NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In a record-breaking year that saw national charter public school enrollment surpass three million students for the first time, Tennessee joins states across the country in celebrating National Charter Schools Week, May 1-5. Tennessee is an exemplar leader in the charter school movement – which currently serves more than 33,000 students across 107 public charter schools and counting. To celebrate, TCSC and local public charter schools will be highlighting the inspiring stories of students, parents and these unique school models on social media and at various service and community events throughout the state.
“We are approaching 15 years of charter school education in Tennessee and it’s amazing to witness the hope and transformation that students, families and communities have embraced and achieved in that time. Students in Memphis are exceeding district graduation rates; Nashville is an exemplar sector that boasts more than 43-percent of the city’s top recognized public schools; and East Tennessee is a budding hotbed of innovation and community partnerships,” shared Maya Bugg, chief executive officer, Tennessee Charter School Center. “This week is more than just a recognition of charter schools, but a celebration of equity, possibilities and success for all students.”
In Tennessee, charter schools are public schools – free, open to all children, and created to help fill needs within communities where quality options may not exist. The primary difference between charter schools and traditional schools lies in a charter’s ability to “think outside the box” when it comes to how students are educated, but still be held highly accountable to state and federal regulations.
The growing demand for other public school options is backed by several studies that confirm that charter school students do comparable or better than their traditional school peers. Stanford’s Center for Research on Educational Outcomes found that charter schools experience more success in teaching low-income students, students of color and English language learners than traditional options. The Center for Reinventing Public Education and Mathematical Policy Research found that charter school students are also more likely to graduate from high school and go to college.
“Charter schools are a great opportunity to drive innovation, and through continued collaboration with local districts they help add supplemental capacity, establish best practices and ensure all students have a chance to learn and achieve,” added Bugg.
National Charter Schools Week continues through May 1-5, 2017, but the impacts of public charters in Tennessee are happening daily in schools across the state. For information on charter public schools in Tennessee, please visit www.tnchartercenter.org. For national information on charter public schools, visit the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools website at www.publiccharters.org.