The legislation singles out counties with a population of at least 600,000, subtracting all other towns and cities besides Nashville and Memphis. With 635,000 people in Davidson County and 935,000 people in Shelby County, the two school districts clearly qualify. Other big counties like Knox and Hamilton fall shot on the population benchmark by more than 150,000 people.
The measure also stipulates that charters can use the Board of Education as an authorizer only after the local school district has twice been asked by the BOE to reverse decisions to reject applications. Both Memphis and the MNPS school system have been asked to reverse multiple charter applications.
To be fair to state lawmakers, applying the bill to "counties that have pissed us off" would have been a bit on the nose. For more, read Zelinski's piece from this week's issue of The City Paper, where she reports that the state Board of Education is actually opposed to the idea. Former school board candidate and Scene contributor John Haubenreich also offers a breakdown and some analysis at Tennessee Education Report.