The nonprofit education advocacy group Stand for Children has released a letter today imploring the Tennessee State Board of Education to uphold a decision by the Nashville school board to deny the application of Great Hearts Academies.
The letter, penned by Stand for Children's Nashville community organizer Taylor Hummell, comes in advance of tomorrow's appeals hearing, at which the state board will hear from Great Hearts' supporters and detractors. Despite Stand for Children's support from the likes of the Walton dynasty, the group nonetheless criticizes Great Hearts for its inadequate transportation plan (and therefore, its dedication to aiding impoverished, non-Walton-esque students).
In case you've been living under a slab of granite: Great Hearts is an Arizona-based charter school chain whose gambit to open multiple franchises in Nashville met with repeated scrutiny and denials by the Nashville school board.
Read Hummell's letter after the jump.
Please join us as we Stand in support of doing what is best for our Nashville children in asking that our State Board of Education uphold MNPS' decision to deny Great Hearts Academies their charter application.
While Stand for Children does support high quality, meaningful charter schools, we feel that Great Hearts Academies is not a charter school that is right for our city and our children.
As an organization, we believe that children thrive when they are given access to a rigorous education in diverse learning communities. Great Hearts has been asked by both the district and our community members to provide transportation for ALL students and to include transportation and access for all children to their schools as a core component to their long-term school plan. Yet, they have repeatedly said that transportation is not a part of their school model.
Our district's Office of Innovation has been nationally recognized for their in-depth and thorough review process of charter applications. They have reviewed Great Hearts' charter proposal twice and have recommended to deny the application both times. To learn more about the district's decision, read their most recent blog. Great Hearts has appealed to the state and this Tuesday, July 17th, the State Board of Education will hear from both Great Hearts, the district and community members.
We ask that you join us as we support our Nashville children and ask that our State Board of Education uphold the district's decision.
The appeals hearings will be held in Metro Nashville Public Schools' Bransford Avenue headquarters at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday (popcorn optional).