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Nashville Charter On Hold

“Great Hearts school ends charter bid in Nashville”
by Lisa Fingeroot
The Tennessean
September 13, 2012

Great Hearts Academies’ decision to pull out of Tennessee until state law creates an impartial charter school approval process is setting the stage for a legislative battle over who will grant approvals in the future.

After the Metro Nashville school board denied a charter to Great Hearts for the third time, the Arizona-based charter school company released a statement Wednesday saying it was withdrawing from the state.

However, Great Hearts said it might apply for a charter “when Tennessee’s laws and charter approval process more effectively provide for open enrollment, broad service to the community and impartial authorizers.”

The idea of creating a state agency to grant charters has been discussed in Tennessee and elsewhere. The Tennessee Charter School Association is researching methods used in other states to take politics out of the conversation.

“Every application should not be a brand-new political discussion,” said Matt Throckmorton, association executive director. “It is the children of Nashville that lose out to adult problems, again.”

Throckmorton called the state charter school law “flawed” and hopes to find a system that will allow charter applicants to work with local boards of education during the application process, but will not allow politics to affect the decision. That model will probably find its way into the association’s legislative agenda for January, he said.

“We are going to have charter schools — the law has been written,” he said.

Metro Nashville board members don’t consider their decisions to deny a charter to Great Hearts three times to be political. They have said the main issue was whether the school would cater to an affluent, largely white population or work to create a more diverse student body by providing transportation to students from other areas of the city.

Great Hearts, on the

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