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TN Gives Thumbs Up To Charter Schools

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 By Dan Gordon, Public News Service - TN, Contact
June 22, 2009

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee could see a dramatic increase in charter schools under new state legislation. As many as 90 new charter schools could be opening.

Jerry Winters with the Tennessee Education Association (TEA) says his organization is on board.

"The TEA supported the final version of the charter school bill because even though it does expand eligibility and the numbers of schools, it comes with a great deal more accountability for these schools."

The bill requires schools to track students' progress, and it allows charter school funding to be used for other educational efforts, like magnet schools.

Opponents say students moving to charter schools will result in less money for regular public schools. Winters, too, says the TEA has concerns that the new schools could drain resources from traditional public schools.

"We need to move very slowly in expanding charter schools, because it could have an enormous impact and could even lead to tax increases."

Charter schools are designed for students attending schools with poor performance ratings or students who are failing in a standard public school.

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