Bill proposes state takeover of campuses

Senate Bill 1718 (West) proposes that the state would take over campuses that are underperforming on state tests for 3 consecutive years. Using a poorly-fundtioning model pioneered in Louisiana, Texas would form the “Texas Achievement District,” which would take responsibility for the campuses away from local school districts. In many (if not most) cases, the schools would be given to charter entities to manage. Proponents of the bill, including Texans for Education Reform, have been falsely reporting that the state currently does nothing for struggling campuses for six years. The truth is that when a school misses a standards for one year, strong intervention is mandated by the state. If the same standard is missed for two year, reconstitution of the campus is usually mandated, with a change in principals, staff and program. Schools that are multi-year “academically unacceptable” are under intensive scrutiny. Most gain acceptable status within 1-2 years. Under the current system, if a school misses standards for 5-6 years, after all school improvement efforts are tried, then the commissioner may order the school to be closed or turned over to alternative management (a charter). Moving the clock to two years (as some have proposed) or three years would cause hundreds of campuses to be taken out of local control and turned over to the state.

SB1718 has been voted out of the Senate Education Committee and is waiting to scheduled for a floor debate and action. Please contact your senator and voice your opposition to this bad plan for school improvement.

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