The Nashville school board votes four times to turn down Great Hearts charter school, despite being ordered to approve it by the state board and education commissioner. Why?
“Our newly elected board took a stand for ALL of our students with their 4th and final denial of Great Hearts. There was enormous pressure from the Mayor and our state officials and our Governor. The most ironic part of the 3.4 million dollar fine is the fact that it is from the BEP funds that are designated for “non-classroom”. Several things fall under that heading and of them is transportation. So the state has decided to withhold money that would go toward transporting our children to school who are Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL), in zone but not within walking distance or who are disabled.
“Do you know one of the major sticking points for why Great Hearts did not get approval? Transportation! They did not want to provide adequate transportation for students that were outside of the affluent west Nashville location. Their plan was to provide MTA bus passes for (FRL) kids that are old enough to ride mass transit and then they were going to provide limited busing to a specific neighborhood if the demand was great enough. Sounds pretty good until you get to the part that they were only going to do it for 2 years. Apparently after 2 years those kids’ families were magically going to come into some money to be able to buy a car or quit their second job or whatever so they could drive their child to and from school that is across town.
“So it seems that the state has shown us exactly how they feel about our students that need transportation. When they tried to bully the elected board into approving a charter that did not meet diversity requirements via transportation to the school or location of the school it didn’t work. Now they are punishing the very kids that would have been punished by approving a charter that did not give them adequate access. Oh the irony.
The charter schools frequently do things like this, because they want to discourage poor kids from attending. They don’t want them pulling down the averages that “prove” charter schools do a better job.