Texas celebrates its 25-year relationship with charters... still no democracy or public accountability in sight.
If there is anyone still doubting that charter operators in Texas (and across the nation) receive every economic and political advantage, please take a moment to watch the 14 June 2019, Public Hearings at the Texas State Board of Education. Plan for several hours of your day to watch the hearings in their entirety (click here). Or, you can watch the condensed version below:
"I have six pages of questions for you." Here are the Teacher's Notes: (click here for the 6-page PDF)
Today, the Texas Education Agency is asking for public input on the Generation 25 Charter Application:
"The commissioner, in conjunction with staff in the Division of Charter School Administration, is in the final phase of preparing for the release of the Generation Twenty-Five open-enrollment charter application this fall. In the past, some of you have provided input regarding the content of the charter application and/or the commissioner’s charter authorization process. Our office welcomes any input that you may have to help strengthen the charter application process as we incorporate statutory changes and other edits to this iteration of the application.
Should you need to reference last year’s application, the Generation Twenty-Four charter application is still available on the TEA website for reference. If you would like to provide input into the Generation Twenty-Five charter application process, please submit any suggested edits and/or recommendations to email@example.com by Wednesday, September 4, 2019."
In January 2019, the Texas State Board of Education passed policy intending to require public hearings on Charter Contact Amendments and Expansions, which is how existing charters multiply.
TXSBOE policy intends to gather public input on charter expansions
However, the Texas Legislature decided that a website that exists in obscurity is sufficient. Now taxpayers are told where their public education dollars are being siphoned to online rather than by surprise when taxpayer-funded buildings go up (without a bond vote like ISDs perform, by law). Did you know that when a charter defaults on their building loans, you pay the debt - and the charter keeps the building?
My office continues to work on making these applicants follow the law, and the applications equitable to the lawful and righteous efforts which ISD's must perform and provide effective educational opportunities to all students. However, applicants regularly submit false information based on their cherry-picking and segregationist abilities. This ability results in ISD Superintendents forced to extensively communicate with TEA and attend public hearings to dispute the falsehoods told by charter applicants. More often than not, to no avail.
a) New charter operators are approved solely by the TEA Commissioner of Education. The Texas State Board of Education may veto these annual approvals.
b) Charter Amendments and Expansions are approved solely by the TEA Education Commissioner. In fewer than seven years, more than 400 expansions have been approved without public hearings, without taxpayer input, without community voices.
Georgina C. Pérez