The Tennessean has an op-ed by Harry Allen, an executive with Avenue Bank and board president of Purpose Preparatory charter school. He calls for a long-term plan for the future of our district in regards to charters. I think we sometimes get lost in the details about being pro/anti charter and forget to plan for the long term.
Charter schools are here to stay in Nashville. Thousands of students are served in charter schools throughout Nashville, and if you think that all of them are magically going to disappear, you need to rethink that notion.
Mr. Allen starts out with a great opening sentence:
The most successful organizations adapt to the changing environment around them in order to overcome challenges and remain effective.
Mr. Allen goes on to discuss findings of a study that was recently released in partnership with the Tennessee Charter School Association.
The study’s key findings include:
•Charter schools in 2013-14 academically outperformed district-managed schools and are funded at similar levels, which means charters yielded a higher return on investment for taxpayers and families.
•Though MNPS today is a choice-based system, the MNPS infrastructure — buildings, services and associated cost structure — reflects the past for which it was designed, one with limited parental choice.
•It recommends an updated system that accounts for a future that includes a mix of district- and charter-managed public schools.
•The majority of district financial expenses are variable in the long term and should be adjusted to reflect anticipated shifts in enrollment.
(Yes, commenters, how dare the Tennessee Charter School Association commission a study about charter schools. I know, it’s crazy that an organization would research a topic that they work in. While I am on the topic of studies, let’s not accept with open arms the Comptroller study on the ASD while saying the Comptroller study on MNPS was conducted by biased individuals. Hint: the same people did both studies. They are both flawed or both acceptable.)
Anyways, Mr. Allen goes on to quote Dr. Register as his conclusion.
“It is clear that shifts in student enrollment will require adjustments to our budgets that can only be made over multiple years,” he (Register) recently said. “Planning for these adjustments requires a long-term and collaborative approach that is responsive to parent demand and student enrollment decisions. We should take the time and make the effort to formulate the long-range impact.”
Dr. Register is spot-on — it’s imperative that MNPS adjust to the changing times. All organizations, whether for-profit or nonprofits, must occasionally adjust their planning to remain competitive. In this case, our city’s future depends on it.
Check out the oped, and let’s do some meaningful work in this area. We can spend hours every week in a doomsday scenario, or we can spend hours every week trying to come to a solution that will help lead our district into a prosperous future.
I would rather help lead our district into a prosperous future.