Texas Legislature Chipping Away At Public Schools

The Texas Legislature has written two pieces of legislation, HB 2543 and SB 893, misguided companion bills that would give the commissioner of education free rein to mandate that local school districts base teacher evaluations largely on student test scores. This legislation also slashes minimum pay for classroom teachers down to a mere $27,540 for every teacher, regardless of experience or advanced degrees.

Teacher appraisal should be based on measures that are proven valid and reliable, confirmed by independent analysis based on empirical evidence. HB 2543 and SB 893 would allow the misuse of standardized tests for evaluation imposed by the commissioner of education statewide, negating local authority to rely on better measures. Promoting this guarantees excessive emphasis on standardized testing at a time when parents and teachers alike increasingly view the current testing obsession destructive to teaching and learning.

It’s difficult to imagine another way to lose high-quality, experienced teachers than to tell them their minimum pay under state law is now reduced to $27,540 a year; yet that is exactly what HB 2543 and SB 893 would do. This devaluation of teaching experience is a serious policy mistake and will deter efforts to recruit and retain the very dedicated and talented individuals we need in our classrooms.

In addition to these two bills, the Senate is scheduled to vote on SB 4 that funds vouchers for private schools. These schools are not held to the same accountability as public schools, and furthermore we should not be diluting public funds for private entities.

The hostility of this legislation towards public education is palpable. The Legislators promoting this travesty wish to erode the very foundation that allowed many of them to reach their current educational status.

Teachers deserve better. Students across Texas deserve better. Texas deserves better.

Parent Horror Story from BASIS: Charter school chain “bullying” Black parents?

Still think Charters are the answer? Here’s just another example of how BASIS tries to weed out students who don’t meet their academic standards. If you are not dedicated to serving public education, don’t accept public funding.

Cloaking Inequity

Everywhere you look there are wonderful stories and elegant arguments about why charters are GREAT for kids… especially poor Latina/os and Blacks. Today Cloaking Inequity has an exclusive— another horror story from a charter parent. I first discussed the BASIS charter schools, a quasi for-profit charter chain (see What BASIS?: Nepotism and aggrandizement in charters?), in the post Parent Horror Stories from BASIS: Corporate Charter Hurting Children? It is still one of the five most popular posts ever on Cloaking Inequity.  Here at Cloaking Inequity we can deliver the counter-narrative.  Without further ado, here is an open letter from a concerned parent.

Public Charter School Board

3333 14th Street, NW, Suite 210

Washington, DC 20010

Hello Ms. [BASIS administrator],

The purpose of this email is to establish a formal complaint against the Public Charter School Basis-DC. My son, [student name], is 12 and in the 6th grade. He is a Sixth grader that has…

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