Charles Corra examines the potential legal issues with Tennessee’s charter schools in light of the Washington State Supreme Court ruling saying that state’s charter law was unconstitutional.
He starts with this note:
I recently tweeted about an article published in the Nashville Bar Journal called “Tennessee’s Waltz With Charter Schools,” which commented on the potential unconstitutionally of Tennessee’s charter school legislation.
Similar to Washington, Tennessee’s charter schools are also private entities that contract with a school board and cannot be managed by for-profit entities. The author also points out the similarity with funding between Washington and Tennessee charter laws: that the money follows the student. What is important in the article is the discussion that follows regarding the variance in success rates between charter schools (i.e. some performed well while others did not), which could be attributed to the freedom that charter schools have with how they allocate resources. The takeaway here is that, based on a study the author delves into, there are inconsistencies in management, operation, funding, and student achievement among charter schools in Tennessee.
The points, as Corra makes it, is that because of the way Tennessee charter schools are operated and funded, they could be in violation of established precedent regarding equal educational opportunity. No challenge to this law has yet been made, but the issues raised in the Washington case may merit attention by Tennessee lawmakers.
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