San Antonio – The vote today by the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) to revoke the charter of a public charter school demonstrates the success of the education reform and charter school movement. It also points out a double standard. Unlike traditional public schools, accountability for charter schools is swift and decisive. If parents are dissatisfied, they can remove their child. If the SBOE is dissatisfied, they will revoke the school’s charter.
“Charter schools give parents more freedom to choose their child’s education, and schools more freedom to teach. Freedom and accountability go hand in hand. The SBOE is right to shut down bad charter schools and parents are right to select another school,” stated J. C . Bowman, Director of Education Research of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
The SBOE Committee of the Whole today revoked the charter of the Rameses Charter School of San Antonio. “This is proof that educational choice is succeeding,” added Bowman. “Had these schools been traditional public schools, they would have never been shut down.”
The high standards employed for charter schools should be extended to failing traditional public schools as well. Since the passage of the charter law in Texas in 1995, more than 150 charter schools have been formed, of which only eight have subsequently closed.
According to Allan Parker, a member of the official SBOE Charter School Evaluation Team, “Bad public schools should be shut down, but it is too politically difficult to shut down traditional government schools even if they are charged with criminal wrongdoing for inflating TAAS scores like Austin ISD, or for criminal misappropriation of school funds like Dallas ISD, or for sexual abuse as occurs in hundreds of government schools each year. Austin ISD and Dallas ISD would be shut down for criminal conduct of employees if the same standards applied to them as to charter schools.” Charter and school choice advocates have always embraced accountability for the few schools that fail. “We urge parents to exercise great care in selecting a school, whether it’s a charter school or a traditional government school,” Parker said. “Fortunately, parents in charter schools have a choice and many are choosing another charter school rather than go back to a bad situation in their assigned public school.”