Two more charter schools coming to Metro

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 2:17am

Two more charter schools have been cleared to open in Nashville, bringing the total number of publicly funded but privately run schools in Davidson County to nine.

The Metro Nashville Board of Education unanimously approved charters last night for East End Preparatory School and STEM Preparatory Academy, while denying six other applicants who sought to open new charter schools.

Both are slated to open during the fall of 2011. The six that were denied have 15 days to make changes and appeal the board’s decision.

East End Preparatory, a school for K-5th grade students, is an offshoot of the Martha O’Bryan Center, a faith-based family resource center near East Nashville’s James Cayce Homes. The new prep school will initially operate out of the Martha O’Bryan facility before moving into a new building as it expands.

“We are very focused on family engagement,” said Marsha Edwards, CEO of the Martha O’Bryan Center. “From a community piece, that engagement will look different than maybe it has in other schools or efforts. We looked to a lot of schools across the country ... and saw that piece, and what it contributes to children’s success.”

STEM Preparatory Academy, a middle school, will be STEM-based in its educational approach, which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The school will target students from the Glencliff and McGavock high school clusters.

According to school founder Kristen McGraner, STEM Preparatory Academy will the state’s first STEM public school.

Currently, Metro Nashville Public Schools has five operating charter schools, with New Vision Academy opening this fall. In addition, the board recently agreed to partner Cameron Middle School, a public school, with Nashville’s LEAD Academy, a charter school.

While charter schools rely on public funds, all have boards of directors that typically raise private dollars as well.

With Tuesday night’s approval, the board has now cleared four charters in the year following last spring’s new state law that increased the total number of charter schools allowed in Davidson County to 20.

Under the same law, any student who qualifies for the federal free and reduced lunch program can attend a charter school. 

8 Comments on this post:

By: richgoose on 5/26/10 at 12:28

This is a very subtle way of isolating the underclass,underachieving,undermoral into Glencliff,Maplewood,Stratford,Whites Creek. If you can get a few kids into any kind of school environment that promotes learning and a value system you can use the other schools as reform schools.

By: vechester on 5/26/10 at 8:11

Even if we save just one child from the sub-standard environment of these schools it is worth it.

By: TakePrideInNash on 5/26/10 at 8:30

Please explain your position richgoose.

By: richgoose on 5/26/10 at 8:54

TAKEPRIDE.......The people with the financial means have removed their children from the public school system. The public school system has rewarded the very talented remaining students with magnet schools.

Now the public school system in Davidson County is clogged with children who have no desire to learn or the intelligence to know that is a mistake. However within that system are some children who do have a chance at life but are buttressed by the worthless in the system. With these charter schools funded by the taxpayer you can remove some of these children who want to learn from the underclass school environment they are in.

Once these kids are removed and the school system knows what the residual effect is you will have high schools like Glencliff,Stratford,Maplewood and perhaps others where you can apply discipline into the curriculum rather than trying to teach these kids what they do not want to learn.

You could if you wanted identify the future peneteniary rolls.

By: NashMom on 5/26/10 at 9:55

While richgoose's opinion is shared by some, many believe that the challenges facing public education are significantly more than simply addressing behavioral problems. Charter schools, like other private schools, have the ability to mandate parent engagement and support, have the flexibility to choose their own textbooks, curriculum, etc. and essentially can choose which children they serve as long as they come from a school that meets the guidelines.

Even with this flexibility, numerous studies have shown that Charter schools' are still not superior to public schools. Here is one recent example from Stanford; So, even with all of the extra money they raise, smaller classes, etc. educational gains in children from low-icome homes is a HUGE challenge with no simple fix.

It is unfortunate that so many children come to Kindergarten ill equipped to compete with their peers long term. This is not the fault of public education, but society as a whole. Children come to school hungry, tired and unprepared. Bottom line, if their parents can't or won't step up to support their children then we as a community need to if we ever want to break the cycle. Go volunteer to be a tutor, a mentor or donate to your local public school even if you DON'T have children currently attending!

By: richgoose on 5/26/10 at 10:11

NASHMOM........your comments fortify my comments about charter schools. Before your comments can take effect you have to remove the children from the environment that you mention. I certainly do not disagree with your slant on the charter school.

Where I differ from you is that experience tells me that there are children in the public school system (not all) that make me remember the old adage that "YOU CANNOT MAKE CHICKEN SALAD OUT OF CHICKEN MANURE."

By: TakePrideInNash on 5/26/10 at 11:34

Thank you richgoose but you obviously have not tried my wife's chicken salad.

By: richgoose on 5/26/10 at 11:47

TAKEPRIDE.......I appreciate the offer but the inference to your wife's chicken salad and chicken manure is more than my appetite appeasers can handle.