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Tennessean column: Charter school studies find good, bad results

by Jun. 22, 2012, 9:57 AM

Benbow
Dean Camilla Benbow (John Russell / Vanderbilt)

Camilla Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Human Development and Education at Peabody, writes in The Tennessean:

Last month, the Metro Nashville Public Schools board approved two new charter schools while turning down eight other charter school applications. Nashville charters educate approximately 3,000 local students.

For the uninitiated, charter schools are public schools that use public dollars and are run by operators who can be either for-profit or nonprofit. Tennessee allows only nonprofit charter operators, and governance must include parents. Charters have considerably more latitude to hire and fire teachers, choose curricula or set their own, often extended, schedules.

Charter schools are held accountable for student achievement using the same state tests as other public schools.

Policy-makers and politicians of both parties support charter schools. Charters also enjoy the support of prominent local business people and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Educational researchers, on the other hand, think the verdict is still out on the benefits of charter schools.

Read the full column at The Tennessean.

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