With a national parent movement attempting to safeguard children in public schools from critical race theory, pornographic library books, and boys in the girls restrooms, Texas charter schools are growing, with thousands of students currently on waiting lists.
“Charter schools are tuition-free public schools—open to all students, regardless of their zip code,” says the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
Essentially, charter schools are independently operated public schools that have a contract (charter) with an authorizing agency and agree to meet the standards set forth in the charter. Advocates say the charter school model allows for innovation and flexibility in the classroom, with each classroom designed to fit the needs of its own students.
Nationally, charter schools saw a 7 percent increase in enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year. In Texas, this TEA report shows a 8.6 percent increase in charter school enrollment and a 2.2 percent decrease in public school enrollment.
More than 58,000 children are on the waiting lists for public charter schools, according to this TEA report, and “waitlist numbers peak during primary transition periods such as the entrance to kindergarten, sixth grade, and ninth grade.”
Brian Whitley, spokesman for Charter Schools Now, told Texas Scorecard, “It’s never been more clear: Texas families believe in expanding educational opportunity. Parents support public charter schools because they help more children—with diverse backgrounds and needs—be successful.”
This has extended to the electoral process, where several candidates for the State Board of Education were defeated in favor of charter school advocates.
Most notably, in District 14, Evelyn Brooks defeated incumbent member Sue Melton-Malone, who had obstructed charter school approval while on the board. Meanwhile, another charter school advocate, Julie Pickren, won an open seat in District 7.
“Texans are united in calling for a public education system that is stronger, more fair, and more responsive to individual families. The next legislative session is an opportunity to put our students and parents first,” said Whitley.
Indeed, alternative schooling is trending upward across the board, as Texas Home School Coalition reports the number of families homeschooling in Texas has tripled.