The May 8th Texas Lege Public Education Hearing on Charter Schools-Erath Excels Testimony
22 June 2007 at 6:13:22 PM
For the last couple of days, I've been talking about Sid Miller (Tx House District 59)'s opposition to accountability for charter schools, and how utterly inappropriate his stance is since his wife is the board president, at least on paper, of Erath Excels Charter School. I found out yesterday that Sid Miller has actually become the board vice president which seems to me to be completely a conflict of interest in any voting situation involving charter schools.... period. Anyway, knowing that there was a day on May 8th, 2007 in which the bill was discussed, with lots of public testimony, I went back and looked at the video from the House website.
Seems to me that the major argument against accountability is that charter schools, being open enrollment, take kids who otherwise would not be in public schools. But there were people from charter schools testifying who still managed to pass a high percentage of kids, unlike the 11 percent that Erath Excels has. And one of the ladies testifying FOR the bill pointed out that it isn't like there's only one charter school around. If a charter school can't meet minimum standards, then kids should go to one that DOES. Or, how about, we as taxpayers don't pay for schools that can't do that; the excuse that the kids are *at risk* and therefore it's somehow acceptable to only pass 11 percent of them is only viable when that school pays for its own self-if *I* am involved in it, I want the charter schools that are rated *unacceptable*, especially ones like Erath Excels that have gotten that rating 2 years in a row, to be CLOSED DOWN. I think allowing unacceptably rated schools to remain also does a disservice to those charter schools that are superior and manage to at least meet standards set out by the state, which are STILL below standards set for public schools.
I did enjoy listening to the young people who attend Erath Excels and how they enjoy it and I can empathize, generally, with the idea that if you don't fit in public education for whatever reason, it's great to find a home in a different school. I suppose, in times past, before charter schools were subsidized by the taxpayer, if a kid dropped out of school, that was just it, unless the parents decided to pay for a private school from their own funds. But, again, because it's part of the oversight of the TEA, there ought to be minimum accountability standards and those that don't meet them ought to LOSE their charter.
I'd like to see this brought up again in the next Lege session and SHAME on Sid Miller if he doesn't completely recuse himself from any discussion, participation or voting on this at all.