This case study tells how Tennessee evolved from being one of the most inhospitable states for charter schools to one of the most favorable for charter expansion and the lessons from that evolution. The creation of a $30 million private-public charter school fund provided critical money to launch new charter schools and networks, but the Tennessee story is also about how political leaders, philanthropists, advocacy organizations and passionate educators created conditions that facilitated the rapid and strategic expansion of high-quality schools for underserved students and families.
The case study profiles pre-existing conditions that created a favorable environment for such rapid expansion to occur, including:1) political champions for high-quality charter schools, 2) local philanthropic support for charter school growth, and 3) and existing supply of high-performing charter schools.
The case study also describes how the Tennessee Charter School Fund, a public-private non-profit partnership, fueled a multi-faceted strategy focused on:
- Developing new charter school operators;
- Scaling up local, high-quality single-site schools into multi-school networks;
- Recruiting high-quality, national operators to expand in Tennessee; and
- Authorizing charter schools to turn around low-performing “Priority” schools through the TN Achievement School District (ASD)