy Kopp wrote in her last book that the YES Prep charter chain had cracked the code and was showing that every single student was capable of excellence. view article arw

Charter schools have become a central feature of the school “choice” movement, itself a key part of corporate school reform, which seeks to operate public schools as if they were businesses rather than civic institutions. There are now thousands of charters — which are publicly funded but independently operated, sometimes by for-profit companies — enrolling a few million students in 43 states and the District of Columbia who make up about 6 percent of public school students across the country.  While they are a small minority of the public school student population, outsized controversy surrounds charter schools in many communities, especially in states where lax oversight has resulted in financial irregularities and traditional public schools are negatively affected.  view article arw

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A teenager grips the steering wheel and presses pedals. He sees wind-blown snow in front of him as he approaches the runway. A video game? No, George Radashaw is at a public charter school, simulating a flight in a Cessna airplane.  "I've always loved aviation," the 17 year-old said, keeping his eyes focused on panels of high-tech instruments. "It started at 3. I saw an airplane, and I wanted to fly them ever since." view article arw

The Manor Independent School District wants the community to know it’s working to invest in them. Next year, they’re rolling out big changes for the campuses, bringing specialty programs to elementary and middle schools. In addition to creating more New Tech schools, they’ll be enhancing fine arts programs and applying for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program for some campuses. Students will be able to start the programs young and continue them through high school. view article arw

When it’s practice time for the YES Prep West Marvels track team, students at the 6-12 charter school in Houston’s Chinatown neighborhood run in the school parking lot. That’s because YES Prep West doesn’t have a track — the school is located inside a converted old warehouse. Other YES Prep schools occupy a repurposed church, a renovated Kroger grocery store and an office building. Two more conversions, including a hospital, are planned for this winter. view article arw

HOUSTON - A Houston Charter School appears to have closed its doors permanently because of financial insolvency.The Houston Heights Learning Academy, which was originally granted a State Board of Education charter in September, 1998.  The Board of Directors for the school informed the Texas Education Agency it would close for good as of Nov. 18.  A Channel 2 Investigates review of state records shows the school spent approximately three times more on operating expenses than the state average. view article arw

On Tuesday night, at a southern Dallas library, Dallas ISD and charter school operator International Leadership of Texas jointly participated in a community meeting, with both school systems describing what they have to offer. It wasn't just a school fair, though. It was political theater. ILTexas - founded by former DISD administrator Eddie Conger - hopes to open a $24 million, 94,000-square foot K-8 campus on Simpson Stuart Road, a quarter of a mile from the Highland Hills Branch Library, where the event was held. The new building would be in DISD's attendance zone, potentially pulling students from the Wilmer-Hutchins feeder pattern. view article arw

Monday on The Chad Hasty Show, GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak joined the show to discuss current topics in state and national news. view article arw

In which Gary Miron and I discuss various methods by which charter school operators work largely within existing policy constraints, to achieve financial gain. While working on this report, I explored various other topics that did not make the final cut, in part because I was then, and continue to have difficulty gathering sufficient information. The other day, however this article was posted on LA Weekly about wage extraction by “Gulen” charter schools:  view article arw

TEA Releases Charter School Study

December 1208:37 AM

TASB Govermental Relations - The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has posted a report on the performance of open-enrollment charter school campuses as compared to their matched independent school district campuses as required by Senate Bill 2 (83rd Legislature, 2013). The report includes comparisons of graduation and dropout rates, performance on state assessments, attrition, and other measures. Read the study. read more arw

What President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican sweep of government will mean for K-12 education priorities over the next four years is not entirely clear yet. However, policy statements and administration selections so far indicate “school choice” will top the agenda.   Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee for education secretary, has been known to be an advocate of school choice initiatives: DeVos has supported voucher programs that allow families to use taxpayer money to enroll in private and religious schools. She also promoted charter school legislation that offers students choices outside of traditional public schools. view article arw

Millions of dollars will remain in the coffers of public charter schools after the State Board of Education freed up more state money to back their construction bonds. On Friday, the board signed off on dedicating an additional $249 million of the Permanent School Fund in March to back bond issues for charter schools and then another set for $317 million in September. The backing of the fund, which at $30 billion is the largest education endowment in the country, allows Charter schools to pay lower interest on bonds.  The board will hold one more vote in February to finalize Friday’s decision. view article arw

It's hard to tell who goes to which school at one Spring Branch ISD campus.  Landrum Middle houses a traditional public school and "KIPP: Courage," the state's first charter to operate on a public school campus. The students walk the same halls, use the same gymnasium.  "My best friend goes to Landrum," said Baleria Jimenez, a KIPP student,"but it's cool, because we still get to interact with each other."  Spring Branch ISD embarked on a partnership with two charter school operators, KIPP and Yes Prep, about five years ago. The district allowed the charter operators to launch programs at two middle-school campuses and a high school that were suffering from low enrollment. view article arw

AUSTIN – The State Board of Education on Friday gave a preliminary OK to a plan to expand the Permanent School Fund's allowance to charter schools, tentatively approving the backing of about $500 million for the privately-managed public schools for building projects.  The move indicates the board will renew the state's commitment to lend money to select charter schools at a lower interest rate as state lawmakers clamor to support school choice. A final vote by the board is expected in February. view article arw

You may recall the Livermore Charter Schools in Livermore, California. In August, some 500 students fled the charters and returned to the public schools in the district.  Now the company that runs the charter schools has filed for Chapter 11 protection in bankruptcy proceedings. This enables them to default on their bonds and save money while they reorganize financially.  The two Livermore charters recently had seen a mass exodus of students to the local school district. On Nov. 14, the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District plans on opening a satellite elementary school for more than 300 students coming from the charter school. In August, about 400 students from both the K-8 charter and high school left the charter schools for district schools. view article arw

Jay Greene explained “Why Charters Will Lose in Massachusetts” in a blog entry posted earlier this fall.  Earlier this week, Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Brandon Wright explained “How the Massachusetts Charter School Cap Harms Disadvantaged Students.” view article arw

Julian Vasquez Heilig joins the Rick Smith Show to discuss school choice research and recent development in the civil rights community calling for a moratorium on charter schools. view article arw

Compared to most education interventions, charter schools have unusually good research evidence on impacts on participating students. Researchers have been able to take advantage of natural experiments that are created by the admissions lotteries of oversubscribed charter schools. The lottery losers represent an ideal comparison group, because they are similar to the winners in all respects except the luck of the admissions draw. Studies relying on charter-school lotteries have not found uniformly positive effects, but they have identified particular charter-school operators (such as KIPP) and particular cities (such as Boston) where effects on charter students are unambiguously favorable.v view article arw

Families at one of Dallas’ oldest and biggest charter schools say children have been mistreated, school leaders don’t listen, and the board is tainted by nepotism.  Parents at A.W. Brown-Fellowship Leadership Academy have launched largely symbolic online petitions calling for the board’s removal. They’ve posted videos and pictures on Facebook from heated board meetings where parents question the school’s direction.  “It’s horrible this year. Something’s changed,” parent LaTrondra King said. School leaders don’t seem to take parents’ concerns seriously, she said. view article arw

Billboards, glossy mailers and ads at movie theaters here promote the offerings available at public schools. In Los Angeles, dozens of 8-foot-high banners with photos of college-bound students line a busy road, targeting families with school-age children. Westonka Public Schools in Minnesota sends parents a baby bag filled with a district-logoed bib, a welcome letter from the superintendent and a course catalog. view article arw

America’s public schools, which over the 20th century came to embrace the promise of equal opportunity for all children, are at a historic crossroad. Once the heart of our democracy and a bastion of local accountability, our K-12 schools now bear the scars of a nearly 25-year assault from a cadre of very wealthy ideological reformers who seek to privately run them using taxpayers' funds. Their most popular tool to dismantle this public good? Charter public schools, especially those run by corporate franchises, which now educate millions of students. view article arw

ouston-area State Rep. Harold Dutton’s recent column about charter schools ignored many facts regarding how charter schools perform and operate, and it failed to address the reasons why the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on new charter schools. view article arw

The former Girl Scout camp known as Camp Lula Sams has been purchased by IDEA Public Schools.  Now known as Camp RIO at Lula Sams, IDEA had been leasing the area to take students on field trips where they learned canoeing, archery and other skills, plus listened to presentations about reptiles and other animals. view article arw