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Remember all the stories about long waiting lists for charter schools? Well, it is not the case at Tennessee’s all-charter Achievement School District. The ASD has taken over low-performing public schools, turned them over to privately managed charter schools, and promises that the schools would be high-performing within five years. Unfortunately, the parents in Memphis and Nashville are not happy about losing their neighborhood public school.
Chalkbeat reports that Republican legislators in Tennessee are proposing to allow the ASD to enroll children from outside their zoned residential district, in order to find more students. It turns out that the schools do not have waiting lists and have low enrollments. One charter operator–Rocketship–won’t open unless the bill passes.
Nashville school board member Amy Frogge warned that the bill would siphon off students and funding from public schools:
“The need for such a bill indicates that the ASD is unable to meet its goal of turning around low-performing schools without a change in student population, and it also indicates that parents are not ‘voting with their feet’ to attend these charter schools,” said Amy Frogge, a board member for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and a vocal critic of charter schools and the ASD.
Frogge voiced concern that schools in the ASD will recruit the highest-achieving students from nearby neighborhoods, which could “burden traditional schools with larger populations of more challenging and costly-to-educate students,” she responded in an email to Chalkbeat.