Lawmakers Preview Charter, Voucher Issues
A hearing at the State Capitol today gave a glimpse of the education issues that could take center stage when the legislature reconvenes in January.
Charter school advocates told the Senate Education Committee at a hearing today that they want the state to raise the limit on charter schools in Texas. The cap is currently at 215. Michael Feinberg, a co-founder of KIPP Charter Schools, said lifting the restriction could improve education.
“I think lifting the charter cap, again as somebody who already has a charter, I am very much in favor of doing that,” Feinberg said. “I don’t want a restricted industry. I don’t want a competitive advantage. There are other terrific teachers we are trying to recruit to come into KIPP. There’s other terrific teachers and educators out there who don’t want to come to KIPP but they have great ideas themselves, and I want them setting up shop somewhere in the community as well.”
Feinberg also argued that charter schools should be able to access state funds to pay for facilities like buildings.
At the hearing, lawmakers also heard testimony on the politically thorny issue of school vouchers – providing taxpayer support to parents who want to send their children to private school. State Sen. Dan Patrick is a Republican backed by the Tea Party who might be the next chair of the Senate Education Committee. He has signaled he’s ready to go to battle to pass a school voucher law in the next legislative session.