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Government/Politics

Opposing Views Of Education During 83rd Legislative Session

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Eileen Pace
/
TPR News

The largest teacher’s union in the state of Texas and a right-wing political think tank are providing their assessment of this past session education bills.

Louis Malfaro with the Texas Chapter of the American Federation of Teachers said the group of teachers he represents was extremely disappointed with a bill that changes the high-stakes testing structure for public schools because of who that weighs on teacher in-class evaluation and called Senate Bill 2, the charter expansion bill, the "worst piece of legislation that passed this session."

"Charter schools in Texas in the aggregate perform below where regular public schools perform. If you look at all the charter schools in Texas on average they are doing worse than all the regular public schools.  Unfortunately, that story isn’t the story often being told," Malfaro said.

He said charter schools are also held to a different standard than regular schools. The bill will increase the number of charter schools the state has from 215 to over 300 campuses by the year 2016.  

James Golson with the Texas Public Policy Foundation has a different take on the bill.

"We’ve had a growing wait list of kids trying to attend charter schools for a number of years and that number cracked 100,000 just this year," he said.

Golson said his organization was also pleased with the passage of a bill that allows private companies to add educational content to the state’s Virtual School Network, a system often used by homeschooled students. 

However, he also said the group was extremely disappointed with the death of a bill that would have set the pathway for school vouchers, a bill that has been refilled during this summer special session.