- Public money must have public oversight and must not be diverted to private interests.
- There must be no further expansion of charter schools and limited public funds for facilities should not be siphoned off for charter schools.
The best way to strengthen public schools is to strengthen public schools. Diverting public money for private schools and subsidies for the rich takes money away from our communities resulting in higher taxes for homeowners and businesses. More importantly, private school vouchers, education savings accounts (ESAs), charter schools and related schemes further segregate students and do not result in improved learning.
Diverting public money for private schools takes money away from our communities resulting in higher taxes for homeowners and businesses in the community.
Investing in our neighborhood public schools is investing in our community.
IDRA believes that the best way to improve public schools is to invest in public education. Proponents of vouchers, tuition tax credits, non-public charter schools and other methods propose to improve education by diverting public resources to support private ventures. Private schools by design are selective and exclusive, not accountable to elected bodies, and allowed to operate without regard to rules and regulations applicable to public schools, including requirements related to special education and civil rights.
Contrary to the belief of a few, funneling public money to private schools will not fuel improvement of public education, but instead drain already limited resources and dilute broad community support for what has long been considered a valid civic function.
The State of Texas Open-Enrollment Charter Schools
IDRA provided written testimony of its research and analysis on charter schools in Texas. The state Senate Committee on Education met December 7 to take up interim charges regarding charters. IDRA’s testimony, “The State of Texas Open-Enrollment Charter Schools and a Modest Proposal to Diversify and Improve Public Charter Schools,” focuses on issues impacting the Texas Senate’s study of the approval, expansion, and revocation of public charter schools in Texas, including the performance of charter schools in Texas and efficiency concerns related to the expanded funding of charter schools. We conclude with a proposal for the Senate to consider an approach to new charters that would aim to ensure high quality, equal educational opportunities in a diverse learning environment.
Why More Charter Schools and School Vouchers Are Not Needed in Texas
IDRA released a new policy brief in May 2013 that presents IDRA’s analyses finding that no new additional charter sites are needed in Texas . Instead, more effective and efficient use of the available charters currently authorized by law could address existing demand. IDRA’s research also shows that vouchers do little if anything to improve local public schools and, for the most part, fail to deliver on promises to provide better quality academic outcomes for students enrolled in lower performing public schools. Dr. María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, IDRA President & CEO stated: “ Texas must do what is best for all Texas students and their families. Our children are worth more than education by lottery.”
IDRA Policy Issues in 2015 for Texas
Much is at stake as the Texas Legislature convenes in Austin this January through June 2015. IDRA’s stands regarding public funding for public schools are:
- No state aid should be provided to any school whose operations are not subject to oversight by a locally elected school board.
- There should be no further expansion of charter schools.
- Public money should have public oversight and should not be diverted to private interests.
Find out why and see more on IDRA’s other policy issues for this session in Texas.