Houston ISD Superintendent Richard Carranza this week withdrew a plan to deeply cut funding for the district’s magnet programs over the next three years, shelving a proposal that had angered parents and some school board members who consider the specialized academic programs to be jewels in an oft-troubled school system. The proposed cuts, outlined in a presentation to the HISD board last week, would have eliminated all extra funding per student to many of the district’s 121 magnet programs by the 2019-2020 school year while cutting funding to many of the other programs by hundreds of dollars per student. Only funding for secondary-language and early-college programs were spared. view article arw

 Five-year-old Nico Rosenblatt cannot speak and struggles to learn because of a rare genetic condition, yet thrives when surrounded by other children in a regular classroom, according to his parents. However, they say neither the public school system nor a charter school in the nation's capital could provide an inclusive environment for him. "It's a fundamental question of civil rights and access to education for us," said Karen Hoerst, Nico's 35-year-old mother. "It's really about: Does our kid who happens to have a developmental disability deserve to be educated alongside his peers or not?" view article arw

AUSTIN — Texas' move to greatly expand virtual charter schools despite their lackluster performance was significantly scaled back Tuesday.   Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, had sought to offer the digital school option to students in kindergarten through second grade to give families options that work for them.  But various education advocates have warned against expanding the charters because they have shown poor student achievement across the state and the nation. One major 2015 study found that kids in virtual charter schools lost up to a year's worth of math education and almost a semester of reading. view article arw

San Antonio Independent School District trustees Monday night approved a partnership that allows the John H. Wood Jr. charter school district to manage SAISD’s alternative school for students with emotional or behavioral disorders. “I think we have the potential to develop a model that really could grow and be used in other districts,” said Bruce Rockstroh, superintendent of the charter school district. “I hope this becomes the future of charter-ISD partnerships.” The charter district has eight schools in Texas, from the Fort Worth area to Karnes City to Crockett, north of Houston. Aside from the Anne Frank Inspire Academy, a high-performing school in Northwest San Antonio, the charter district runs alternative schools located in residential treatment or juvenile justice facilities. One such school is located at the Afton Oaks facility in San Antonio. view article arw

Texas Connections Academy, a virtual school is seeking to expand its reach in Wichita Falls. The academy is a tuition-free, virtual public school for students in 3rd – 12th grade. Wednesday night they hosted an informational session for parents and their children in the Wichita Falls area. Virtual schooling is a lot like home schooling, but instead students enrolled in virtual schooling work with certified teachers who are trained in online learning. view article arw

Sam Houston State University will launch a charter school program this fall by opening eight elementary schools in the Greater Houston area. The first of its kind in the state of Texas, the primary purpose of the charter school program is to allow SHSU student teachers to complete their practicums under the supervision of certified educators, charter school Superintendent Ronny Knox said. “This program has been in development for several years and we are very excited to enroll students and see the schools in action,” said Stacey Edmonson, SHSU College of Education dean. “What is most exciting is the opportunity to positively impact students while increasing our capacity to develop future-ready teachers.”  view article arw

For the seventh year in a row, 100 percent of Uplift Education seniors proudly announced their college choices in front of thousands of family members, peers and school and community leaders. And when you consider that 64 percent of these students will be the first in their families to go to college, this is no small feat. Down the road in Austin, San Antonio, Houston and the Valley, you'll find similar celebrations from other charter school networks producing the same results: 100 percent college acceptance rates for populations of children who are largely first-generation, economically disadvantaged, and come from traditionally underserved areas. view article arw

Sam Houston State University will launch a charter school program this fall by opening eight elementary schools in the Greater Houston area. The first of its kind in the state of Texas, the primary purpose of the charter school program is to allow SHSU student teachers to complete their practicums under the supervision of certified educators, charter school Superintendent Ronny Knox said. “This program has been in development for several years and we are very excited to enroll students and see the schools in action,” said Stacey Edmonson, SHSU College of Education dean. “What is most exciting is the opportunity to positively impact students while increasing our capacity to develop future-ready teachers.”  view article arw

AUSTIN — Hundreds of charter school students, parents and educators rallied at the Capitol on Wednesday to urge lawmakers for one thing: more money.   Charter advocates have long lobbied the state for facilities funding, and a few bills under consideration this session would help them address those needs.   Some legislation would create a per-pupil allowance for facilities, which only 13 other states do. Another bill would give traditional districts incentives to share their under-utilized buildings with a charter school.  view article arw

The sign planted on a sprawling lot in North Austin is hopeful: “Future Home of NYOS Charter School,” it says in big, black block letters. NYOS, which stands for Not Your Ordinary School, bought the vacant 10-acre lot adjacent to its main campus on North Lamar Boulevard nearly a year ago. While the grass is cut and the property well-maintained, there is no sign of construction — even though the school has outgrown two campuses.  That could change quickly if the Legislature passes either of two measures — one by Houston Democrat Harold Dutton or another by New Braunfels Republican Donna Campbell — that would provide more money for facilities to NYOS and other Texas charter schools. view article arw

Sam Houston State University will launch a charter school program this fall by opening eight elementary schools in the Greater Houston area. The first of its kind in the state of Texas, the primary purpose of the charter school program is to allow SHSU student teachers to complete their practicums under the supervision of certified educators, charter school Superintendent Ronny Knox said. “This program has been in development for several years and we are very excited to enroll students and see the schools in action,” said Stacey Edmonson, SHSU College of Education dean.  view article arw

"The (Texas) House is having a productive discussion about what are we going to do. Not just the next two years, but what are we going to do for the next 10 years, and what are we going to do for the next 20 years. That's a conversation that hasn't happened for decades," said Northside Independent School District Superintendent Brian Wood.  Wood worries that public schools will lose state student money to charter schools. He said the state needs to keep supporting public schools and resist the effort to give more to charter schools for infrastructure. view article arw

Focus Learning Academy, the charter school that came to prominence when its high school - Triple A Academy - won a UIL state basketball title in 2013, is pushing back against its state-ordered closure  And it's blaming the state's former Commissioner of Education for some of its woes.  Focus will hold a rally in its parking lot at 4 p.m. Thursday, to protest the Texas Education Agency's order that the school be closed at the end of the current school year. The charter, which has about 1,200 students in grades PK-12, has been rated as "Improvement Required" for the past three years. view article arw

Sam Houston State University will launch a charter school program this fall by opening eight elementary schools in the Greater Houston area. The primary purpose of the charter school program is for SHSU student teachers to be able to complete their practicums under the supervision of certified educators, charter school Superintendent Ronny Knox said. “Our charter school program is the only one like it in the state of Texas,” Knox said. “Our main goal is to provide a quality education to the students we serve, but we also want to be model classrooms where our student teachers can excel while offering another free education option.” view article arw

Food safety and health records released by the city's Metropolitan Health District and the Texas Department of Agriculture paint a concerning picture about conditions at the San Antonio School for Inquiry and Creativity (SASIC) District's charter school campuses. Last August, the health department received a complaint that a girl's bathroom at SASIC High School had human waste everywhere because of remodeling and that meals were being served in a classroom. Then in January, after a complaint of rats where children ate at the SASIC Prep Academy, a health inspector found a possible rodent entry hole, missing base boards and rodent bait traps inside the kitchen pantry. view article arw

Bills in the Texas House and Senate would authorize state facilities funding for charter schools. Charters are public schools whose students are subject to the same academic accountability standards as those in traditional public schools. But they don't get state funding to pay for buildings and facility maintenance. New Braunfels Republican Sen. Donna Campbell is proposing to shrink those funding gaps. She's also a leading proponent of "school choice" voucher plans seeking to offer public money for students attending private schools. view article arw

In 2001, Enron rocked the financial world by declaring bankruptcy in the wake of a now infamous accounting scandal. Within months, shares in the energy and commodities giant – the seventh largest corporation in the country at the time – plunged to penny stock levels. Thousands of employees lost their jobs. Investors lost billions.Less than 20 years later, the same type of fraud and mismanagement is happening in the charter school sector, says Preston Green, a professor of educational leadership and law at UConn’s Neag School of Education. In a forthcoming paper in the Indiana Law Journal, Green and his co-authors examine how charter school officials have engaged in Enron-like related-party transactions to divert charter school funding away from students and into their own pockets. The paper also flags steps that gatekeepers can take to prevent such abuses.   view article arw