NEPC Review: Time to Change Course: Reclaiming the Potential of Texas Charter Schools (ExcelinEd and Texas Public Policy Foundation, June 2018)
A policy paper from ExcelinEd and Texas Public Policy Foundation examines the charter-school authorizing process in Texas. After surveying past Texas authorizing policies, the study claims Texas had been a leader in creating high-performing charter schools and that a low barrier of entry into the market was a contributing factor to this success. The study then contends that a 2013 legislative policy change has made the authorization process too restrictive, thus reducing the number of applicants and stifling innovation. The paper concludes with recommendations to create an easier authorization process to increase the number of charters granted and thereby to foster innovation. While the report is billed as a case study, 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 to advance a particular viewpoint. In short, this paper is an ideological advocacy paper masquerading as a case study. Policymakers would be well advised to skip this paper and look for a more evidence-based review of the Texas charter authorizing process.