National Association of Charter School Authorizers Lauds Tennessee’s Strong Stance on Charter Quality


National Association of Charter School Authorizers Lauds Tennessee’s Strong Stance on Charter Quality

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) congratulated the state of Tennessee for taking a notable step in improving the overall quality of the state’s charter school sector. In a statement released Thursday, NACSA president and CEO Greg Richmond lauded Governor Bill Haslam for his signature of Tennessee’s revised charter law.

According to Richmond, “As Tennessee’s charter school sector continues to grow it will be able to grow with an improved focus on high-quality education options for families. We are confident that with a strong law, strong authorizers and a strong infrastructure of support, great schools will be allowed to flourish in the state and poor performers will be forced to close. The environment for making great things happen in the Tennessee charter sector is enhanced by today’s action that indicates failure will not be tolerated.”

The new law puts in place provisions for the default closure of consistently failing schools. Starting in 2015, charter schools identified on the Priority Schools list—which every three years identifies the lowest performing 5 percent of Tennessee public schools—will be subject to closure. New-start charter schools face closure after their first placement on the list while conversion schools and those authorized by the Achievement School District will be closed if identified in two consecutive Priority cycles. In addition, the new law ensures that authorizers in the state develop and implement model charter school closure policies that protect the interests of students and families once the decision is made to close a charter school.

The closure of charter schools that fail to live up to their promise is one of the cornerstones of NACSA’s five-year One Million Lives campaign. The campaign focuses on closing poor performing schools and creating and expanding successful schools in order to improve the educational options for one million children by the end of 2017.

Richmond thanked the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Tennessee Charter School Center who lead this effort to improve the quality of the state’s charter sector.

Another bill to make the Tennessee State Board of Education an authorizer on appeals from applicants rejected by local school districts is on the governor’s desk awaiting signature.

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