Although there are many high-performing charters in Texas serving students well, prior to 2013 there was an urgent need to reform the authorization and revocation process for charters after many Texas charter schools were authorized and allowed to continue operation despite repeated years of poor academic performance and/or fiscal irresponsibility.
The Texas Legislature in 2013 passed Senate Bill 2, a bill expanding the cap on the number of charters authorized to operate in Texas, while at the same time tightening oversight of and intervention with low-performing charters and the charter authorization process. SB 2 requires the commissioner of education to revoke a charter after three years of failure to meet minimum academic or financial accountability ratings.
Since SB2 passed, over 35 charters have ceased operation.
As established in SB 2, the commissioner of education exercises important oversight of open-enrollment charter schools. Because open-enrollment charter leaders are not elected, state accountability for this type of public school is critical.
In a system educating more than 5 million+ public school students, innovation must consistently be encouraged, but always while ensuring students are well-served in the process, through a public school accountability system providing for transparency in student performance outcomes and the use of public dollars.