Accountability Charter Schools Corporate Reformers Education Industry Education Reform Failure Privatization Race to the Top Tennessee

Gary Rubinstein: CONFIRMED! The Complete and Total Failure of the Tennessee Achievement School District at a Cost of $100 Million

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Gary Rubinstein reports that the latest Tennessee school rankings were just released. Now we know. The Tennessee Achievement School District was a complete and total failure. $100 million down the drain, which came from Race to the Top funding. The same money might have been used to reduce class sizes in these schools. Instead, it was used to induce charter operators to come to Tennessee and work their magic. It failed.

Would someone tell Bill Gates, John Arnold, Reed Hastings, Eli Broad, Michael Bloomberg, and the other billionaires who are still spreading the phony claim of charter miracles?

Spread the word to states like Nevada, Georgia, and North Carolina, which created their own “achievement school districts” based on the Tennessee model.

Seven years ago, as part of Tennessee’s Race To The Top plan, they launched The Achievement School District (ASD). With a price tag of over $100 million, their mission was to take schools that were in the bottom 5% of schools and, within five years, raise them into the top 25%.

They started with six schools and three years into the experiment, Chris Barbic, the superintendent of the ASD had a ‘mission accomplished’ moment where he declared in an interview that three of those six schools were on track to meet that goal.

But a year later, the gains that led to that prediction had disappeared and it wasn’t looking good for any of those six schools. By the time the five year mark had been reached, in the Fall of 2016, Chris Barbic had already resigned and taken a job with the John Arnold Foundation.

The thing about 2016, though, is that whether or not the ASD schools met the lofty goal could not be determined, officially. Tennessee releases their official ‘priority’ list of the bottom 5% schools every three years. And, conveniently enough, the last one was in 2015. So even though it was clear in 2016 that the original 6 ASD schools would not be in the top 25%, an even more important question — how many of those schools remained in the bottom 5%? — would not be known officially for two more years, in the Fall of 2018.

A few days ago, Tennessee finally released the long-awaited 2018 priority schools list, and for the ASD, the results were decisive and devastating.

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