Each year, the Tennessee Charter School Center identifies key political challenges and opportunities facing the state’s charter school sector and the students and families it serves. Working closely with schools, operators, teachers, parents, students and other community advocates, the Tennessee Charter School Center is committed to making sure all voices are clearly heard. During the 2017 Legislative Session, we are focusing our priorities on:
Progress towards closing the facilities funding gap for charter schools.
Research shows a significant relationship between the condition of school facilities and student performance. Public schools of all kinds find it difficult to provide adequate learning facilities with their limited budgets. However, charter schools in particular struggle to provide school facilities that match the quality of traditional public schools. This inequity ultimately redirects needed funds away from the classroom.
THE WAY FORWARD: The Tennessee Charter School Center supports policies that will provide increased funding and greater access to affordable, lower cost financial and resource support that ensures more dollars for students.
Increased transparency between authorizers and charter schools and a positive impact on the quality of authorizer practice.
Charter school authorizers hold a critical responsibility as evaluators of new charter school applications as well as in their role as the oversight body for the charter schools they authorize. As the charter school landscape continues to grow, it will be vital to ensure that both authorizing agencies and charter schools are equitably supported – in resources and funding. This mutual support is key to maintaining a sustainable system.
THE WAY FORWARD: The Tennessee Charter School Center will encourage conversations and policies focused on transparency of effort, closing the funding gap and collaboration between charter schools and districts.
Consistency and clarity across authorizer best practices, actions and expectations.
Tennessee charter schools create an environment in which parents are partners in their children's education, teachers are allowed to innovate in the classroom, and students are provided the structure they need to learn. This flexibility allows schools to “think outside the box” when it comes to school-based decisions such as curriculum, school schedule and extracurricular offerings; however, it does not mean they are exempt from high academic and management expectations.
THE WAY FORWARD: The Tennessee Charter School Center will be a driver in establishing best practices and new approaches to educating students across the public education system by clearly defining and understanding what autonomy means and establishing best practices that do not complicate or restrict it.