SAN ANTONIO — Although some public school districts blame charter schools for declining enrollment, charters believe they are providing families with choices and opportunities.
“What are we going to do to stop the hemorrhaging?” questioned a parent at a school board meeting.
Parents and educators are concerned about the emergence of charter schools in Texas.
“We are surrounded by charters that are taking our students,” another parent said. “That will not change.”
Jeffery Flores has been in public education for 30 years and has spent the last decade with New Frontier Public Schools, one of the oldest public charter school networks in San Antonio.
“We are a public school,” Flores said. “Our kids take the state assessments. Our teachers are certified teachers.”
As the principal at Imelda Davis Early College High School, Flores says they are focused on fulfilling the city’s future workforce needs, encouraging careers in nursing, IT and education.
“Our goal is to get kids six years of school in four years,” Flores said. “So they are earning their high school diploma in addition to up to 60 hours for their associate's degree.”
With classes on San Antonio College’s campus, students are getting early exposure, a unique choice that cost families nothing.
“When I was in school a long time ago, you went to the high school that you went to because that was it,” Flores said. “There’s choice now.”
More than 375,000 students are enrolled in the nearly 900 charter schools across Texas.
“We understand there might be so many options for families now in San Antonio, and that’s something to be celebrated,” said Jennifer Limas-Mota, COO of New Frontiers Public Schools.
According to the Texas Public Charter Schools Association, charters are serving a higher percentage of economically disadvantaged students. An opportunity Mr. Flores says can transform families.
“A lot of our kids are first-generation high school graduates, in addition to college graduates,” Flores said.