Facts and insights about Texas public schools
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Ratliff: Public School Performance Beats Charters

Thomas Ratliff, a former member of the State Board of Education and long-time advocate for public schools, recently responded to claims on the part of the Texas Charter School Association that charter schools are “steadily improving.” This claim came after critiques of substandard performance on their part.

Ratliff uses Texas Education Agency Snapshot data to show that charters have a dropout rate 3.5 times higher than ISDs, a much lower four-year graduation rate, fewer students taking college admission tests, lower achievement on college admission tests (with one minor exception), and lower performance on standardized tests. Charter schools also have fewer students in special education, career and technical education, and gifted and talented programs than ISDs (by a lot).

Charter schools spend 51 percent of their funding on instructional expenses, while ISDs spent 57.5 percent. An average of 13 percent of charter school expenditures are for central administration, compared to 6 percent for ISDs.

In spite of the above evidence that charters lag ISDs in terms of performance and spend less on instruction, the Legislature just increased state aid for charter schools by $1.46 billion and decreased state aid for ISDs by $2.6 billion. After 20 years, Ratliff questions how long we have to wait for charter schools to fulfill their promise of “improving student learning.”

Read “How Long Do We Have to Wait” by Thomas Ratliff.

October 9, 2017