Measuring Up



Texas

TOTAL SCORE:
47 out of 116

Rank: 19 out of 26

See a summary of the state’s
charter law.

See additional observations about charters in the state and recommendations to support the growth of high-quality charter schools.

What is the state of charter schools in Texas?

GROWTH INDICATORS

 

 

Score


1. Public school share
 (2013–14)

6

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Number

Percentage

 

Public charter schools

689

8%

 

 


2. Public school student share
 (2013–14)

3

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Number

Percentage

 

Public charter school students

238,093

5%

 

 

3. Students by race and ethnicity (2012–13)

8

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

White

15%

31%

-16%

Black

21%

12%

9%

Hispanic

57%

51%

6%

Asian

4%

4%

0%

Other

2%

2%

0%

Total minority

84%

69%

15%

 

4. Students in special populations (2012–13)

4

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

Free and reduced-price lunch status

71%

49%

22%

Special education status

N/A

N/A

N/A

English learner status

N/A

N/A

N/A

Total special student populations

71%

49%

22%

 

5. Schools by geographic distribution (2011–12)

4

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

City

69%

34%

35%

Suburb

14%

19%

-5%

Town

5%

14%

-9%

Rural

12%

34%

-22%

Total nonsuburban

86%

81%

5%

 

6. Communities with more than 10 percent of students in public charter schools (2012–13)

4

weight = 1 | Possible total = 4

 

 

 

Number of communities with more than 10 percent of students in public charter schools

10

 

7. New public charter schools opened over the past five years  (2009–14)

6

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

2009–10

49

Average Annual Open Rate

7.8%

2010–11

43

2011–12

43

2012–13

48

2013–14

52

Total number

235

 

 

 

 

8. Public charter schools closed over the past five years (2008–13)

6

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

2008–09

6

Average Annual Closure Rate

1.7%

2009–10

13

2010–11

17

2011–12

8

2012–13

3

Total number

47

 

 

 

 
 

INNOVATION INDICATORS

 

 

Score

9. Public charter schools reporting use of various innovative practices (2011–12)

6

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

 

 

 

Extended day (30 minutes or more each day compared to traditional public schools)

62%

Average

30%

Extended year (10 or more days compared to traditional public schools)

36%

Year-round calendar

6%

Independent study

32%

School-to-work

16%

Higher education courses

30%

 
 

QUALITY INDICATORS

 

 

Score

10. Additional days of learning in reading (2007–11)

0

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

 

 

 

Number of additional days of learning in reading

-22

 

 

 

 

11. Additional days of learning in math (2007–11)

0

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

 

 

 

Number of additional days of learning in math

-29

 

 

 

Items Reported But Not Scored

Startups versus conversions (2012–13)

 

Startups

Conversions

 

 

Percentage of a state’s public charter schools

88%

12%

 

 

 

Public charter schools that are independent, associated with a CMO, or associated with an EMO (2010–11)

 

Number

Percentage

 

 

Independent

229

41%

 

 

Charter management organization

328

59%

 

 

Education management organization

2

0.4%

 

 

 

Charter authorizers (2013–14)

 

Number of authorizers

Number of charter schools

Average number of charters per authorizer

Percentage of the state’s public charters authorized by this type of authorizer

Local education agency

16

76

5

11%

State education agency

1

613

613

89%

Independent charter board

Noneducational government entity

Higher education institution

Nonprofit

 

Virtual public charter schools and students (2012–13)

Number of virtual public charter school students

5,319

 

 

Percentage of a state’s public charter school student population enrolled
in virtual charter schools

2%

 

 

Number of virtual public charter schools

1

 

 

Percentage of a state’s public charter schools that are virtual charter schools

0%

 

 

 

Health of the Movement Summary

Texas’ public charter school movement ranked #19 out of 26, scoring 47 points out of 116.

Texas scored relatively well on the following indicators:

  • Public charter schools served a higher percentage of racial and ethnic minority students (15 percentage points more) when compared with traditional public schools in 2012–13.
  • Ten communities in Texas had more than 10 percent of their public school students in charters in 2012–13.
  • An average of 30 percent of the state’s public charter schools reported using one of the six innovative practices that we tracked in 2011–12.

Texas scored relatively low on the following indicators:

  • Only 5 percent of the state’s public school students were charter students in 2013–14.
  • On average, public charter school students exhibited lower academic growth when compared with traditional public school students between 2007–08 and 2010–11 in Texas (22 fewer days in reading and 29 fewer days in math).

In addition to the above points, we also offer the following observations about the movement in Texas:

  • Eight percent of the state’s public schools were charters in 2013–14.
  • Public charter schools in Texas served a significantly higher percentage of free and reduced-price lunch students (22 percentage points more) when compared with traditional public schools in 2012-13.
  • Eighty-six percent of the state’s public charters were located in nonsuburban areas in 2011–12 as compared to 81 percent of traditional public schools.
  • Two hundred thirty-five charters opened between 2009–10 and 2013–14 in Texas, a 7.8 percent average annual open rate.
  • Forty-seven charter campuses closed between 2008–09 and 2012–13 in Texas, a 1.7 percent average annual closure rate.
  • Eighty-eight percent of the state’s public charters were startups, and 12 percent were conversions during 2012–13.
  • In 2010–11, 59 percent of the state’s public charters were associated with a nonprofit charter management organization, 41 percent were independently managed, and less than 1 percent were associated with a for-profit educational management organization.
  • In 2013–14, Texas law allowed applicants to apply to either local school boards or the state board of education. As of 2013–14, 16 local school boards had authorized 76 public charter campuses (11 percent of the state’s public charter campuses), and the state board of education had authorized 613 public charter campuses (89 percent).
  • There was one virtual public charter school in Texas in 2012–13, serving 5,319 students (2 percent of the state’s public charter school population).

Recommendations

Overall, Texas’ charter school movement is growing at a healthy clip, especially with 10 communities with at least 10 percent of their public school students enrolled in charters. While there are many successful public charter schools and nonprofit charter management organizations in Texas, public charter school students, on average, are not performing as well as their peers in traditional public schools, although it is important to note that the most recent student academic growth data available are from 2010–11.

Recognizing these strengths and weaknesses in the movement, Texas charter school supporters, led by the Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA), have implemented several efforts to improve achievement. TCSA has taken a holistic approach to improving quality in Texas public charter schools by supporting the closure of the poorest-performing schools, improving the quality of existing charters, and recruiting and developing new high-quality charters.

The closure of the poorest-performing charters has been largely accomplished by the adoption of Senate Bill 2 (SB2) from the 83rd Legislative Session. In addition to raising the cap on the number of public charter schools in the state, SB2 shifted authorizing authority from the state board of education to the commissioner of education and enacted strict revocation and nonrenewal language. In its first year of implementation, SB2 resulted in the revocation of six of the poorest-performing charters. Now in its second year of implementation, TCSA estimates that as many as 14 poor-performing charters may be revoked by the state. While some rule modification necessities remain to ensure the proper identification of charters for revocation and to ensure clear due process, TCSA continues to support the revocation of consistently poor-performing charters.

The cornerstone of TCSA’s charter improvement is the Quality Framework. The Quality Framework helps public charter schools assess quality and improve academic, financial, and operational effectiveness. Upon joining TCSA, each member charter school pledges to continuously improve and uphold quality by engaging in the Quality Framework process. The Quality Framework provides members tools and resources by targeting areas of need and matching them with resources and provides TCSA with continuously updated data on the areas of need to be addressed in training and support. TCSA also supports the quality of existing public charter schools by offering high-quality, charter-specific training through a variety of platforms.

Rounding out the holistic approach to charter school quality are the recruitment, development, and support strategies TCSA has developed for new or charter applicants throughout the state. TCSA staff analysis has identified pockets of specific need throughout the state and will seek out applications from out-of-state charters with proven success with the identified populations. Charter applicants also have the opportunity to take advantage of TCSA’s charter development services. This unique service is aimed at improving the quality of charter school applicants that submit to the Texas Education Agency, thus creating more quality charter school seats in the state.

Taken together, these changes will better promote the growth of high-quality public charter schools and the closure of chronically low-performing public charter schools. We are optimistic they will yield stronger achievement results as more current data become available.

To further support the growth of high-quality public charter schools, we recommend that the state increase its investment in the authorizing capacity of the state department of education and provide more equitable funding and facilities support to charters.