How Do Nashville School Board Candidates Differ? Charter Schools

The state authorizer, which has yet to be approved by the Tennessee Senate, would allow the State Board of Education to open previously rejected charter schools in a handful of districts, largely the state's urban school systems. Credit: Merrimack College via Flickr

There are no longer restrictions on who can attend a charter school in Tennessee, which was previously limited to students from low income families or zoned for failing schools.  Credit: Merrimack College via Flickr

Nashville’s school board races are shaping up – as expected – around the issue of charter schools. The first public forum was held Monday night in the race for an open seat representing the schools that feed into Hillsboro High in Green Hills.

Business woman Becky Sharpe has a kid at Hillsboro and says every child should be able to get a great education where they’re zoned.

“To answer the question, no I do not think we need additional charter schools at this point,” Sharpe said to a crowd gathered in the gym of J.T. Moore Middle School.

But candidate Mary Pierce, who has children enrolled in a private school and a charter, says every parent should have as many choices as possible.

“Charter schools are public schools and they are part of the MNPS system,” she said. “So I believe that charter schools are just a tool, and there’s no reason to limit them because many are performing very well.”

Hear Sharpe and then Pierce answer whether they believe Nashville needs more charter schools.

The next forum is scheduled for Thursday at Two Rivers Middle in the McGavock High School cluster, where board member Anna Shepherd has drawn two challengers.

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