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The following statement issued was by Maya Bugg, Chief Executive Officer, Tennessee Charter School Center, in response to the Shelby County Schools announced closure of three Memphis charter schools:

“The Tennessee Charter School Center strongly believes in the opportunity for all students in Tennessee to have access to high quality public education built on the foundation of equity, integrity and collaboration. While we support the closure of consistently low performing schools, we are disappointed that the families of the six schools impacted by the board’s decision – whether charter or traditional school – were not afforded the opportunity of timely notice under an equitable due process.”

“Accountability plays a key role in the continued success of the charter school movement, and with all schools for that matter. In general, charter schools in Tennessee represent some of the top-performing schools in the state; however, in those cases where a school continuously underperforms, we must be transparent, objective and consistent in our decisions concerning closure. We appreciate the extremely tough decisions the SCS School Board has had to grapple with over the past few weeks. However, these closures reiterate the need for an established process based on best practices to help remove the guess-work around which schools should be eligible for closure.”

“The initial work of the Charter Compact is a first step in the right direction of building stronger relationships between the district and its charter schools so that we may ensure our SCS families have access to the quality schools they deserve. We will actively collaborate with our fellow community, school and district leaders at SCS to develop guiding plans around closing low performing charter schools based on consistent, well-communicated, data-driven expectations. We are confident that with these guidelines and proper and timely communication, we will all be able to work together for the greater good of education as a whole.”

The Tennessee Charter School Center (TCSC) is the first charter school support organization in the country that simultaneously creates and advocates on behalf of high quality charter schools and the students and families they serve. Its vision is for all students in Tennessee to have access to a high quality public education. Regardless of where they live, Tennessee students must have the opportunity to attend a public school that prepares them for success in the post-secondary education, college, or career of their choosing.