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The following statement is issued by Maya Bugg, Chief Executive Officer, Tennessee Charter School Center (TCSC), in advance of the 2018 gubernatorial candidate forum on education:

“For more than 15 years, Tennessee has recognized charter schools as a valuable public school option. Today, 112 charter schools are serving more than 33,000 Tennessee students - and our numbers continue to grow each year. Not only are charter schools promoting choice and opportunity in our K-12 education system, they are also playing an instrumental role in helping the state address a number of critical education issues, including literacy and workforce development.

The growth and progress of Tennessee charter schools could not have happened without strong leadership from Governor Bill Haslam and his predecessor, Governor Phil Bredesen. Both advanced thoughtful policies that provided the support necessary to expand high-quality charters and raise student achievement. We hope the next governor of Tennessee will demonstrate a similar commitment to charter schools and work with us to address key challenges facing the movement, such as adequate funding and district collaboration. I look forward to learning more during tonight’s education forum about how each candidate might sustain and spark continued success in the state’s charter schools.”