Telling the NAC Story

Yesterday, TN Ed Report presented an analysis by Ezra Howard of the Neighborhood Advisory Council’s (NAC) rubrics and the Achievement School District’s (ASD) scoring mechanism. Ultimately, the analysis found the process biased toward matching a neighborhood school with a charter management organization. Separately, several members of the NAC held a press conference calling the process “deceptive” and a “scam.”

In response to the NAC press conference, the ASD sent this press release to several media outlets:

“The ASD invited people with varying backgrounds and points of view to join the NAC and, in so doing, we knew there was the possibility that giving every member a voice in decision-making would mean that some members would not be happy when final decisions were made. This year’s community input process was redesigned with the input of a diverse group of stakeholders, including some recent critics. We agreed with the importance of strengthening parent voices in decisions about schools and that NACs should have an opportunity to evaluate the plans of school operators in areas that reflect the highest priorities for parents and community members. There is no question that the Priority schools that we engaged in this process are deserving of a meaningful intervention to significantly improve students’ opportunities for success. We are grateful to the parents, students, teachers, counselors and community members who spent the better part of two months learning about and evaluating the potential fit of operators that applied to serve these Priority schools.

We did our best to run a fair, transparent process and we believe we achieved that. Based on the scored rubrics and methodology we used to ensure parent voice accounted for 50 percent of the feedback we received from the NACs, we had four matches and one school that did not match. We will honor both the match and non-match outcomes of this community input process.

We ran our redesigned process with fidelity, and we addressed every concern we were made aware of during the process. We have always attempted to be an organization that listens and learns. Our biggest concern as we move forward is the fact that we have some members of the NAC who feel the need to go to the media rather than come to us discuss their concerns. If it’s political posturing to overturn a fair and open process, then there is little we can do to address that. If there are good faith ways we can improve, we are open to that feedback. And we welcome those NAC members who continue to have concerns to meet with our team members in the new year.”

TN Ed Report would like to hear from both members of the NAC and the Achievement Advisory Councils (AAC) from past years. Did you find the process transparent, consistent, and acted on with fidelity? Did you share your concerns honestly with the ASD from the beginning? Did you find he process to be fair and open? Please write to nacstories@gmail.com

TN Ed Report would like to share your opinion in fairly and openly. Whether they are positive or negative, your view of the process will be presented without influence. In addition to your story, please provide your name and a detailed description on the NAC or AAC team on which you served.

For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport

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