This is the third time that school district had rejected Phoenix-based Great Hearts Academies. It appears to be much like the situation in Florida now where the state board can overrule local districts about charter schools. Since the state school board is filled with charter school advocates, it is not a healthy thing for local districts.
Tennessee's Education Commissioner is Kevin Huffman, who is/was Vice President of Teach for America, also former hubby of Michelle Rhee.
From Huffington Post:
The Tennessee Department of Education is withholding $3.4 million of non-classroom, administrative funding from Metro Nashville Public Schools due to the school board’s failure to comply with the state’s charter school law, the Jackson Sun reports.At the same time Parent Trigger law advocates are making their move in Nashville. It's like a double whammy of corporate education reform going on there.
Last week, the Metro Nashville school board disobeyed an order by the state Board of Education to approve an application from the Phoenix-based Great Hearts Academies, which it had already twice rejected.
The Associated Press reports that members of the school board raised concerns that the proposed charter school planned to draw from affluent white families, as opposed to cultivating a more diverse student body. They voted 5-4 to deny Great Hearts’ application, ignoring a unanimous order from the state school board to approve it.
The charter school has since dropped its effort to open a school in Tennessee, the Tennessean reports.
From the Tennessean:
Tennessee’s trigger law passed with little fanfare in 2002 as part of a larger bill that ushered charter schools into the state.The Parent Trigger movement is being presented as a grassroots revolution by parents. It is actually being pushed along by charter school companies and other education reformers.
When the state’s charter law was updated in 2011 to allow all students regardless of their academic standing or socioeconomic status to enroll, the trigger-law portion was updated as well. As a result, the trigger law can be used to target schools not categorized by the state as failing, such as J.T. Moore and Hillwood High.
The statute states that “an eligible public school may convert to a public charter school pursuant to this chapter if the parents of 60 percent of the children enrolled in the school or 60 percent of the teachers assigned to the school agree and demonstrate support by signing a petition seeking conversion, and the (local school board) agrees to the conversion.”
Evans said the law as written leaves many unanswered questions, such as how would the school district handle a possible conversion if parents were able to garner the necessary signatures? She said parents would be reluctant to pursue a conversion if they ultimately must cede control of the process over to the school district. The law does not define how a conversion would work, if the effort received school board approval.
In reality it is funded by big money groups to provide a quicker way to get charter schools growing.
Parents are led to believe they can lead a coup over public schools, but they may be surprised at how quickly the charter chains step in.