Charters Filing Applications to Take Over Failing TN Schools

If all goes well, the state will give as many as four charter schools its blessing to take over some of the state’s worst performing schools, the superintendent of the state’s Achievement School District said.

Nine charter schools applied with the state to turn around any of 13 failing schools under the jurisdiction of the District, a branch of the state Department of Education focusing on low-performing schools.

“All we know is they can fill out an application. That’s the work now, to really evaluate the quality of them,” superintendent Chris Barbic said. “We’d love to see three or four of those guys get approved, but we’re going to have a high bar.”

Barbic said he would evaluate each charter’s leadership team, academic plans, and responses during in-person interviews.

Among the applicants is the Power Center Academy, a charter school in Memphis that won big recognition this week from the State Collaborative on Reforming Education for “dramatically improving student achievement in spite of the challenges they face.”

“Obviously we want to see folks that have a great track record,” Barbic told TNReport. “We don’t want to drag out the process unnecessarily. We also want to make sure we’re building in time for community buy-in as much as we can.”

Barbic said he’ll decide in November which charters to take on, then match each one up with a school in the district.

  • Patrick O’Brien

    As a teacher, I hope that Barbic and his people do their due diligence. The only thing more awful than a failing school is a charter school that takes over, makes big promises and then fails. They should approve only those who have a good plan and the resources to match.