Side-By-Side Comparison Shows Charters Cost More And Have Lower Accountability Ratings

May 9, 2014

After looking into administrative pay and financial accountability, a comparison between Texas charter schools and public districts show an over 30 percent gap between the two groups as it pertains to student accountability ratings.

According to 2013 numbers taken from the Texas Education Agency’s website, 62 percent of charter schools were rated as meeting the standard, while 15 percent needed improvement. Not included that set of numbers was dropout recovery and residential treatment charters, which are rated by a different standard.

Looking at the same year, 95 percent of public schools met the standard, with 4.5 percent needing improvement.  

So why are those numbers important? State Board of Education Member Thomas Ratliff initiated a study this month that found a large pay discrepancy between charter and public superintendent pay, along with a difference in financial integrity rating system scores.

“That being said, I think the accountability ratings coupled with the financial numbers that we’re seeing start begging the question: Is this a better model and is this a good investment for the state?" Ratliff said.

Ratliff said he is not advocating that all charter schools are bad.

"There are lives being saved by some of these charters schools because not every kid fits in the public school model," Ratliff said. "What I’m trying to do is make sure we don’t get distracted and look at these charter schools through rose-colored glasses.”

Ratliff said he is hoping lawmakers in 2015 look at the whole picture when it comes the standards set for reviewing Texas charter schools.

Resources for the 2013 accountability system numbers: