SB 2 by Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston), a bill to speed up the proliferation of charter schools, puts quantity before quality, combining multiple modes of charter expansion without a commensurate increase in state quality standards and state oversight. The vast majority of Texas charter schools have compiled a mediocre-to-poor academic record, and charter schools are much more likely than traditional neighborhood schools to be rated academically unacceptable. The worst feature of SB is a little-examined section allowing school districts to designate a substantial proportion of their campuses as charter schools exempt from most Education Code safeguards and protections for students, parents, and teachers. The safeguards thus nullified would include teacher certification, class-size limits, the Safe Schools Act, and long-standing teacher contract and pay guarantees.
This radical attack on educational quality standards comes up for a hearing in the Texas House Public Education Committee on Tuesday, April 23. Texas AFT will be there to make sure the committee fully examines all of SB 2, including this provision nullifying state quality safeguards.