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Media release from Texas Charter Schools

Posted by Texas Education on March 27, 2009



CONTACT: Josie Duckett (512) 584-8272


WHEN: Monday, March 30, 2009

1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

WHERE: Toll Free Teleconference

Dial-in: (218) 339-2500

Passcode: 773927#

WHO: Senator Dan Patrick, Author of Senate Bill 1830

David Dunn, Executive Director of the Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA)

WHAT: There will be a press conference call on Monday, March 30th, in anticipation of the Senate Education Committee hearing for SB 1830 (Relating to the establishment, operation, and funding of open-enrollment charter schools) which is scheduled for Tuesday, March 31st at 8:30 a.m.

WHY: TCSA is supporting significant reforms to Texas charter school law including: increased facility funding for charter schools; lifting the cap on charter schools and allowing effective charters to replicate; sharing facilities with traditional public schools; and including a growth measure in the state accountability system.

AGENDA: I.             Highlight key issues in SB 1830

II.            Discuss new data on Texas charter school policy, in particular the recent UT Institute for Public School Initiatives Report, “An Analysis of Gaps in Funding for Charter Schools and Traditional Districts

III.           Q&A with Senator Patrick and David Dunn


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News Release: Texas Charter Schools Association Testimony on SB 3 (3/17/09)

Posted by Texas Education on March 17, 2009

Prepared Testimony of
David Dunn, Executive Director of the Texas Charter Schools Association
Before the Senate Education Committee regarding SB3
Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Good Morning Madam Chair and Members of the Committee.   I am David Dunn, the Executive Director of the Texas Charter Schools Association.  As you know, I returned home from the U.S. Department of Education to lead the Texas Charter Schools Association, or TCSA,  about six months ago. TCSA is the leading membership organization of effective charter schools of all types.  We proudly represent over 48,000 students in 251 charter schools across Texas — which equals over one-half of the students currently enrolled in Texas’ open enrollment charter schools.
This is the most exciting time I can remember for charter schools.  The very first school President and Mrs. Obama visited was a charter school.  In his address to Congress last month, and just last week in a major domestic policy speech the President again stressed charter schools as a powerful tool in education reform.  Performance-based accountability is the hallmark of charter schools.  Since the first charter school opened 18 years ago, the research has been crystal clear – we are making notable gains in student achievement serving a diverse population in urban, suburban, and rural settings.
On behalf of our members, I am pleased to testify in favor of Senate Bill 3. The TCSA applauds your work Chairman Shapiro, along with Representative Eissler and the Joint Select Committee on Accountability in addressing the needs of the 21st century workforce and ensuring our entire public school system thrives.  Senate Bill 3 represents a bold effort to improve the state’s accountability system.  TCSA certainly supports the major policy aims of the bill to ensure post-secondary readiness for the state’s high school graduates.

We are particularly pleased with the bill’s effort to create a growth standard in student achievement because a growth standard best depicts the progress students are making each year.  The adoption of a growth standard captures one of the highest policy priorities for charter schools this session. TCSA looks forward to working with members of the committee and your staffs to clearly define the growth standard and its relation to a charter school’s accreditation status.  Specifically, the manner in which the vertical scaling component is folded into the accountability system is very important to charter schools in Texas.

Next, TCSA is pleased to see financial accountability emphasized in this legislation.  As you know, financial accountability standards will be new for charter schools.  Because of this, there may be timing issues for ramping up charter school compliance with these new standards. A phased-in approach for the new financial standards might be most sustainable for charter schools. Whatever financial accountability standards are ultimately adopted for charter schools, our association will certainly provide training and services to help charter schools meet them to demonstrate proper stewardship of the state’s funds.

We have several other observations concerning the bill and its potential impact on the students enrolled in charter schools, but we will save them for later deliberations with you, your staffs and other stakeholders. Today, my aim is to pledge our continued engagement in the process to improve the bill as it seeks to improve the way the state measures educational achievement of charter school students. Thank you for allowing me time, I’m pleased to answer any questions that you might have at this time.


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Texas Charter Schools Association weighs in on HB3 & SB3

Posted by Texas Education on March 6, 2009

I received this email from Ms. Josie Duckett from Texas Charter Schools Association. Here is the email:

David Dunn, Executive Director for the Texas Charter Schools Association, is offering this quote in response to HB 3 and SB 3.

“The Texas Charter Schools Association looks forward to working with Senate Education Chairwoman Florence Shapiro and House Education Chairman Rob Eissler regarding their school accountability and growth model legislation.  While we’re still reviewing the particulars of this bill, we applaud their desire and willingness to move our education system in a positive direction.  At its core, their efforts to improve accountability will measure individual student academic growth over time so parents and the public can accurately gauge Texas school performance.  Charter schools currently serve approximately 90,000 students in Texas, and 16,000 more are on waiting lists across the state.  The Texas Charter School Association will continue working with elected officials, TEA, and traditional public schools to help ensure our students get the education they need to be leaders in the 21st Century.”

David Dunn, Executive Director
Texas Charter Schools Association

Thank you,
Josie Duckett
Texas Charter Schools Association
Vice President, Public and Government Relations
Office: 512.584.TCSA (8272)
Cell: 412.860.3160

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