A recent story from KUHF 88.7 FM Houston Public Radio praises Rocketship Education, noting “their schools have posted some of the best results for low-income kids in the entire state of California.” “What The New Charter School Bill Could Mean For Texas”, Laura Isensee, Houston Public Radio, June 24, 2013. The story also discusses the charter school bill, SB2 (e.g., earlier post) and how raising the charter cap could help out-of-state high-performing charter school networks like Rocketship expand in Texas.
The Houston Public Radio story, however, oversimplifies a few details. Rocketship is applying for a Generation 18 Texas charter this year, as noted in this earlier post, so Rocketship’s charter application will proceed under the pre-SB2 rules.
SB2 raises the charter cap by 15 each year, starting in 2014, up to 305 in 2019:
- 2013: up to 215
- 2014: up to 225
- 2015: up to 240
- 2016: up to 255
- 2017: up to 270
- 2018: up to 285
- 2019: up to 305
SB2 also defines “high-performing”:
Sec. 12.1011. CHARTER AUTHORIZATION FOR HIGH-PERFORMING ENTITIES. (a) Notwithstanding Section 12.101(b), the commissioner may grant a charter for an open-enrollment charter school to an applicant that is:
(1) an eligible entity under Section 12.101(a)(3) that proposes to operate the charter school program of a charter operator that operates one or more charter schools in another state and with which the eligible entity is affiliated and, as determined by the commissioner in accordance with commissioner rule, has performed at a level of performance comparable to performance under the highest or second highest performance rating category under Subchapter C, Chapter 39; or
(2) an entity that has operated one or more charter schools established under this subchapter or Subchapter C or E and, as determined by the commissioner in accordance with commissioner rule, has performed in the highest or second highest performance rating category under Subchapter C, Chapter 39.
The Houston Public Radio story also doesn’t mention that Rocketship’s application is for San Antonio, not Houston. So, what is the Houston connection to SB2? The charter school bill’s Houston-based author is Sen. Dan Patrick. (And here’s his campaign site—Patrick is running for Lieutenant Governor in 2014. “Patrick making run for Lt. Gov”, David Saleh Rauf, San Antonio Express-News, June 28, 2013 (at Mysa.com)).