Saturday, March 19, 2011

Charter Schools: The Other Shoe Drops

I have long-suspected that it is an agenda item of the Republican Party to end public school education in America. It certainly looks like that is the case in Texas. In Texas, with a $27 billion budget shortfall, and with half of the total budget being in the area of public education, I suspect that this government-created crisis is being used to gut the education system.

And now I see that the other shoe has dropped.

Austin legislators are now talking about raising the cap on how many charter schools can operate in Texas.

“State law caps the number of charters the State Board of Education may grant at 215, and there are currently 210 active charters. House and Senate committees will take up bills related to raising that cap as early as Tuesday. The most ambitious would allow up to 100 new charters per year, with no total limit. A more moderate proposal would allow 10 new charters annually.”
The trouble is, this couldn’t come at a worse time. The TEA is the agency that monitors the performance of charter schools, as it does public schools. Except because charter schools are not subjected to the same testing requirements as public schools – no TAKS testing in other words, the monitoring process is different at charter schools. And the TEA just laid off 91 full time and 11 contract workers. They must make do with fewer staff, but are now going to be expected to monitor the performance of more of these charter schools.

And charter schools have a poor reputation for quality education. While a total of 1.4% of public schools are rated “academically unacceptable,”11.1% of the 210 charter schools operating in Texas were rated at that level.

I just wish they’d  come clean and state the real reason they want to increase the cap on charter schools. One thing for sure it isn’t, and that’s giving a quality education to Texas’ schoolchildren.

Face it, its not quality education we are talking about here. We aren’t concerned with quality education are we? The real concern is clear to anyone, it’s all about making money. Public schools are money sinks, charter schools are a cash cow.

Charter schools: Kids lose, too.

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