State Sen. Dan Patrick wants to uncap the potential of charter schools—by uncapping the number of charter schools allowed to operate in the state, among other things.
SB 2 by Patrick (Chairman of the Public Education Committee) makes several reforms to the laws governing charter schools that will empower parents to better their children’s education.
Among them, SB 2 strikes the statute capping the number of charter schools allowed to operate in the state of Texas. Under current law, only 215 charters may be granted at any one time. (An entity may operate several campuses under the same charter.)
Charter schools were originally created by the Legislature in 1995 to provide an alternative to the traditional one-size-fits-all public school model. While still a “public school”, charter schools are allowed more flexibility than traditional public schools in terms of curriculum and other educational mandates.
Sen. Patrick’s bill would make it easier for school districts and parents to turn an existing traditional public school into a charter school, while also making it easier to rescind the charters of schools failing to meeting academic standards put in place by the state.
Additionally, SB 2 provides charter schools with the ability to buy or lease underutilized public school facilities, as well an allotment of funding for construction, maintenance, and operation of instructional facilities on their campuses.
Eliminating the charter school cap and making it easier for parents/school districts to turn failing schools into charter schools are two important reforms our public education system badly needs.
The Legislature has the potential to empower parents and students—and not administrators and educrats—with the power to pick an educational path best suited for their own needs.
What will they choose?
SB 2 is considered priority legislation and is subject to scoring on the Fiscal Responsibility Index.