East Nashville “Charter Zone” Planned Years Ago?

Amid pleas from some East Nashville parents to start over or at least slow down, Dr. Jesse Register appears poised to move forward with a plan to turn the Maplewood and Stratford clusters in East Nashville into a “Charter Zone,” with information unveiled regarding what happens to which schools in those zones by January 1, 2015.

This in spite of a recent report presented to MNPS that details the increased cost to the district if the growth of charter schools is not carefully managed. That report came to light following another report noting that the Achievement School District model has so far produced unimpressive returns.

In an OpEd released today by Kristen Buras of Georgia State University, questions are raised about how long the East Nashville plan has been developing and if there is really any choice being afforded local parents seeking more answers.

Buras draws parallels between the New Orleans Recovery School District and what’s now happening in Nashville. She notes:

In 2010, New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO), the city’s leading charter school incubator, received a $28 million federal grant to expand charters in New Orleans as well as Nashville and Memphis. NSNO worked with Louisiana’s RSD and Tennessee’s Achievement School District (ASD), designed after the RSD, to “scale” the model in urban areas beyond New Orleans.

Around this same time, Mayor Karl Dean and Director of Schools Jesse Register welcomed the newly formed Tennessee Charter School Incubator (TCSI). TCSI was led initially by Matt Candler, NSNO’s former CEO, and planned to launch 20 new charter schools in Nashville and Memphis within five years.


Register’s open letter says education officials are “coming up with new ideas” to solve Nashville’s problems. The ideas are not new; they were incubated in New Orleans. The plan is not in “early stages of development”; charter school entrepreneurs have been laying groundwork for years. The task force formed and “big news” dropped before community input was invited. In New Orleans, schools were seized and chartered before communities returned to the city.

Buras also points out that the New Orleans RSD faces several problems, including:

Neighborhood schools were closed without genuine community input. Meanwhile, charter school operators have paid themselves six-figure salaries, used public money without transparency and appointed unelected boards to govern the schools.

Community members have filed civil rights lawsuits, including one by Southern Poverty Law Center alleging thousands of disabled children were denied access to schools and federally mandated services in violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Moreover, there are charter schools in New Orleans with out-of-school suspension rates approximating 70 percent.

She suggests parents in East Nashville should be concerned about a district following the same model as New Orleans. Perhaps public meetings on the topic and continued engagement by groups like East Nashville United will lead to questions being answered or more time being given to consider all options.


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


2 thoughts on “East Nashville “Charter Zone” Planned Years Ago?

  1. The results of the ASD are of no importance to these people. Chris Barbic comes to us directly from finishing with the Broad Superintendent Academy (2011). Where he learned the Broad philosophy of privatizing education. The goal is not to improve education but to eliminate elected school boards and eventually all interference from elected officials and parents. Then they will be free to run the school as they please making their owners wealthy. Any Charter owner that does have our kids in their heart will be bought up by the big boys waiting in the wings to swoop down and take over the market. Why is the Obama administration pushing for Charters???? Because they love your children??? Because they care about your children?? Not on a bet people. They are pushing Charters as a pay back to their rich friends that pushed Common Core down our throats for the government. They do the dirty work and the government rewards them handsomely. Bill Gates, Walton Foundation, Broad Foundation are among the big boys that are heavily invested in Charter organizations. You will see the FOR PROFIT vulchers back in Nashville next year and they will keep coming back until their buddies on our House and Education committees make it happen for them. CHARTERS and Technology are MUCH worse for the future of our kids than Common Core. Parents if you think you have no voice now I guarantee when Charters take over you will have less voice and no choice. Oh the failing Charter across the street or the failing Charter 10 miles away. And no one that you can elect out of office for not doing as you want. WOW is that the Choice you wanted?? There was only ever one choice. And that was to work with your school board to make the public school better. How many of you out there shouting off your mouth about Choice ever attended a school board meeting or even tried to make your school board work with you. How many stood up to work on the school board. I fear very very few. But you are so fast to stand up to shut down the school and open another and I doubt you will get involved with the Charter either. Parents freedom isn’t free and there is no easy answer to fix things when they don’t go right. It takes work, time and dedication. When was the last time you sat down and read one of your child’s school books? Sorry but the REAL problem is parents that have no interest in knowing what is going on in their child’s school, no interest in doing anything to fix a problem. I am not saying ALL parents are not engaged but those I have met that are engaged have long since taken their kids out of the public school system and either home school or have their kids in private school. We are seeing the total destruction of America greatness and parents are lining up like sheep to help them destroy our children’s future. Free breakfast, free lunch, pre-K (yeah more free babysitting) and no one understands this is all about getting your kids away from your influence as early as possible and to make them believe the government feeds them not their parents. It is truly sad to see what we have become.

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