2018 PPI Score
School Choice Score: 0%
Charter Schools Score: 78%
Texas’ charter school sector scores above average in the rankings. At number 12, Texas receives a high “C”. Texas law allows for school districts and the State Commissioner of Education to authorize charter schools. Originally, Texas only authorized charters that proposed to attract at- risk or economically disadvantaged students. Recently, though, the state has approved charter schools with a more diverse range of missions. This has helped operators to serve more students and to establish more schools throughout the state.
Texas law provides comparatively strong operational funding and autonomy for charters, but it does not provide for multiple, independent authorizers. It vests most control with the Texas Education Agency, which has impeded the development of more high-quality schools.
- Law passed in 1995
- Number of charters: 762
- Estimated charter enrollment: 315,200 (up 10 percent from 2015)
- Texas places a cap of 15 on
the number of schools that the commissioner can authorize each year
- Virtual charter schools allowed
- Charter schools are allowed to contract with EMOs and CMOs for management purposes
- A study by the University of Arkansas concluded that there was a 2 percent funding disparity in Houston and a 20 percent funding disparity in San Antonio between charter schools and traditional public schools
- Texas earns a 6 out of 15 for “authorizing” because only public school districts and the State Commissioner of Education can authorize charters. Additionally, government heavily regulates charter schools and authorizers; authorizers, for example, have little autonomy to make decisions and schools have little recourse to appeal authorizer decisions.
- Texas earns 10 out of 15 points for “growth.” Although the law caps Commissioner schools at 15 per year, the regulatory environment in the state is also flexible enough that the sector actually grows under the cap.
- Texas earns a 14 of 20 points for “operations.” Charters in Texas are exempt from many rules and regulations that apply to traditional public schools, but they do not receive a blanket waiver from all state rules and regulations. Additionally, charters face special requirements for automatic closure, which risks closing schools that might be serving students well.
- Texas earns a 9 out 15 for “funding equity.” The law provides a funding formula for open enrollment charters but no formula for district-authorized charters. The state does not provide per pupil facilities funding for charter schools, though it does provide per-pupil funding for charter schools operating pre-k programs.
Teacher Quality Score: 82%
Delivering Well Prepared Teachers B-
Expanding the Pool of Teachers C-
Identifying Effective Teachers C+
Retaining Effective Teachers D+
Exiting Ineffective Teachers D+
Overall State Grade B-