Uplift Leaders Stand with Other Charters in Support of Texas SB 2

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Charter leaders from around Texas gathered in Austin Tuesday to give testimony in support of Senate Bill 2 which could bring major changes to charter schools including the replication and regulation processes, raising the cap on the limit of charters schools in Texas and closing low-performing, public charter schools.

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Providing high-quality education for all Texas students must be our top priority, and we will only be able to do this if there is sufficient support for all of our partners involved in this effort.

Charter leaders from around Texas gathered in Austin Tuesday to give testimony in support of Senate Bill 2 which could bring major changes to charter schools including the replication and regulation processes, raising the cap on the limit of charters schools in Texas and closing low-performing, public charter schools.

Christopher Garcia, lead director of Uplift Peak Preparatory in East Dallas was joined by Terry Ford, Executive Director of East Dallas Community School; Mike Feinberg, Co-Founder of KIPP; David Dunn, Executive Director of Texas Charter Schools Association; NYOS Charter School, Life Schools; and IDEA Schools.

"I left Dallas on an important STAAR day because I believe that the approval of this bill is critical to strengthening public education across Texas. My scholars who are testing today know that I am here advocating on their behalf," Mr. Garcia said in his testimonial.

Mr. Garcia emphasized the need for an easier replication process for existing charter management offices like Uplift so that more of the 101,000 students on public charter school wait lists throughout Texas can be served. Uplift alone has nearly 10,000 families on wait lists for its schools across North Texas.

Senate Bill 2 includes provisions to make it easier for high-performing charters to expand, but members of the House committee expressed concern that unfettered growth would lead to poor academic performance.

Mr. Garcia explained that academic success is one of Uplift’s top priorities.

"When Uplift opens a new school, we do it in a strategic way so we can meet the overwhelming demand for better public school options while offering the quality education that we currently provide our scholars at our existing schools. We want to make college preparatory education available to all North Texas students, but we need to make sure our academic standards remain high," he said.

Yasmin Bhatia, Uplift CEO spoke on the issue from Dallas.

“Uplift is interested in expanding our ability to grow and source funding from the State of Texas to meet our facility expansion needs. We are also looking to this bill to hold all charter schools accountable for their performance. Providing high-quality education for all Texas students must be our top priority, and we will only be able to do this if there is sufficient support for all of our partners involved in this effort,” Ms. Bhatia said.

The panel heard testimony from other community members on both sides of the issues. State Representative and Chairman Jimmie Don Ayock said while a vote would not be taken at the hearing, he hopes to "move the bill expeditiously" and to continue to hear suggestions from members this week for further discussion next Tuesday.

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About Uplift Education
Uplift Education is a is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization operating a network of 26 tuition-free, college preparatory, public charter schools in Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington and Irving on 12 campuses. Uplift Education schools provide a rigorous, multidisciplinary curriculum, with an emphasis on college preparation – 100% of graduates are accepted to college. Uplift Education educates 7,500 students, with the majority being low-income and minority students who will be the first in their family to attend college. Uplift schools are public schools -- students are selected by a blind lottery with no information collected on their past academic performance. For more information, visit uplifteducation.org or facebook.com/uplifteducation.

Media Contacts:

Mike Terry, Director of Communications
Uplift Education
mterry(at)uplifteducation(dot)org
Direct 469-621-8545

Sara Ortega, Public Relations Coordinator
Uplift Education
sortega(at)uplifteducation(dot)org
Direct 469-621-8498

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Uplift Education
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