Can’t we all just get along?

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 HB 3439 and SB 1882 create incentives for traditional school districts to partner with high-performing charter schools in order to find creative ways to tackle the complex issues faced by Texas public educators.

The House Public Education Committee heard 19 bills on Tuesday, most of which related to Texas’ public charter schools. The debate was spirited and ranged from thoughtful and productive to destructively misinformed.

Echoing the ever-more-constant mantra that charter schools damage traditional schools, several groups trotted out tired tropes and further blurred the line between truth and fiction. We thank legislators on the committee for setting the record straight.

The truth is evident: charter schools are open-enrollment public schools that educate almost a quarter of a million Texas students. They are held accountable to the state in the same way traditional public schools are held accountable. They receive state funding to instruct students whose families have decided to enroll in the school.

Clearly, traditional schools have more in common with charter schools than the current rhetoric lets on. That’s why Texas Aspires is doing everything in our power to break down the barriers between traditional and charter schools.

Our first step was bringing a promising idea to the legislature: expanding district-charter partnerships. Rep. Koop, Sen. Menéndez, and Sen. Bettencourt saw the potential and filed HB 3439 and SB 1882. These bills create incentives for traditional school districts to partner with high-performing charter schools in order to find creative ways to tackle the complex issues faced by Texas public educators.

As we have all heard, charter schools were set up to be labs of innovation. These bills would help bring what is working in those labs to our traditional public schools and break down the barriers that separate us. We invite you to join us in our fight to encourage Texas school administrators to put labels aside and do what’s best for public school students.

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We believe every Texas child, regardless of race, ethnicity or zip code, deserves a quality education. You can help make that happen.