Education Funding

Charter Operators Swoop In for Tenn. Race to Top

By Sean Cavanagh — June 11, 2012 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Charter schools are poised for a major expansion in Tennessee, with some of the sector’s biggest and best-known operators swooping into the state as part of an effort to turn around struggling schools.

State officials last week said they had approved seven charter management organizations to open new schools. In the next seven years, they will open 41 schools serving an estimated 15,000 students in the Achievement School District, or ASD, a state program aimed at improving low-achieving schools, which was created through Tennessee’s Race to the Top plan. The state was awarded $500 million in the grant competition.

The organizations approved to operate new charters in either Nashville or Memphis include the Knowledge Is Power Program or KIPP, Rocketship Education, Aspire Public Schools, LEAD Public Schools, Capstone Education Group, and Gestalt Community Schools. The charter groups’ work will begin with their opening nine new campuses in Memphis and Nashville during the 2013-14 school year, with expansion to follow.

Applicants to open schools through the ASD went through a screening process that included interviews with members of the community and other reviews, state officials said. The improvement district is to focus on schools in the bottom 5 percent of performance.

“We have some of the best schools in the country competing to serve our students in Tennessee,” Malika Anderson, the chief portfolio officer for the ASD, said in a statement.

Some of the operators that were approved to open new charters already have a presence in Tennessee.

KIPP, for instance, runs charter schools in Nashville and Memphis, with plans for more in the works before the state’s announcement. (Nationwide, KIPP is in 20 states and the District of Columbia and serves 33,000 students.)

Other operators are new to the region. Aspire Public Schools, which serves 12,000 students at 34 schools, has been based solely in California so far. Rocketship Education, also based in California, recently announced plans to expand to the Milwaukee school system. It also recently had charters approved in Indianapolis and New Orleans, a Rocketship spokeswoman said.

A version of this article appeared in the June 13, 2012 edition of Education Week as Charters Get Boost in Tenn. Race to Top


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Mathematics Webinar
Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math: Providing Tutoring at Scale
Most states as well as the federal government have landed on tutoring as a key strategy to address unfinished learning from the pandemic. Take math, for example. Studies have found that students lost more ground
Content provided by Yup Math Tutoring
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Here's How Schools Can Use Federal COVID Aid to Solve Bus Driver and Other Transportation Woes
The Education Department outlines districts' options for using relief money to solve nationwide problems in getting kids to and from school.
2 min read
Students catch their bus near Ambridge Area Senior High School on the first day of Pennsylvania's mask mandate for K-12 schools and day care centers on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021, in Ambridge, Pa.
Students catch their bus near Ambridge Area Senior High School in Ambridge, Pa., earlier this year on the first day of Pennsylvania's mask mandate for K-12 schools.
Andrew Rush/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP
Education Funding High Schoolers to Decide How to Spend $1.5 Million in COVID Funding
State officials called Connecticut's new Voice4Change campaign “a first-in-the-nation statewide student civic engagement initiative.”
1 min read
Image is an illustration of a school receiving financial aid.
Collage by Laura Baker/Education Week (Images: E+, Nuthawut Somsuk/iStock/Getty)
Education Funding North Carolina Must Spend $1.75B to Narrow Education Gap, Judge Orders
The judge's order has angered GOP lawmakers and will likely set up a constitutional showdown between the three state government branches.
4 min read
Image of money.
Education Funding Opinion Ed. Finance Guru Marguerite Roza on How Schools Can Best Spend COVID Aid
Marguerite Roza shares ways school leaders can most effectively use federal COVID aid to position students and schools for future success.
7 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty