NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Many of Nashville's charter schools are out-performing
Metro's traditional schools, increasing their popularity amongst parents. But
there remains much confusion about what they are and how they operate. The
first ever charter school fair, organized by the Tennessee Charter Schools
Association, allowed families to meet with staff from 18 schools and clear up
some of the most common misconceptions.
LaRosa Collier is considering different options for Kaori, her soon to be five-year-old.
Collier's older child was successful in Metro's magnet schools, and she wants
Kaori to be in a similar environment.
"I feel like with a small environment, it will keep her on track and
help her keep going toward hopefully getting to college," Collier said.
That's why she's turning to charter schools. It's unfamiliar territory she
hopes the fair will help her better navigate.
"This is a learning experience for me."
By the 2018-2019 school year, Metro estimates charters will serve four
thousand more students.
"The way I look at it is the kid's got one chance to go to third grade,
one chance to go to seventh grade," Nashville Mayor Karl Dean stressed.
"And we need to speed up the efforts to improve schools. We need to keep
moving forward aggressively." Dean says charter schools are an important
part of the equation to help improve the entire district.
It's been two years since Camiqueka Fuller enrolled her daughter Shelby at
"She went in at fifth grade level, by the end of fifth grade she was
reading at eleventh grade level," Fuller said. "Her math started at
fifth grade level, by the end of fifth grade she was doing math at ninth grade
Shelby arrived at KIPP already excelling academically and continues to defy
the stereotype that charters are only for struggling students.
"So they pushed her while growing the other students," Fuller
explained. That was something as a parent, I needed to see. I wanted to
see," Fuller said.
It's a movement that continues to gain momentum and shows no signs of
Attending a charter school doesn't automatically mean students will get a
better education. Families are advised to visit each school and also look at
the achievement data.
Charter schools are open to students from across the district that apply and
are chosen through a lottery.