The right-wing group called ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) has model legislation to enable a governor to appoint a commission to authorize charter schools, thus bypassing those pesky local school boards that don’t want to bring privately managed schools to their local district. The local school boards are charged with improving their schools, not with dividing up the public funds between their schools and an out-of-state corporation that wants to open a school in its district.
This is the reason for the constitutional amendment that passed in Georgia. The privatizers objected to having to get the consent of local school boards, so they got the governor and legislature to put a measure on the ballot that was inaccurately described (something like “do you want to improve student achievement by opening charter schools,” rather than an honest description of the purpose of the law, which was to remove the powers of the local school boards).
Now in Tennessee, the Republicans have a super-majority (thanks in part to campaign contributions by Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst, which invested generously in GOP candidates).
As readers of this blog may recall, the Metro Nashville school board has turned down an Arizona-based charter chain called Great Hearts because it had an inadequate diversity plan.
It turned down Great Hearts four times, and the TFA State Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman (Rhee’s -ex) fined the Nashville schools $3.4 million for not doing what he wanted them to do.
Great Hearts now says it will not apply to the Nashville board again. Instead, it will wait until the state legislature creates an ALEC-style law creating a charter-friendly state board that won’t ask annoying questions about the lack of diversity in most of the Great Hearts charters.
In fact, the leader of Great Hearts said he was too busy to talk to the Metro Nashville board, and if the city’s director of schools wants to talk to him, he can fly to Arizona.
After Great Hearts gets approval from an “impartial” state board, then it will open “multiple” charters in Nashville.
He knows something. He knows that the governors, the state commissioner and the legislature will give him whatever he wants.
In other news from Nashville, the school board voted to close down a charter school with abysmal test scores (but powerhouse athletic teams). A KIPP school in Nashville was also in the bottom 5% in the state, but was not closed.