Shelby County School Board Wants a Moratorium Put on Charter Schools in Tennessee Until Reviewed by State


The Shelby County School Board (SCSB) called for charter schools to stop opening in Memphis this week until the state reviews their performances.

This charter school moratorium is part of the school board’s annual legislative agenda, which Shelby County uses “to prioritize issues that it wants state legislators to address during their monthslong session that begins next month,” according to

“The Shelby County Board of Education urges the Tennessee General Assembly to place a moratorium on the expansion of charter schools (new applications for charter schools and applications for expansion of existing charters) until a study and evaluation of the effectiveness of charter schools operating under the Tennessee Public Charter Schools Act is conducted by the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR),” the board’s legislative agenda reads.

Shelby County argues this “moratorium” intends not to eliminate public charter schools, but rather it gives Tennessee time to evaluate the schools’ overall performance on student outcomes and educational opportunities for all students.

Terence Patterson, the executive director for Memphis Education Fund, told that the call for a “moratorium and additional data is unnecessary.”

“School choice empowers families to enroll their children in great schools that will help them reach their fullest potential. All schools must be held equally accountable, but blanket moratoriums that prevent high-quality public charter schools from opening or expanding only serve to limit student opportunities and parents’ choices,” he said.

“Our community should focus on ensuring all of our public schools have the talent and resources needed to provide a high-quality education for every student,” Patterson added.

This summer, the SCSB approved a new measure that allows the board in the county to dismiss a charter school application if it wants to open in an area with too few students.

According to Chalkbeat, district-ran elementary schools performed better than charter schools. However, high school charter schools received higher test scores than district-ran high schools.

As of the 2017-2018 school year, there were 112 charter schools in the Volunteer state who educated 42,900 students, Public Charters reports.

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Zachery Schmidt is the digital editor of Battleground State NewsIf you have any tips, email Zachery at [email protected]
Photo “Shelby County School Board” by Shelby County School Board. 





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2 Thoughts to “Shelby County School Board Wants a Moratorium Put on Charter Schools in Tennessee Until Reviewed by State”

  1. 83ragtop50

    It appears that they fear what is already so evident – that their their, and most large city, public schools are a disaster. Shame on them for setting up our children to fail.

  2. Horatio Bunce

    This is the way the charter school game is played all over the country. Only allow the bottom 5% academically to have a lottery chance at escaping perennially failing public systems, then demand an evaluation of those students in a year or less. When they are not “on grade level” with only one year or less away from years of entrenched perennial failure foundation set in the system they escaped, the new charter is declared a failure for not overcoming the failures of the public system in one year.

    These schools are voluntary, yet severely restricted by the state already. In fact 99.5% of public school students in TN even have the opportunity. Yet, if the parents who voluntarily left the public schools decide the charter is failing their child, they can once again voluntarily leave for a better alternative. The public system has failed these children for generations now. Shelby should have been taken over by the state during the Bredesen administration according to federal NCLB rules at the time. They were already that bad. What about the kids that haven’t been allowed to escape the past 12 years?