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TER Policy Summary, 2014

Texans for Education Reform (TER) is a bipartisan, non-profit organization of educational, business and civic leaders who are committed to our children. We no longer accept the status quo of mediocre and failing schools and statistics like those reported in a 2014 Harvard study which showed that 73.5% of Texas 8th grade students are not proficient in reading and 60% are not proficient in math.

TER is working to ensure that all Texas children have access to high quality public schools that will prepare them to think critically in order to succeed in their career and life.

The mission of TER is to advance policies to transform Texas public schools for every Texas child-regardless of race, ethnicity or zip code. We advocate policies that focus on students first and yield measurable results. TER supports proven education strategies that provide local communities with tools to improve public schools, empower parents, and create meaningful improvements in the classroom. A summary of our agenda follows:

I. Increase transparency regarding campus performance and provide solutions for parents, local communities, and the state to improve chronically failing schools

1) Rate each school campus on an A-F standard that everyone–particularly parents–can easily understand and measure.

2) Strengthen the parent empowerment law by giving parents the means for intervention after 2 years vs. 6 years in chronically failing schools.

3) Simplify the home-rule process (giving districts greater freedom to determine educational programs and administration) by making it streamlined and transparent, and restoring local control of schools.

4) Establish a special statewide turnaround school district to fix chronically failing schools.

II. Invest in the best teachers and teaching policies to improve student learning.

1) Strengthen teacher appraisal framework to provide at least an annual evaluation that includes improvements in student achievement.

2) Align professional development to the needs identified in teacher appraisals giving educators a personalized, meaningful blueprint for excellence and mastery.

III. Make high performing public school options available to every Texas family.

1) Allow every student to attend the public school of their choice within their district by advancing district-wide transfer policies.

2) Expand opportunities for the growth of high performing public charter schools.

3) Provide students equal access to facilities, whether they are enrolled in public charter or district schools, by ensuring all public schools are funded equitably.

IV. Implement proven education technologies and teaching innovations.

1) Increase the availability of approved online content, courses, and programs for all students.

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