Charter Schools

news brief
8:12 am
Fri August 24, 2012

AM Update: Armstrong Bombshell, Charter School Hearing, Cedar Park on Salamanders

goat karma / Erik Reyna, KUT News / City of Austin by Mark Sanders

A high of 93 under partly cloudy skies is forecast for Austin today but it will feel more like 98 degrees with the humidity. Here are your top morning stories.

Lance Armstrong To Be Stripped of Titles?

Austin cycling legend Lance Armstrong is about to have his Tour de France victories “obliterated” from the record books, World Anti-Doping Agency boss John Fahey tells the BBC. As we posted last night, Armstrong said he was giving up his court battle with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) over allegations he used performance-enhancing drugs since 1996.

Shortly thereafter, the USADA chief said that means Armstrong will be stripped of his titles. Armstrong says USADA doesn’t have the authority to do that, but NPR’s Mike Pesca reports this morning that it does. "Greg LeMond is [now] the only American" to have officially won the world's most prestigious bicycle race, Pesca told Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep.

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4:52 pm
Thu December 8, 2011

Texas Charter Schools Get a Pass On Some Requirements

The San Juan Campus of Idea Public Schools
Photo by Joel Martinez, The Texas Tribune

A crucial vote is scheduled for Monday by the Austin ISD school board. Trustees will decide whether to contract with a charter school operator from the Rio Grande Valley to develop an in-district charter school for children in East Austin.

Some school board members have expressed hesitation about a partnership with IDEA Public Schools. One of Trustee Annette LoVoi’s concerns focused on the transparency of governance at IDEA compared to the Austin ISD.

“We are a school board. We are transparent. We hold open meetings. We disclose all sorts of things,” LoVoi said. “I’d like to see a version of that undertaken by any entity that we contract with.”

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2:43 pm
Fri September 16, 2011

Texas Approves Charter School For Deion Sanders

Photo by Michael J. Cargill

Former Dallas Cowboys cornerback Deion Sanders' charter school application was among eight approved by the Texas State Board of Education today.

The decision came after a brief discussion during which members raised questions about the schools' academic rigor and Sanders' involvement.

"I have no idea what the applicant plans to do in the classroom, how they plan to instruct the TEKS," said Michael Soto, D-San Antonio, adding, " I have no idea what they plan to offer in a day to day classroom experience."

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5:21 pm
Tue August 9, 2011

Texas AG: No Permanent School Funds to Help Charter Schools

The fifteen-member State Board of Education is responsible for managing the $25 billion Permanent School Fund.
Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

The State Board of Education cannot use money from the $25 billion Permanent School Fund to help charter schools acquire buildings or other facilities, according to a legal opinion issued today by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. He said the only consideration for investment should be how much money the SBOE earns on it, and how safe that investment is.

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10:55 am
Tue June 7, 2011

Report: Harmony Charter Schools Favor Turkish Contractors

A teacher instructs a student at a Harmony Charter School in North Houston.
Photo by Wenjing Zhang, Texas Tribune

The largest charter school operator in Texas, Harmony Charter Schools, has come under the scrupulous microscope of the New York Times.  The paper published a front page, top-of-the-fold blowout on Harmony’s links to the Gulen movement, a Turkish religious group.

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2:34 pm
Fri March 25, 2011

East Austin Charter School Wants To Lease Eastside Memorial High

Southwest Key operates a charter school in East Austin and wants to lease the Eastside Memorial High building to expand its prep academy.
Photo by KUT News

Southwest Key, a national non-profit that operates a charter school in East Austin, is offering to lease Eastside Memorial High School and operate a prep academy in the building. Eastside Memorial currently houses a Global Tech High School and a Green Tech High School.  The Green Tech High was the only school in Austin ISD to be ranked "academically unacceptable" last year by the Texas Education Agency.

"That school has been low-performing for 11 or 12 consecutive years," communications consultant Paul Saldaña told KUT News. Saldaña's firm, Brisa Communications, is advocating on behalf of Southwest Key.

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