The Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) and the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) today released a new case study to answer pressing questions about why public charter schools are growing at slower rates despite strong demand and serving communities well. Over the past four years, the annual rate of charter school growth declined precipitously across the nation, from a rate of 14 percent annual student enrollment growth in 2014 to five percent in 2017. A study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) indicated similar trends in Texas, with 90 new charter campuses opening in 2012, compared to 65 in 2013 and just 26 in 2014.
Time to Change Course: Reclaiming the Potential of Texas Public Charter Schools, A State Case Study analyzes the history of charter school authorizing in Texas and its implications for charter growth and the future of the public charter school movement across the nation. The study indicates that regulatory hurdles, administrative barriers and inequitable public policy may be unintentionally hindering the growth of an alternative public education option despite growing demand. Recent estimates suggest more than 130,000 students in Texas and a million students nationwide are on waiting lists for public charter schools.
ExcelinEd and TPPF recommend a renewed intentionality when it comes to charter school authorizing and there are promising signs that Texas is already headed in this direction. The case study includes best practices for improving administration as well as statutory and policy enhancements that could remove barriers to public charter school growth.
“Every parent’s vision for their children is one of expanded opportunity,” said Governor Jeb Bush, Chair of ExcelinEd. “Charter schools, now authorized in 44 states, are delivering much-needed options and a quality education for millions of students. This new research offers valuable guidance for leaders to build on success and reimagine education for the next generation of Americans.”
“Meeting the needs of families and communities is at the core of a nationwide demand for public charter schools,” said Patricia Leveque, CEO of ExcelinEd. “Yet these innovative schools are often hampered by inequitable funding, obstacles in the authorization process and little to zero support for school facilities. My hope is that this Texas study allows policymakers in all states to better understand how charter schools serve their students well and how public resources directed toward students—no matter their school environment—are always a great investment in a state’s future.”
“The obstacles that new charter schools in Texas face can seem as insurmountable as the obstacles faced by Texas children in traditional public schools that aren’t meeting their needs,” said TPPF Executive Director Dr. Kevin Roberts. “This study gives policy makers a clear roadmap for opening up more options for parents and brighter futures for their children.”
For more information on public charter school policy, please visit excelined.org/opportunity/charter-schools/.