Gary Rubinstein has followed the progress (and lack thereof) of the celebrated Tennessee Achievement School District. It was the ultimate proving ground of the claim by charteristas that they could “turnaround” the state’s worst schools and vault them into the top 25% in five years.

As Gary reports here, they didn’t.

They have plenty of excuses. And the education press refuses to hold them accountable for their inflated promises and their failure to keep them.

The original architect Chris Barbic (one of the “stars” of the charter industry, having founded the YES PREP chain in Houston) left before the gig was up and went to work for billionaire John Arnold, ex-Enron trader, who devotes his “philanthropic” efforts to two goals: charter schools and eliminating pensions for public employees.

And now, the ASD has changed its goal, having demonstrated that its original goal was out of reach. And its second leader is leaving, having accomplished nothing. She too will go on to a cushy job.

Only the children will be left behind.

Gary reminds us that other states are copying the failed Tennessee model. In “reform,” nothing succeeds like failure.

I am reminded that last year, I had an acerbic exchange with an editor from one of North Carolina’s daily newspapers. I asked on this blog why NC was adopting the Tennessee Achievement School District, right after a team of Vanderbilt researchers found that it was not improving achievement (test scores). I dared to say that the experiment was a failure. The newspaper editor lashed out and demanded to know why I called the TN ASD a failure; it hadn’t achieved its goals “yet,” but that was no reason not to try it in NC. Wonder what he will say now. Give it another decade? Two more decades? Forever?