When should the state step in to close underperforming charter schools?

When should the state intervene to close a charter school? | San Antonio Charter MomsThis 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:

“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:

“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? 

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