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State Sues Metro Nashville Public Schools Over Student Contact Info, District to Sue State Over Funding

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The state of Tennessee is suing Metro Nashville Public Schools for declining to release student contact information to the state-run Achievement School District run mostly by charter school operators who want parents to be informed of school options.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Davidson County Chancery Court, claims that a state law that took effect earlier this year compels MNPS to turn over the information. The suit says the district is required to provide a “list of student names, ages, addresses, dates of attendance, and grade levels completed.”

An MNPS spokeswoman told The Tennessee Star on Thursday that district officials are reviewing the lawsuit.

School board chair Anna Shepherd wrote a letter to state education commissioner Candice McQueen in August saying the board’s attorney advised the board that it has discretion over releasing such information per the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Shepherd also said the new state law does not allow for the release of student contact information for marketing purposes.

Shepherd said the Achievement School District’s “academic track record is concerning and there is waning demand for ASD schools in Nashville and Memphis, which presumably is why the ASD is seeking to market itself to MNPS and Shelby County Schools students and families.”

Most of the schools in the Achievement School District are in Memphis, with only a few in Nashville. Charter operators in the district have taken over failing public schools to try to turn them around.

McQueen responded in a letter saying nothing in the new law prohibits student contact information from being used by charter operators for marketing and recruiting. Parents would be allowed to decline further information after being contacted initially, she said. McQueen also cited an MNPS policy that allows parents to withhold the release of information to anyone if they take the initiative to opt out.

In a separate matter, the MNPS school board voted on Tuesday to join Shelby County Schools in suing the state for what it claims is insufficient funding for schools.

Outspoken school board member Will Pinkston tweeted about both lawsuits this week:

 

 

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2 thoughts on “State Sues Metro Nashville Public Schools Over Student Contact Info, District to Sue State Over Funding

  1. Horatio Bunce

    I guess MNPS forgot about selling out the children with Bredesen and Woodson’s Race To The Trough, committing to Common Core “state” Standards (before they were even written), mandatory online testing (how’s that scoring coming?) AND committing to the disclosure and EVENTUAL SALE of individual student information via 3rd party testing companies. That last part required Obama’s executive order gutting FERPA to make it “legal”. So they were not opposed to total strangers from a foreign country (Pearson) selling your kid’s information – as long as they kept their Uncle Sugar money.

    You were warned. You had concerned parties in front of education committees. Nobody cared. They only wanted their Uncle Sugar fix and slobbered after that $500M of taxpayer dollars.

    Funny to see Will Pinkston burning the candle at the other end. This was all great when he and Phil were spending Bill Gates’ millions on the Diploma Project grants and promoting Common Core. This was their plan.

  2. Susan E Gingrich

    Before any school district goes after the state for more funding, it should prove it is accountable to taxpayers for the money it receives. Let’s see what is being done for efficiency and reducing costs and that the money already given is producing good education and results, not just more athletic improvements. There is a big problem with the current state school MOE funding mechanism and regulations. It is taxpayers who are being harmed not students. Give school districts more -they just spend more and don’t return the unspent dollars approved by counties for designated projects. Real accountability is needed in all levels of our government and real oversight.

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