Yesterday the Texas Senate passed SB 2 with a resounding 30-1 vote. The Senate should be applauded for passing a strong bill that will expand opportunity and improve the quality of charter schools in Texas. NACSA has been following this bill closely as it worked its way through the Senate Education Committee — where the going was rough at times. Eventually, the Committee and the Senate persevered.
The Senate has sent a strong bill to the House. This is a comprehensive overhaul of charter school authorizing in Texas. The bill doesn’t contain everything in NACSA’s policy agenda, but it has several provisions that align with NACSA’s One Million Lives Campaign and would be a tremendous step forward for charter schools and charter school authorizing in the state. For the first time, if S.B. 2 passed, Texas authorizing will include:
- A performance based contract that includes explicit goals for academic performance, with clear consequences – including nonrenewal and revocation – if the charter does not meet those goals
- Default closure of schools that don’t meet academic and financial standards. If a school receives the lowest ranking for three year it closes, end of story.
- Clear language to end the seemingly endless appeal process currently undertaken by charter schools the TEA tries to close. This means charters that are revoked will be transferred or shut down quickly, protecting kids from a poor quality education.
- Smart growth policies that lift caps and encourage the replication of high performing charter schools; while preventing the growth of poor charters. Charter operators will have to show exceptional results before they can expand with new campuses. But those that succeed will be able to do so at scale.
A battle now looms in the House, where we hope the bill gets the full consideration it deserves. This is a chance to balance charter school growth with the accountability needed to help ensure charter school quality. Passage can’t come soon enough.