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charter schools

TN Photo Services

Many of Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee's initiatives are making their way through the state legislature, and some are faring better than others.

In his first year, the governor’s proposals range from increasing vocational education to faith-based initiatives to implementing a pilot program for school vouchers.

TN Photo Services

Tennessee lawmakers advanced a measure Wednesday that would give the state more of a role in approving charter schools, after scaling it back to preserve a role for local schools to give input.

The proposal — part of Gov. Bill Lee's education package — has been getting pushback from both parties.

But the issue isn't how applications to open a charter school are reviewed. It's who gets to do so. 

Sergio Martínez-Beltrán / WPLN

Gov. Bill Lee’s proposal to overhaul how charter schools are approved in Tennessee now includes the creation of a new, nine-person commission that would let applicants skip local school districts entirely.

Shalina Chatlani/WPLN

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee  says he wants to make it easier for the state to establish charter schools.

He announced the plan Monday night during his State of the State address. It would allow a sponsor to go directly to a state-run authorizer for approval, instead of a local school district. 

Courtesy Metro Nashville Public Schools (File)


Metro education officials are reminding one of the largest charter schools in Nashville it can’t make college acceptance a high school graduation requirement.

Larry McCormack / The Tennessean

The Martha O'Bryan Center is known throughout Nashville for its work with low-income residents and has been embedded in East Nashville's James Cayce homes for decades. As Cayce is being overhauled into mixed-income housing, the nonprofit is about to move one of its charter schools into that complex. But the new school building has received pushback from some city officials.

Larry McCormack / The Tennessean

Editor's note: This story was reported in partnership with Nate Rau of the Tennessean.

The Martha O’Bryan Center surprised the East Nashville public housing project that it has served for 70 years in June 2017, when it decided to shutter its longtime preschool and day care program for low-income children.

Emily Siner / WPLN

Metro Nashville Public Schools administrators are recommending that the board deny the only charter school application that has come in this year.

In a report sent to board members this week, district officials criticized the proposal from the nonprofit ReThink Forward, saying it wasn't specific enough and the financial model was incomplete.


The Metro Housing Board moved ahead on a plan to pay for the construction of a $25-million-dollar East Nashville charter school. It's an unprecedented financing move that opens up the agency to risk by acting as both the developer and the lender for the project.

Courtney Davidson / KIPP Nashville

Nashville's charter schools are highlighting their performance related to the rest of the district. Charters represent a vast majority of the city's schools that achieved top growth scores for student improvement.