WASHINGTON, D.C.-Texas Governor Greg Abbott today signed into law the school finance bill HB 21, which will for the first time give Texas public school students who attend charter schools direct support from the state for facilities funding. The new law will direct $60 million in relief to public charter schoolshelping to keep instructional funds in the classroom for students, and lessening the detrimental impact of these dollars going towards the rent or mortgage.
In response to the signing of HB 21 into law, National Alliance President and CEO Nina Rees has released the following statement:
"The signing of HB 21 is a victory for public school students who attend charter schools in Texas, and a significant step towards educational equity in the Lone Star State. When Texas first passed its charter school law 22 years ago, only operational funds were allotted to charter schools resulting in a current funding gap of about $1,400 less per charter school student as compared to their district peers. We applaud the Texas legislature and Governor Abbott for putting students first, and not standing for inequity based on the type of public school a student attends.
"There are nearly 273,000 students attending public charter schools in Texas, and 141,000 more on a charter school waiting list. This demand reflects the high levels of academic achievement Texas charter schools are helping their students achieve.
"A new study from Stanford University's Center for Research on Educational Outcomes (CREDO) finds that on average, public charter school students in Texas experience stronger annual growth in reading (gaining an additional 17 days of learning) and similar growth in math compared to the educational gains of their matched peers who enroll in the district schools the charter school students would otherwise have attended. Texas charter students from low-income backgrounds also fare better than their district peers in both reading and math, as do some low-income students of color.
"Regardless of income, a students academic growth gets stronger the longer they attend a charter school: in the second year of enrollment, a Texas charter school student gains an additional 23 days of learning in reading and 40 days of learning in math compared to their district counterparts. The third year continues this trend with charter school students achieving their strongest growth, gaining an additional 40 days of learning in reading and 46 days of learning in math."
About Public Charter Schools
Public charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Since 2010, many research studies have found that students in charter schools do better in school than their traditional school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.
About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit www.publiccharters.org.