Change in Law Leads to Rise in Tennessee Charter School Applications

Apr 4, 2012

Tennessee is seeing an increased number of proposals for charter schools. The rise in applications is largely due to a recent change in state law that no longer limits charters to low-income students from failing classrooms. The Tennessean reports that in Nashville alone eleven groups have applied to create new charter school operations.

Carol Swann, who is in charge of charter school coordination for Metro Nashville Public Schools, says the applications seek to start charters for a host of students, including adults, teens with Asperger syndrome, and affluent families in West Nashville.  

The Metro Nashville School Board is scheduled to vote on the eleven requests in May.

There’s no guarantee the charter school applications will be accepted by the Board---last year, five of the nine requests were rejected.

Earlier this year, Governor Bill Haslam signed into law a bill eliminating a statewide cap on the number of charter schools and income restrictions on those who could attend charters.

Charter schools are independent of many statewide regulations impacting public schools, but are expected to produce excellent academic results. Those that fail are shut down.