Chris Barbic has returned to Tennessee to join its “charter school center.”

Barbic, you may recall, launched the much-lauded Achievement School District in Tennessee, drawing upon $100 million from the state’s $500 million Race to the Top grant. He promised to take over the state’s lowest performing schools, hand them over to charter operators, and propel them into the top 25% of schools in the state, in five years’ time.

After four years, he stepped down due to a heart attack. By the end of year five, none of the schools in the ASD had been vaulted into the top 25% of schools in the state. They all remained mired at the bottom of the state’s list of schools, as measured by test scores. Since Barbic’s departure, the leadership at ASD has changed hands a few times, but the evaluations have not improved. ASD was a flop.

However, the concept was adopted without waiting for results by a few other states, including North Carolina (one school was in its state-controlled version of ASD) and Nevada (no success). Georgia proposed to create a similar district, but it was turned down by voters.

State takeovers have typically failed. Michigan launched its “Education Achievement Authority” several years ago. It was a disaster, and it was closed down.

New Orleans is the original prototype, where all the district’s schools are now operated by charter managers. Despite lots of hype, it is hardly a model. The latest state scores for schools found that almost half the charters in NOLA were rated either D or F. Overall, the district’s test scores were below the state average. The highest performing schools are the most selective. NOLA is a low-performing district in one of the nation’s lowest performing states (on NAEP, the national testing program that compares states).