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charter schools

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Focus Academy, an 18-year-old charter school in southern Dallas, is about to close because the state says it has failed to improve bad ratings three years running. The school wants a reprieve after taking in kids from Prime Prep Academy — the school that former Dallas Cowboy Deion Sanders founded. The state shut it down two years ago.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Families and students of Focus Academies in southern Dallas are holding a rally Thursday to make a last-ditch bid to keep the school open. The state says the charter school has agreed to close after poor academic years.

We're all familiar with the term "hidden in plain sight." Well, there may be no better way to describe the nation's 6,900 charter schools.

These publicly-funded, privately-run schools have been around since the first one opened in St. Paul, Minn., in 1992. Today, they enroll about 3.1 million students in 43 states, so you'd think Americans should know quite a bit about them by now. But you'd be wrong.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

In 1995, Texas lawmakers approved public charter schools to give parents more education options. The law created a marketplace that’s challenging traditional public schools to compete and improve, or potentially lose students. 

The president and chancellor of Texas A&M visited a Dallas charter school Tuesday to apologize. They told students at Uplift Hampton Preparatory they were sorry about the racial taunts the Dallas kids endured during a campus visit last week. A&M’s top student leader also delivered thousands of letters of support.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Five stories that have North Texas talking: longtime Dallas conductor will head to New York; a Dallas dad was found not guilty for taking away his 12-year-old's phone; DeLoreans are back; and more. 

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Update, Wednesday evening: In a 7 to 6 squeaker of a vote, the Dallas City Council approved a controversial new charter school in southern Dallas. Opponents were concerned the school would pull students out of the Dallas Independent School District.  

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Faith Family Academy, an Oak Cliff charter school, will stay open after all. The state had ordered the closing of the school, and a dozen others statewide, because of financial and student-performance problems. But last week, the state ruled the Dallas school could stay open -- by using the charter of its Waxahachie branch.

A new study is out – and it’s focused on America’s charter school petri dish, New Orleans. It shows that the charter schools there are more focused on marketing and advertising themselves, rather classroom performance. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports on what the research, from the University of Texas and Tulane, could mean for charters in North Texas.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Last month, the state shut down Prime Prep Academy, the charter school that football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders co-founded. There’s another charter that’s nearly twice as big that could face the same fate.

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The troubled Prime Prep Academy, co-founded by football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, closed its doors for good today.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

The Texas Education Commissioner said late this afternoon he will appoint a board of managers to oversee leadership at Prime Prep Academy, a charter held by Uplift Fort Worth.   Commissioner Michael Williams said that Prime Prep’s “recent deterioration” of the its financial situation compelled his action.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

The Grand Prairie school district and Uplift charter schools just announced a first in North Texas: A partnership that will put a charter school within a public school.

Despite State Order, Charter Schools Stay Open

Nov 17, 2014
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On a recent Wednesday morning, Branch Park Academy looked like any other bustling suburban middle school. Beyond a packed parking lot, a banner hanging near the entrance boasted that the school had earned the “highest academic distinction” from the Texas Education Agency. Inside, students’ voices drifted from their classrooms.

By law, those students were not supposed to be there at all.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Public schools and charter schools often have relationships that range from wary to downright hostile. But in the Spring Branch school district, covering parts of Houston, they’re co-existing -- in the same buildings. Could this unusual partnership -- one of just a handful across the country -- be a model for North Texas? 

Texas Tribune

Once every decade, the city of Dallas reviews its charter and recommends changes in the way it governs to voters. 

Tonight, the Charter Review Commission will hold its last public meeting in Dallas City Council chambers. Members will decide May 6 which changes to put before voters in November.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

An upstart move is underway to change the way Dallas schools and its board operate. Dallas school trustees met Monday night to get more information on the proposal that’s never been tried before in Texas. Board members learned, in part, that if the effort succeeds, they could all be out of a job.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Six Texas charter schools are slated to be closed by the Texas Education Agency this summer. One in Farmers Branch and another in Austin are making a lot of noise, saying they’re being denied their legal rights.

KIPP/Facebook

KIPP Dallas-Fort Worth has announced it has received a $2 million grant to expand its charter school network.

The three-year grant from the Jenesis Group is the single largest award in KIPP DFW’s 10-year history, the group says.

The grant includes $1 million in unrestricted capital, as well as $1 million in a matching challenge to incentivize prospective donors.

Honors Academy

 Texas education officials say they’ll close the Farmers Branch-based Honors Academy Charter Schools by summer if the operation can’t convince the state to stay open. A chance of appeal seems slim.

teachertownhall.org

Michelle Rhee is a high profile education reformer with a capital “C.” That’s for controversial.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

In his most recent book, Fire in the Ashes, celebrated education writer Jonathan Kozol follows some of the nation’s poorest children, from infancy through young adulthood.

As part of KERA's American Graduate initiative, Kozol talked about struggles many students face to succeed in school, and obstacles schools confront to teach them.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Former tennis champ Andre Agassi lent his star power to officially open a Dallas charter school Wednesday. The star also contributed millions from his education fund to launch the KIPP Destiny elementary school.

Texas was the first state in 1985 to pass a law requiring students to test and treat students with dyslexia, but many parents still feel schools aren’t doing enough to help dyslexic kids.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

For eighth grade students heading to high school, summer’s supposed to be a fun time. But for one Mesquite girl, it’s been kind of stressful. In this installment of KERA’s series Class of ’17, we meet Alex Gutierrez who didn’t have the math grades to get into the private high school she wanted. Now, she’s going to have to get through summer school to advance to the ninth grade.

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The head of the Senate Education Committee says 100,000 Texas families are on waiting lists for charter schools, and it's time to expand the number of charters and provide more funding. 

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

For the first time, at least 10 percent of kids in more than 100 school districts nationwide are in charter schools. Dallas is one of those districts, according to a new report funded by charter schools. But while charter advocates are enthusiastic, some Dallas ISD teachers are not impressed.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Dallas Superintendent Mike Miles spoke to thousands of DISD teachers at the first district-wide convocation in at least 4 years. He opened by dancing with students, then spoke for about an hour presenting his goals for teachers, principals and students.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

One of the fastest growing charter school operators in north Texas is Uplift Education. This August, it’ll open its first Fort Worth schools and its newest Dallas campus in Deep Ellum. KERA Bill Zeeble wondered, who is Uplift Education?

Dallas city council has postponed a vote that would help the Uplift Charter Operation issue bonds to build schools. KERA’s Bill Zeeble reports council members want more information before taking up the vote again.