Today we are seeing an outrageous power grab play out in the Tennessee legislature. Legislation creating a process to circumvent the local school boards of Davidson and Shelby counties that allows charter school applicants to go directly to the state for charter approval was filed yesterday (Feb. 11) and is on the agenda for the House education subcommittee today. This last minute addition of language creating a direct state level path to charter authorization is an obvious attempt to rush this legislation through the committee before the public has any opportunity to review or speak out about this bill. Tennessee parents and taxpayers are being shut out of decisions affecting our schools and our children. Tennesseans know that once this can of worms is opened and public input is silenced, by limiting the authority of locally elected officials in Nashville and Memphis, those advocating this power grab will push to expand it until more and more Tennessee counties find local control of the decision to open schools has vanished. No county will be immune.
If you can, please attend the House Education Subcommittee meeting today at 3 pm in Legislative Plaza room 30. It would be helpful to have folks there to show that we do NOT want such a huge policy decision pushed through without public input. Also, whether you can attend today or not, please email all the members of House education subcommittee and telling them you do NOT want to see locally elected officials sidelined in favor of charter school decisions made by unelected, unaccountable persons outside your community. Here are their email addresses, for an easy cut and paste: