Thursday, February 9, 2012

Missouri NEA on New Charter Legislation

Missouri NEA Legislative Update
Week 6, No. 3, February 8, 2012

By Otto Fajen
MNEA Legislative Director


The House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee approved a House Committee Subsititute (HCS) version of HB 1228 (Tishaura Jones) on February 8. The bill expands the authority for charter schools to cover the entire state, expands the list of entities allowed to sponsor charter schools, creates a statewide chartering commission and makes several changes designed to improve the accountability and transparency of charter sponsors and charter schools. The HCS version makes several technical changes in the language, but is substantially the same as the originally filed version of the bill in terms of both expansion of charter schools and sponsorship and accountability provisions.

The Association believes that charter schools need to meet the same standards of accountability, transparency and respect for the rights of students, parents and staff as apply to district-operated public schools. Currently, serious remedial action is needed to improve that accountability for sponsors and charter schools, and the state should adopt and implement those reforms and verify that they are working to ensure charter schools meet those standards before considering expansion of charter school territory or sponsorship. Accordingly, the Association opposes the bill and will seek to limit charter school legislation to correcting those deficiencies without concurrent expansion of either charter school geography or sponsorship.