It’s Hillsdale College and their quest to open Christian Nationalist charter schools in Tennessee.
American Classical Education filed letters of intent in recent days with school districts in Madison, Montgomery, Maury, Robertson, and Rutherford counties — all growing suburban areas near Nashville. The proposed schools would open in the 2024-25 school year.
I reported in September on the early withdrawal of Hillsdale’s initial applications – in Madison, Montgomery, and Rutherford counties:
The withdrawal of the appeals, of course, doesn’t mean Hillsdale is no longer interested in Tennessee. It simply doesn’t make sense to conduct such an aggressive campaign and just walk away.
Here’s what NewsChannel5’s Phil Williams reported on the premature exit:
“We made this decision because of the limited time to resolve the concerns raised by the commission staff and our concerns that the meeting structure and timing on Oct. 5 will not allow commissioners to hear directly from the community members whose interests lie at the heart of the commission’s work,” board chair Dolores Gresham wrote in a letter delivered Thursday to the commission.
Gresham, it’s worth noting, is a former Chair of the Senate Education Committee and a legislator with a long history of supporting efforts to shift public money to private schools.
As Williams notes in his story, Hillsdale had asked for a delay in the vote – that is, they had still hoped to appeal and to win those appeals.
This seems to indicate the schools will continue their PR offensive and hope to shift public opinion in order to secure public funds for their Christian nationalist vision.
In short, those predicting Hillsdale’s return were right.
Gov. Lee made his pact with Hillsdale clear in his State of the State in January of this year. Now, it seems Hillsdale and Lee are ready to make good on that promise – the promise of turning over local tax dollars to support what is essentially private, Christian education.
This comes at a significant cost to local taxpayers, of course.
I’ve noted before that if the schools were to open according to Hillsdale’s stated plan, school districts would lose millions in funding in year one alone – and that funding loss would be compounded going forward:
Here’s the deal: 2023 is the first year of school funding under the new, TISA model. This means the charters stand to get more money – based of just under $7000 per student PLUS weights for a variety of categories.
Taking it at just the base, though, each of these districts stands to lose nearly $2.3 million in funding in YEAR ONE of the charter school opening.
Another area of concern? Hillsdale’s call for violent revolution to “overthrow” public education.
In a recent issue of Hillsdale’s newsletter – Imprimis – President Larry Arnn talks about the current “culture wars” and notes that the battle for public schools has “not yet” necessitated violence.
I have said and written many times that the political contest between parents and people who make an independent living, on the one hand, and the administrative state and all its mighty forces on the other, is the key political contest of our time. Today that seems truer than ever. The lines are clearly formed.
As long as our representative institutions work in response to the public will, there is thankfully no need for violence.
What does this mean? Does it mean that in states like Tennessee, where political pushback caused Hillsdale to pause its attempt to establish charter schools, violence may eventually be necessary?
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