The Texas 83rd is doing a lot of talking about the states' education system and that should be a good sign for Texans, but for the public school districts and teachers' unions, it's not. The Texas Education Committee is looking for more oversight, higher standards and cost saving measures and as such, vouchers and charters schools are at the top of the list for consideration.
The one thing lawmakers are not talking about is the $5.4 billion cut from public education in the last legislative session and that should raise concern for public schools. Lawmakers are face with a surplus, but with a lot of territory to cover. It's not looking good for public schools.
Charter schools is the latest to gain attention and if State Sen. Dan Patrick, a Houston Republican, the new head of the Texas Senate's education committee, gets his way, the state will gain additional authority to hold the schools to the charters, they themselves have estabhlished.
The committee is also seeking to increase their authority to close down underperforming charter schools, as well as, increase the number of charter schools around the state by 20 each year. Right now, there's only 215 charter schools around the state and that 20 per year addition will certainly hurt public schools(KHOU.com).
Charter schools, part of the free choice program will no doubt create fierce competition for public schools, but they, like Texas' public schools are also under scrunity for their failure rate. Back in 2011, only 8.5 percent of the schools were academically sound and that's compared to 4.4 percent in public schools.
Public schools had a failure rate of 4.9 percent and that's compared to 17.6 percent of charter schools and that should raise a lot of eyebrows, especially among public school districts and teachers' unions. However, if the state goes the route of increasing the number of charter schools, it will almost certainly be for the sole purpose of providing a quality education that come with cost effective measures.
During an anticipated hot debate over budgets problems, for sure, lawmakers will be looking at the savings associated with charter schools, as well as, the voucher program. Charter schools require, basically half of the cost per student then what the state pays for a public school's student and that's economically feasable for the state.