This story broke just before the holiday break, when I unplugged for a bit, except for a few “Best-of” posts (here, here, and here), and a slideshow of holiday lights. But it’s worth picking up now because it poses this question: When should the state step in to close an underperforming charter school?
In December, Education Commissioner Michael Williams recommended closing six charter schools that, under the new law (SB2), failed to meet financial or academic standards for at least three years:
- American Youthworks (Austin); “Our Charter and TEA”, Rachel Matvy, Ameican Youthworks blog, December 20, 2013
- Azleway Charter School (Tyler); “Azleway: School appeals revoked charter, state to set review”, Emily Guevara, Tyler Morning Telegraph, January 15, 2014; “Azleway school could lose charter; effective June”, Emily Guevara, Tyler Morning Telegraph, December 19, 2013
- Honors Academy (Farmers Branch); December 20 press release; December 23 press release.
- Jamie’s House Charter School (Houston)
- Koinonia Community Learning Academy (Houston)
- Richard Milburn Academy (Houston)
“Six identified for mandatory revocation of charters under SB 2”, Texas Education Agency news release, December 19, 2013; “Statement by David Dunn on revocation decisions by TEA Commissioner Williams”, Tracy Young, Texas Charter Schools Association news release, December 19, 2013; “Texas Shuttering Campuses at Six Charter Schools”, Morgan Smith, Texas Tribune, December 19, 2013; “Texas orders Dallas-based charter and five others to close next year”, Holly K. Hacker, Dallas Morning News, December 19, 2013; “TEA Is More Aggressively Closing Charter Schools, but Is It Targeting the Right Ones?”, Amy Silverstein, Unfair Park blog (Dallas Observer), December 30, 2013.
No San Antonio charter schools are on the mandatory closure list this year. However, five charter school districts in San Antonio are in danger of closure next year because they have failed to meet academic standards for two years:
- City Center Health Careers
- Henry Ford Academy: Alameda School For Art + Design
- Higgs Carter King Gifted & Talented Charter Academy
- San Antonio Technology Academy
- Shekinah Radiance Academy
“Charter school crackdown coming – but will it be fair?”, Maria Luisa Cesar, San Antonio Express-News, December 21, 2013 (at mysanantonio.com); this earlier post has more detail about the “improvement required” rating.
The parents of the students at these lower-performing charter schools made a voluntary decision to enroll their children there. Did the parents not have enough information to make a good decision? Or, are these low-performing schools still preferable to the alternatives?
So, readers, what do you think: when should the state intervene to close a charter school?