In Rep. Gina Hinojosa’s March 25th op-ed, she made numerous claims about public charter schools that are misleading at best and deceptive by omission of important context.
For example, Rep. Hinojosa states that “by law” charter schools can exclude students based on their discipline history. However, she fails to mention that the reason the law is in place is because ISDs get local and state funds to create facilities and programs for students with disciplinary issues, while public charter schools receive none. Forcing a charter school like mine to accommodate students with discipline issues without giving us the resources to do so is a call to make schools less safe for children.
Let’s also get the facts on the table when it comes to discipline rates rather than cherry picking data. ISD campuses enroll only two percent more students with discipline histories than charter schools and yet, assign out-of-school suspensions at a much higher rate.
Rep. Hinojosa also claims charter schools receive a “disproportionate amount of money” due to the way they are funded. However, she only compares state funding and fails to account for significant local funds ISDs receive that charter schools do not. If Rep. Hinojosa wants ISDs to be funded like charter schools, is she suggesting we prohibit local tax dollars from funding traditional public schools?
Rep. Hinojosa did, however, get one point correct: charter schools do educate a different population—one that is more diverse by nearly every measure. We teach a higher percentage of low-income students of color than ISDs despite receiving on average, $1,700 less per student when local funding is accounted for.