Haslam wants 40 charter schools through $40M public-private fund

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 at 5:51pm

Gov. Bill Haslam announced Tuesday the state is creating a $40 million public-private fund to help spur the creation of charter schools in Tennessee.

Haslam, appearing at Nashville’s LEAD Academy, said he would use $20 million in federal money — including cash Tennessee won last year in the Race to the Top competition — and $20 million in private donations to start the fund. The money will go to launch 40 new startup charter schools, he said.

“Creating an environment to grow and develop high-performing charter schools across the state is an important element to our overall education reform strategy,” Haslam said. “Charter schools offer new opportunities for learning, and if our goal is the best possible education for every student in Tennessee, more students should have the option of a charter school as a learning environment.”

In 2009, the state raised the number of charter schools that may operate in Tennessee from 50 to 90. Haslam is asking the legislature this year to lift the cap altogether. In addition, he wants to open charter schools to all children. The schools now are limited to students who receive federally subsidized lunches.

Another key element in the governor’s education reforms — making it harder for teachers to earn and keep tenure — cleared the House Education Committee Tuesday. It passed the Senate last week.

That measure lengthens probation for new teachers from three years to five years. To qualify for tenure, teachers must score in the top two of five evaluation categories in the two years immediately proceeding eligibility. If teachers then drop into the bottom two categories for two straight years, they lose tenure and return to probation.

7 Comments on this post:

By: pswindle on 3/15/11 at 4:04

Haslam just doesn't get it. Can you ake federal public funds for private use.

By: gdiafante on 3/16/11 at 6:49

I can see the headline in two years: Teacher shortage in TN...

Probably nationwide since the GOP has decided that more government intrusion into workers lives is warranted rather than attempting to curb unemployment.

By: girliegirl on 3/16/11 at 10:21

I'll take a teaching job. After just THREE years you get tenure here. WTH? LOL

By: girliegirl on 3/16/11 at 10:21

..and...summers off! :-)

By: gdiafante on 3/16/11 at 10:50

You wouldn't make a very smart teacher, girlie. Maybe you could teach pre-school or something...that's year round, it might conflict with your shopping.

By: Moonglow1 on 3/16/11 at 12:51

Moonglow1PublicIprivate is code for take taxr payor money & give it to corporate interests.

By: Loner on 3/17/11 at 5:33

Is the "private source" coming from the Christian separatists? Is Haslam trying to fuse church and state matters once again? Oy!

Public education in the former confederacy was doing just fine until the segregationists pulled up stakes and started their Judeo-Christian madrassas. That Caucasian exodus, in the 60's and 70's, doomed the public school system to slow death from neglect and apathy. That foolishly self-inflicted injury is now manifesting itself in the poor quality of leadership coming online in those guvmint-hatin' Southern states...those Godly folks are the substandard product of a flawed educational system and theocratic governance.