NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 15, 2007

A number of charter schools in Texas are succeeding, earning top marks on the state's annual exam and emphasizing such creative techniques as intense after-school work.  But some have plummeted to the bottom. Insufficient planning and inadequate facilities, among other factors, have doomed some to poor scores on state accountability tests, says the Dallas Morning News.

But instead of ending the experiment, as some critics might prefer, lawmakers should follow legislation being crafted by state Sens. Florence Shapiro and Kyle Janek. Among the recommendations:

  • Grant charters money for facilities if they earn high marks on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills for two years; today, charters receive no money for buildings, forcing many to educate children in shoddy facilities and scramble for private funds.
  • Allow the state to shut down failing charters -- schools that remain on the state's low-performing list for two years would go away; so would charters that can't get more than a quarter of their kids to pass the state's math and reading exams.

Charter schools still can offer interesting ways to educate Texas children. Successful programs like North Hills School in Irving, KIPP Academy in Houston and others show that. What the state needs is to find ways to grow more schools like them. It only makes sense for the Legislature to help by rewarding the trailblazers and closing the failures.

Source: Editorial, "How to Pass This Test," Dallas Morning News, January 15, 2007.


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