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Report on Texas Charter-School Authorizing Process Lacks Solid Evidence

BOULDER, CO (September 11, 2018) – A recent report from ExcelinEd and Texas Public Policy Foundation examines the charter-school authorizing process in Texas and contends that a 2013 legislative policy change has made the authorization process too restrictive, thus reducing the number of applicants and stifling innovation. 

Professor Edward J. Fuller of Penn State University reviewed Time to Change Course: Reclaiming the Potential of Texas Charter Schools, and found that its findings and conclusions are not supported by research or other compelling evidence and, thus, do not provide useful guidance for policymakers.

After surveying current and past Texas authorizing policies, the report claims Texas had formerly been a leader in creating high-performing charter schools. It further claims that Texas’ past low barriers for entry into the market (i.e., ease of having an application approved by an authorizer) was a contributing factor to this success. The report then provides recommendations for creating an easier authorization process.

While the report is billed as a case study, Professor Fuller notes that it does not employ case study methodology. Moreover, the report fails to review or cite relevant research; it instead relies on unsubstantiated claims, anecdotes, misleading statements, and even demonstrably false statements—all in support of advocacy for more charter schools in Texas.

In short, he concludes, this report is an advocacy paper masquerading as a case study. Policymakers would be well advised to skip the report and look for a more evidence-based review of the Texas charter authorizing process.

Find the review, by Edward J. Fuller, at:
http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/review-texas-charters

Find Time to Change Course: Reclaiming the Potential of Texas Charter Schools, written by Adam Jones and Amanda List and published by ExcelinEd and the Texas Public Policy Foundation, at:
https://www.excelined.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/ExcelinEd.TexasCharterSchoolPaper.TimeToChangeCourse.June2018.pdf

NEPC Reviews (http://thinktankreview.org) provide the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. NEPC Reviews are made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice: http://www.greatlakescenter.org

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: https://nepc.colorado.edu