• Lori Kirkpatrick

Breaking - DMN to consider a name change...Dallas Charter News

When I read the DMN editorial last Thursday More charter school opposition in southern Dallas I wanted to call the paper and ask, "Does DMN even read the press releases from the Texas Charter Schools Association before printing them in the editorial page?" Anymore, it seems quite appropriate to refer to the paper as the Dallas Charter News (DCN).

The Editorial Board couldn't imagine why DISD Superintendent Hinojosa and Trustees Johnson and Foreman weren't embracing another charter school in southern Dallas and stated, "It's puzzling that DISD leaders oppose such competition."

Charter locations in the Dallas area. The state of Texas is now diverting just under $3.3 billion annually to charter schools.

Is it really puzzling? Look at this photo from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) of current charters located in the Dallas area. It isn't difficult to understand why southern Dallas doesn't want or need another charter.

Let's look at a few of the reasons why:

  • Charters negatively impact every school in the district by reducing the total funding going to DISD.

  • Neither taxpayers, communities, nor school districts have a say when charter schools are approved or where they are located. In essence, your tax dollars are taken away from your local school district and given to privately operated charters without your consent. This process is authorized and overseen by the TEA Commissioner, an appointed NOT elected individual.

  • Charter schools are privately managed, thus you have no elected representation (oversight) for how your tax dollars are spent.

The facts about charters are there for everyone to see. DCN's support of privatization is clear, its fact based, balanced journalism however is sorely lacking. I sent in the following in response to the editorial:

DMN presents an incorrect and incomplete picture about charter schools that is short on facts and misleads the public.

You note KIPP’s 96.4% disadvantaged population being more than South Oak Cliff by 2%, yet you didn’t mention KIPP is D rated with an F in student achievement. You also didn’t mention SOC is C rated, and has 3 academic distinctions while serving double the percentage of At-risk kids compared to KIPP.

You state Uplift operates a school that outpaces DISD’s Atwell. That very Uplift school was improvement required two years ago, so changed its name from Pinnacle to Wisdom Prep, and serves fewer economically disadvantaged, At-risk, discipline and mobility students than Atwell.

Regarding college readiness, district and charter students score about the same on SAT/ACT; however, nearly 75% of all district students take SAT/ACT while only about 50% of charter students do. According to TEA charters have 3 times the percentage of drop-outs compared to districts (4.4% vs. 1.4%), and you failed to mention that districts have a 24 point higher 4-year graduation rate than charters (92% vs. 68%).

DMN isn’t just cherry-picking data – its statements are just plain wrong.

KIPP chart courtesy William Gumbert

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