YES Prep 101

There are many myths about charter schools and we want you to feel well-informed and knowledgeable. This page provides the facts about YES Prep, how it operates, and how it is funded.

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Myth 1
: YES Prep requires students to have certain grades and test scores in order to be admitted to one of its schools.
Fact: YES Prep is an open enrollment public school system so there are no admission criteria. 

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Myth 2
: YES Prep charges tuition.
Fact: It is free to attend YES Prep schools because we are an open-enrollment public school system. 

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Myth 3
: Charter schools like YES Prep use a lottery to cherry pick their students. 
Fact: By law, when there are more applicants than available seats, we are required to admit students using a random lottery. During this random lottery, only the student names, home addresses, and contact information for applicant families are collected. The lottery is open from November to early February. YES Prep is a proud partner of Apply Houston which allows families to apply to multiple charter networks using one application. Read more about student admissions and teacher assignments.    

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Myth 4
: Only students who live within certain boundaries surrounding a YES Prep campus can attend that school. 
Fact: Our campuses are intentionally located in underserved communities, and free transportation is provided to students residing within each campus' priority zone. If students from outside the priority zone are admitted,  their families must provide their own transportation into the priority zone. Read more about campus locations and community engagement

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Myth 5
: YES Prep cannot serve students with special needs, including profound special needs. 
Fact: When a student wins the lottery at YES Prep, we provide that student with a free and appropriate public education that meets their needs including at our partnership campuses. As a public school system, YES Prep must serve all students. We provide services that traditional public schools offer like Special Education, English Language Learner supports, and life skills classes for students with profound special needs. Read more about our Special Education services.

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Myth 6
: Charter schools have looser restrictions than traditional public schools. 
Fact: YES Prep schools must meet the same academic and financial standards as traditional public schools. In fact, the State can revoke charters or allow them to expire/deny renewal, for failing to meet the academic and  financial accountability measures for three years. Read more about length of the school day and year.  

public vs. private signs
Myth 7
: Charter schools are privately operated.
Fact: Charter schools are public schools that receive federal and state funding and operate independently from local school districts. YES Prep is a public entity and holds a charter with the state of Texas. The Texas  Education Agency (TEA) awards an accreditation status to each public school district and charter school. The State gives charter schools more freedom when it comes to staffing, curriculum, instructional approach, and such basics as the length of the school day and year. In fact, in 2015 the Texas Legislature passed the District of Innovation bill, allowing ISDs to have the same freedoms as public charters. 

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Myth 8
: Charter schools have more money than traditional public schools with the unfair advantage of being able to fundraise additional dollars. 
Fact: In 2017, the Texas legislature passed HB21 providing charter schools with funding that will help build or maintain school buildings. The passage of HB 21 is a historic step towards equitable school finance in Texas; however, there is still more work to do at the State and Federal levels to eliminate the funding gap. In Texas and in many jurisdictions in the country, both traditional public schools and public charter schools are permitted to fundraise additional dollars. However, unlike independent school districts, open-enrollment charter schools in Texas do not receive funds from local tax revenue. We would love to eliminate our need to fundraise – a right that is also extended to traditional public schools - so that we can function with only federal and state revenue. Read more about our school facilities model

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Myth 9
: Charter schools steal precious dollars from traditional public schools.
Fact:  If any school suffers declining enrollment, it will see declining levels of funding. However, it is our belief that parents have the right to make the best choice for their children. An affluent parent might exercise this right by moving from a low-performing to a high-performing school district. A parent who lacks means, however, may not have the choice to rent or buy in a high-performing district. Like all schools, we work to retain   our students-- not only because we want to fulfill the commitment we made to the students and their families but also because we want to maintain our budget. If parents elect to withdraw students from YES Prep, we commit to improving. We discuss the decision with parents and then incorporate the feedback. We work to enhance our programming, including establishing partnership campuses with local Independent Schools Districts in the area, so that our families stay with us.  Read more about our partnership campuses.  

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Myth 10
: Charter schools like YES Prep perform worse than traditional public schools. 
Fact: 87% of YES Prep alumni have matriculated to college within one year of high school graduation AND are earning college degrees at FIVE times the rate of peers with similar economic backgrounds  across the country. Read more about our results