Claycomb Associates, Architects

Escalating education culture wars and a focus on parental rights during the ongoing pandemic may have created an opening for school voucher-like legislation to gain momentum in the historically hesitant Texas Legislature. Voucher proposals have had a tough road in Texas, meeting tremendous opposition in the House from a coalition of urban Democrats and rural Republicans who don’t want to funnel state money away from public schools. But shifting political winds could change that. “The conditions are better now than they’ve ever been,” said Patrick Wolf, a University of Arkansas education policy professor who studies school choice.  Gov. Greg Abbott came out publicly Monday night in support of a voucher program that would allow families to use public funds to attend private schools, a development that public school advocates have been bracing for in recent months as Republicans funneled their angst over so-called critical race theory into calls for more “parental empowerment.” view article arw

Ohio knows charter schools. A lobbyist for the charter school industry wrote the law. Charter schools are mistakenly called “community schools.” Most charter schools in the state are failing schools, but that does not dim the enthusiasm of the GOP legislature for them. Ohio welcomes for-profit charter schools. Charters drain money from public schools.  For the first time in the history of the federal Charter Schools Program, which started in 1994, the federal U.S. Department of Education has proposed regulations to exclude for-profit management of charters that seek federal funding to expand and to require charters seeking federal funding to present a summary of their charter on the locality where they plan to open.  Jan Resseger, who lives in Ohio, sent the following appeal to her followers. view article arw

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is investigating allegations of child abuse or neglect within East Texas Advanced Academies.  East Texas Advanced Academies is a charter school that operates six campuses within Longview ISD: Bramlette STEAM Academy, J.L. Everhart, Johnston-McQueen, East Texas Montessori Prep Academy, Ware East Texas Montessori Academy and Forest Park Middle School.  Earlier this year, East Texas Advanced Academies CEO Cynthia Wise resigned and a received a $350,000 lump sum payment. Several principals at ETAA campuses also were replaced in recent months. ETAA and LISD officials have provided little explanation for Wise's resignation or the principal changes. view article arw

Austin school district officials are seeking to hire a Colorado charter school operator to turn around Mendez Middle School. Under a proposal approved by the Austin school board last week, the district will submit an application to the Texas Education Agency for Third Future to run the long struggling Southeast Austin school beginning next fall. It's the district's latest attempt to improve academic performance at the campus, which has not met state standards since 2013, according to district leaders. If a school fails to meet state academic standards for five consecutive years, the state can intervene, including by replacing a district's school board with a board of managers appointed by the state education commissioner. view article arw