• by María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D. • IDRA Newsletter • January 2018 •

The Class of 2016 saw Graduation Rates of 62% in Charter Schools Compared to 90% in Traditional Public Schools

Dr. María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D.Texas students in charter schools are not necessarily faring better than their peers in traditional public schools. With significantly lower graduation rates and lower accountability ratings reported by the Texas Education Agency, the state’s planned expansion of charter schools is troubling. In an additional analysis to IDRA’s annual attrition study released in October, IDRA examined the annual dropout and longitudinal graduation rates in Texas charter schools from 2009 to 2016.

Thumbnail of Infographic showing highlights of IDRA's charter school study Oct 2017Key findings show:

  • The Class of 2016 saw graduation rates of 62 percent in charter schools compared to 90 percent in traditional public schools.
  • While some charter schools serve some of the students in highest need, analysis of TEA data for 2016-17 statewide reveals that there is very little difference in the percentage of students served who are considered at risk of dropping out: 50 percent in traditional schools compared to 52 percent in charter schools.
  • Nearly one out of every five charter campuses (22.9 percent) failed to achieve “met standard” or the lower “alternative standard,” compared to about one of every 25 traditional public schools.
  • Texas public schools serve 5.4 million students, while charter schools serve only 273,000. State funding for charter schools increased at a much faster rate than for public schools in the last decade, with an 8 percent increase for traditional schools compared to a 236 percent increase for charters.

Texas needs to let go of the claim that charter schools can ‘rescue’ students from their so-called failing neighborhood public schools. As our communities predicted, the data show otherwise. Our families and communities don’t need ‘rescuing’ by lottery. They demand strong neighborhood public schools.

The state of Texas is required to provide an excellent education for all students. Rather than funneling tax money to private interests or to charter school operators that are not accountable to the public, our state must shore up neighborhood public schools where all students graduate from high school prepared for college or the world of work, no matter what the color of their skin, the language they speak, or where they happen to be born.

With a three-year grant of $59,164,996 from the U.S. Department of Education, the State of Texas is planning the expansion of 115 new charter schools.

IDRA’s Quality School Action Framework™ guides communities and schools in identifying weak areas and strengthening public schools’ capacities to graduate and prepare all students for success. IDRA’s book, Courage to Connect: A Quality Schools Action Framework shows how communities and schools can work together to be successful with all of their students.

María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., is President & CEO of the Intercultural Development Research Association. Comments and questions may be directed to her via email at contact@idra.org.

[©2018, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the January 2018 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]