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 Chalkbeat.org.
“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 LocalMemphis.com 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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