Second Metro charter school on verge of shutting down

Friday, December 9, 2011 at 5:28pm

A second privately led, publicly funded Metro charter school appears to be on the verge of closing.

Drexel Preparatory Academy, an elementary charter school with 240 students, opened only four months ago, but it would shut down by the end of this semester if the Metro Nashville Board of Education approves a recommendation by the district’s charter school office.

“They are asking the board to revoke Drexel’s charter based on numerous concerns that they have had over this first semester of operations,” MNPS spokeswoman Olivia Brown said.

The school board, which has the ability to authorize or revoke charters, closed its first charter school –– Nashville Global Academy –– in the summer of 2010. Ironically, Drexel Prep works out of the same Brick Church Pike school building where Global Academy operated.

The board, which reviewed the matter at a study session this week, is set to consider retracting Drexel’s charter at Tuesday’s board meeting.

According to Brown, Drexel has failed to provide sufficient services to English Language Learners and students with disabilities. She also said the school hired teachers who weren’t properly licensed.

Drexel’s handling of its lunch program for students has raised additional questions, a matter Brown said the state is reviewing.

Alan Coverstone, who heads Metro’s charter and magnet school office and is making the recommendation, could not be reached for comment.

Frank Stevenson, Drexel’s director of operations, called the recommendation for Drexel’s termination “ridiculously unfair.”

Stevenson said the school is already in the process of “remedying” its lack of teachers qualified to instruct English Language Learners.

“We haven’t had due process,” he said. “It came as a surprise. We’re very, very discouraged at this recommendation made by Alan Coverstone. It’s unprecedented for a charter school to be recommended [and then] revoked in the middle of the school year.”

When Drexel initially applied for a charter with Metro, the school board voted down its request. The state board of education, however, stepped in and recommended its approval contingent upon a few changes. The school board finally approved Drexel’s charter 13 months ago.

15 Comments on this post:

By: Budd43 on 12/10/11 at 9:48

Budd43 Just more of our tax money being wasted by our school board. The true cost of these programs and the benefit are hidden in the budget.

By: Nitzche on 12/11/11 at 4:49

who is running these places...the rainbow coalition?

By: Kosh III on 12/12/11 at 8:00

It's a private school being run as a business. So much for the notion that doing things in a business-like fashion will solve all our problems. Privatization is NOT the answer.
This will of course fall on the deaf ears of those on the right who worship money and business.

IMHO, to improve education: cut class sizes in half, cut all the bureaucratic oversight which stifles the ability of good teachers to do their jobs, increase parental participation; more discipline in the class room. Not selling the kids to private concerns only interested in profit.

By: pswindle on 12/12/11 at 9:39

When politics enter the business of telling the education stystem how to educate the kids, this is what happens. The GOP must know that public education is the only way to go to educate the masses.

By: frodo on 12/12/11 at 9:54

If that is true, pswindle, ("public education is the only way to go to educate the masses")then we have a sad state of affairs. I'm not ready to padlock the school based on the recommendation of an employee of a school board that was willing to overstep the law in the first place to deny the school license to operate. Metro Schools is no doubt steamed that Drexel did an end around to get state approval. Now it is payback time. At least, I'd say that is as good a reading of the situation as that coming from you who worship at the public trough.

By: dan_wakely on 12/12/11 at 11:32

It is obvious the school board never wanted this charter school in the first place. It is ludacrous to think that a startup charter would not have problems. In any normal business venture, warnings would be issued about violations and time given to correct them before closing the business. Between the lines, the teachers union does not want the competition between it's union members in the standard public school and charter schools. Their success would put into question the failure of the Nashville public school system. What's the drop out rate at now ??? 30%

By: Ask01 on 12/12/11 at 12:33

Kosh III, I believe you have hit upon the answer.

Unfortunately, no one will listen.

I particularly agree with the idea of decreased bureaucratic interference, and allowing teachers to actually teach. I wholeheartedly advocate increased parental participation, not necessarily being physically in the school, but definitely encouraging students at home and stressing the importance of education.

Students with disciplinary problems need to be identified, counselled, and in fairness, allowed an opportunity to change. Those who refuse need to be removed from the standard system, and forcibly enrolled in alternative schools where they can be taught whatever minimal skills they are able to master.

OK, that last might be a little overboard, but I do believe we need some method to identify those capable and willing to learn, then provide a stimulating and challanging educational experience to receive the most return for our educational dollar.

Dollars do not equal education. I read some time ago about school districts spending the greatest dollar amounts per pupil having the lowest scores and graduation rates. Success in education requires competent, dedicated teachers, students who desire to learn, and parents who value education and encourage students while supporting teachers. If we have these elements, as long as our schools have at least adequate supplies and current textbooks, the sky should be the limit.

That's just my opinion though.

By: wilcox on 12/12/11 at 1:25

RAF

Study what LEAD Academy does and do that.

By: Jughead on 12/12/11 at 2:21

There's no difference between this charter and 95% of Metro Screwls.

By: frodo on 12/12/11 at 3:55

Those who think "business," "profit" and well-paid "CEO" are curse words (or you use them as such), I assume you are the ones who go to Metro General whenever you need really critical healthcare...right? (It suddenly got quiet in the room.) And you don't waste your time and money on millionaire musicians and sports stars, right? Or get your food from anything resembling a business? Because they are evil and doing so just keeps certain people down. If that is you, then public schools are just right for your child. But don't enslave someone else's child to your preferences with Soviet-era slogans about the good of the masses. Stop imposing higher standards and barriers for alternative education than you do on public schools. In fact, mind your own children and your own business.

By: thereitis on 12/13/11 at 6:27

I would agree with some of these comments. First, LEAD is a great example. If you look at their value added scores it shows they are taking kids two or three grade levels behind and every calendar year moving them ahead almost two academic years. KIPP and a few others are doing as well.

I also agree that this seems to involve a relationship issue between the charter and a district that didn't want it in the first place. This school has been open just since August and by all accounts has the problems basically resolved. In other stories they were behind in Special Education and ELL but have since caught those services up and are now humming along in full compliance.

There has to be a better way to resolve this issue.

By: Kosh III on 12/13/11 at 7:40

I don't see "business" and "profit" as wrong, but overpaid and underperforming CEO's are definitely wrong.
A few years back American Airlines and the unions came to a deal where the employees(you know the folks who do the real work) took substantial cuts becaue management claimed that there was just no money at all, none, none, none. A few days after the agreement was made, the top execs got HUGE bonuses and raises.

Do you really think that the head of TVA deserved a raise last year of $532,000?? Especially since he presided over the poisoning of the Emory River with ash due to his agencies greed and mis-managment.

Why did the Execs of BP get away with the murder of 9 people when their mis-managment led to the Gulf disaster which has seriously damaged the entire global ecology for decades? I call that disaster a crime against humanity but the government and their corporate masters let them get off with a slap on the wrist.

By: Kosh III on 12/13/11 at 7:43

I've used Baptist, Skyline and General and General is by far superior. I'll never go to Baptist again.
And I NEVER support those semi-literate millionaire sports thugs and the only music I support is at the Schermerhorn on the rare occasions I can afford it. I don't even have an mp3 player. But I do have some 78s. :)

By: Rasputin72 on 12/13/11 at 8:13

I am amused at the way this country and this city are re-segragating. The wealthy have private schools. The very bright have magnet schools. The school potiticians and the crooks have created "charter schools" for those deemed as "good children" with special needs and absolutely not a farthing to their name. Then we have the regular public schools which serve as a holding pin for the future welfare bums and criminals.

By: Loner on 12/14/11 at 8:37

Another Charter School has failed? Sounds like somebody didn't do their homework. I blame the planners, not the teachers or the students....somebody made decisions based upon wishful thinking?