Amy Frogge is a recently elected member of the Metro Nashville school board. She overcame a heavily funded opponent. She was named to our honor roll because she ran for school board to speak for parents and students. A lawyer, she takes her civic duty seriously. She believes in democracy, where the people closest to the problems have a voice in resolving them.
That’s why she has been a strong opponent of the Great Hearts charter school. Frogge describes the situation here.
Its plans were inadequate in relation to diversity. Few of the Arizona Great Hearts schools are diverse. This was not acceptable to the Nashville school board. It was no problem for state commissioner of education Kevin Huffman, who didn’t care if Great Hearts ended up with few or no black children. He withheld $3.4 million from the children of Nashville to punish the school board for turning down Great Hearts.
Why is Kevin Huffman so devoted to this charter operator?
This is what Timothy Noah wrote about Great Hearts Academy in The New Republic, quoting investigative journalist Ann Ryman in the Arizona Republic:
“The schools’ purchases from their own officials,” Ryman writes, “range from curriculum and business consulting to land leases and transportation services. A handful of non-profit schools outsource most of their operations to a board member’s for-profit company.” A nonprofit called Great Hearts Academies runs 15 Arizona charter schools. Since 2009, according to Ryman, the schools have purchased $987,995 in books from Educational Sales Co., whose chairman, Daniel Sauer, is a Great Hearts officer. And that doesn’t count additional book purchases made directly by parents. Six of the Great Hearts schools have links on their Web sites for parents who wish to make such purchases. The links are, of course, to Educational Sales Co. Since 2007 Sauer has donated $50,400 to Great Hearts. You can call that philanthropy, or you can call that an investment on which Sauer’s company received a return of more than 1800 percent. I’m not sure even Russian oligarchs typically get that much on the back end.”