Texans for Education Reform (TER) is a group of education and business leaders advocating access for national best practices for every public school child in the state. TER’s comprehensive education agenda ensures every public school child accesses the best-known education policy.
The state of Texas implements most of these policies already. TER exists to ensure that every child and parent have access to these best practices: Online learning, blended learning, access to high-performing public-charter schools, intervention in failing schools and a functional Parent Trigger law.
Texas already recognizes the power of most of these educational practices but we often restrict access. For example, our state has 4.99 Million school children, roughly 1-in-10 of America’s school children are here in Texas, yet less than one-half of one percent of our public school children are allowed to take online courses for credit. We need to ensure every student has access to online courses for credit, particularly those students in rural areas where a particular subject may not be offered in their school.
Few Texans realize charter schools are public schools. Fewer realize that Texas allows charter schools but has an existing cap of 215 charters statewide the state is allowed to award. Our state has issued 209 of those charters, leaving just six more available. Over 100,000 families are on waiting lists for charter schools. Texas should join the 20+ other states by lifting the arbitrary cap completely and allowing more high-performing charter schools in Texas.
Texas already dictates that the state “shall” intervene in failing schools, but not until a school has failed for six consecutive years. The best practice is to intervene in a failing school after two consecutive years. None of us would allow our children to remain in a failing school for six years – likely not even two – so why are we not protecting all of Texas’ public school children like we would our own?
Just like the failing school intervention above Texas already has a parent trigger law. This law allows parents to self-organize, a majority of them to sign a petition and then intervene in the management of a failing school (the recent movie Won’t Back Down with Maggie Gyllenhall was about the parent trigger law). The Texas parent trigger law doesn’t allow parents to intervene until their child’s school has failed for six consecutive years. The Parent Trigger should also be permitted after two consecutive years in a failing school.