"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, October 02, 2015

Nashville Charters' Mind-Boggling Appeal for Expansion

In August the Nashville Metro School Board voted down further "no excuses" charter expansion.

School board members based their votes on 1) the dehumanizing and brutal regimen of the total compliance charters that is ostensibly aimed to improve student "character," 2) the siphoning of money by charters that will not be available to fund instructional programs and facility improvements for children in existing public schools, and 3) the fact that Nashville Metro does not have a plan that analyzes the need for charters or the long-term repercussions of sending hundreds of millions of school funds each year to corporate reform school operators.

Even without further expansion, this year, alone, Nashville Metro will spend $78 million on charter schools, even though the wait lists of parents trying to get their children into public schools are much longer than the wait lists for the charters like KIPP that are appealing the school board's decision to halt expansion. (Only one of KIPP's four Nashville schools even has a wait list).

At the appeals hearing with the State Board of Education two days ago, KIPP's lawyer, Drew Goddard, used his best pretzel logic to argue for KIPP expansion.  According to Goddard, KIPP expansion could actually save Metro money by drawing off students from Metro's oversubscribed and over-capacity public schools, thus saving money in new building costs.

Firstly, the parents who are lined up for Metro's high-quality diverse schools are not going to be tempted by KIPP's lockdown, segregated, and one-size-fits-nobody school model.  Nor are they going to be tempted by the Rocketship lockdown model, which plugs children into digitized worksheets for half the school day.

Secondly, the argument that charter schools will relieve school construction budgets is ludicrous.  Mr. Goddard has obviously forgotten how just a couple of years ago Mayor Dean committed $16 million, or 10 percent of Metro's four-year school improvement funds, to just one KIPP school.

But Mr. Goddard has another twisted argument, too, for more corporate welfare for KIPP.   Goddard seems to think that, even though Tennessee has one of the most regressive tax structures in the nation, there will nonetheless be plenty of education money for corporate charter expansion, even if there will "less more."
Drew Goddard, who also sits on the KIPP Nashville board, walked state officials through a spreadsheet that showed the district’s projected revenue dedicated to traditional schools will continue to grow, just not as fast. 
“Each year, there is going to be more money. Even with the charters, there’s just going to be some less more money," he said. "If some less more money is a fiscal reason to deny a charter school, then any board, any time could deny a charter and it’d have to hold up.”
Based on these this kind of reasoning, should we still doubt the outcome of this appeal that will be decided on October 23??

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