Amid all of the craziness at the Capitol this session, the Texas Legislature recently passed a bill that will help students have more education options than their assigned public school. This legislation is now on its way to the governor.

HB 1423 by Rep. Ryan Guillen and Sen. Florence Shapiro allows junior colleges and community colleges in Texas to open a charter school. The colleges would still have to go through a rigorous application process at the Texas Education Agency and with the State Board of Education to be approved.

Many Texas community colleges already collaborate with charter schools across the state. For example, Houston ISD and Houston Community College collaborate with two early college high schools and at an academy for international studies, while Texas State Technical College in Waco collaborates with the Rapoport Academy. See the full list on page 7 of our research on charter schools.

Senior universities already have the ability to open charter schools in Texas. Currently, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Houston, Stephen F. Austin State University, and Texas Southern University either operate or collaborate with a charter school.

Charter schools run by senior universities are exempt from the state cap on charters of 215. This bill also exempts junior colleges and community colleges from the cap.

Charter schools are helping more than 110,000 Texas students. With this new opportunity for community colleges, imagine how many more Texas children can be helped.

– Brooke Terry