Texas is going full throttle for charter schools. With massive federal funding coming in, there is a true surge in of these types of schools throughout the state right now.
Ever since the Federal government authorized usage of state funding for charter schools, enrollment has skyrocketed. In 2010, they educated some 120,000 students. Today, that number is close to 300,000.
Their success is so great that traditional public schools are trying to partner up with them.
The Texas Charter Schools Association claims that over 130,000 students are currently registered on waiting lists to be enrolled at a campus.
The founder of IDEA Schools, Mr Tom Torkelson, states that he has received 50,000 applications for 10,000 open seats at his schools this year.
IDEA won 67 million dollars of federal grant money for charter school expansion and is building campuses all across Tarrant County.
Mr Torkelson: “The charter school market is about five times higher in Dallas County than Tarrant where there has been lower access to charters. And quite frankly, we’ve seen a lot of financial support from Tarrant County donors ready to welcome us in.”
Seeing the success of charter schools, Texas lawmakers incentivized public school districts to seek out partnerships with charters. If a campuses could be shared, the traditional public school that allows sharing with charter schools will receive a boost in state funding.
Superintendent Mr Kent Scribner welcomes high-quality charters into the area and promotes partnering with them: “I don’t think the charter expansion is something we should fear, but learn more about. I view this as an opportunity to change, build a handful of district-charter hybrids to grow our own portfolio of offerings. We’re one of the fastest growing cities in America, so I think there’s room for us all. I’m really a proponent of good charters.”
There has been a strong demand for charter schools from the private sector in Texas and in the rest of the US as well. In 2014 and 2015, it is estimated that some 500 new charter schools opened countrywide.