In last week's (Dec 19) Tennessean:
(TN House Speaker Beth) Harwell, whose Green Hills-area district includes many of the parents who sought Phoenix-based Great Hearts’ arrival, said there likely would be two different versions of bills involving charter authorization drafted during the next legislative session. One would allow charter operators to apply directly to the state, perhaps to a panel created solely to review and grant charters instead of Tennessee’s State Board of Education.
She also discussed a separate, more modest proposal that would let local school boards vet charter school applications on the front end, as they currently do, but change the appeals process for denied charters in a fundamental way — giving ultimate authority to the state.
The Texas Board of Education — not a local school board — on Nov. 16 voted unanimously, 15-0, to approve two Great Hearts schools for a predominantly middle- to upper-class area in San Antonio to open next school year.
Texas, where charters date back to 1995, has about 460 charter schools from more than 200 operators. Its state board of education is the main authorizing agency. Tennessee currently has 49 charter schools after the first opened in 2002.
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