Texas charter schools have a graduation rate overall of 62%, nearly 30 percentage points lower than the state’s public school. Results like this help to explain why public support for charters is dropping fast in opinion polls, like that of the pro-choice, pro-charter Education Next. EdNext reported an 11-point drop in public support for charters in just the last year, among members of both parties.

Texas Public Radio reported:

“When the exclusions and exceptions the state grants charter schools are stripped away, Texas charter schools have an average graduation rate almost 30 percentage points lower than the state’s traditional school districts.

“According to a 2017 report from the Texas Education Agency, just 62 percent of Texas charter school students graduated on time in 2016, compared to more than 90 percent of students from traditional school districts.

“The discrepancy doesn’t show up on campus or district level accountability reports, however, because most charter schools with low graduation rates are rated under alternative standards or have high numbers of students excluded from the graduation count.

“But it’s a statistic the Intercultural Development Research Association believes Texas should be paying attention to. The San Antonio-based research and advocacy group released a report last week highlighting the difference in graduation rates.

““A 90 percent versus a 62 percent graduation rate — it’s huge. That’s incredible because charter schools are seen as these kind of rescue schools,” said David Hinojosa, program director for IDRA. “Yet, then when you look at the outcomes for these charter schools and this diversion of resources towards charter schools they’re not paying off.”

“IDRA’s calculation includes the graduation rates of all charter schools, including those that have asked the state to be rated under alternative standards. Under Texas law, schools can ask to be measured under alternative standards if most of their students are classified as at risk of dropping out of school. About 22 percent of Texas charter schools are rated under alternative standards.

“Hinojosa said looking at the graduation rates of all charter schools “offers a fair comparison” because the statewide percentage of charter school students Texas considers at risk of dropping out is about the same as the rate of at-risk students in traditional school districts: a little more than 50 percent.”