During the debate, Nashville Rep. Bo Mitchell said charter school corporations are like carpetbaggers. On Twitter, charter school association president Matt Throckmorton took umbrage:
Then he calls us 'carpet baggers.' Moving your entire life to Tenn, 80hr weeks to help improve education excellence doesn't really fit.
So what happened last year with Great Hearts’ charter school can’t happen again. The only question will be who oversees the charter school: the state board or the school board? If the school board agrees, it can do the job. If not, the state board will do it.
During the House debate, we thought East Nashville Rep. Mike Stewart made the most cogent argument against this bill. He pointed out that, No. 1, it’s unfair to force Nashville to pay for charter schools that our elected school board opposes and, No. 2, the bill does nothing to help its purported beneficiaries—the students of failing schools.
Excerpts from Stewart’s remarks:
If you want to experiment with Nashville schools, then why don’t you pay for the experiment? What Nashville shouldn’t become is a piggy bank that the state Department of Education uses to fund whatever sort of new education scheme happens to be brought forward by the newest, latest school reform. If people want to roll in and tell our school board what to do, let them pay for these new unproven experiments that they find so captivating. …
We’ve been targeted for this expensive bill. Why have we been targeted? Because we have a school or two on the priority schools list. But this bill doesn’t address these priority schools. It says if there’s a priority school in south Nashville, the state board can approve a charter school in Belle Meade. Putting a charter school in Belle Meade may be a good decision or a bad decision, but it is a decision that our local school board should make.