Image Credit: Google Earth
The Tennessee Conservative [By Adelia Kirchner] –
During a special meeting on Monday, Robertson County’s Board of Education voted unanimously to deny the charter school application submitted by American Classical Academy (ACA).
ACA is a branch of American Classical Education (ACE) working to establish public charter schools with rigorous classical education models rooted in Western and American heritage which encourage discussion of ideas and individual thought.
Students receiving a classical education often cover literature, mathematics, history, fine art, Latin, the sciences, and physical education, operating under the belief that a solid foundation in core subjects translates directly to success in more advanced fields of study.
Several institutions of higher education, like New St. Andrews College in Idaho and New College Franklin here in Tennessee, employ this type of classical education model as well.
After ACA’s charter school application was rejected by Clarksville, Jackson, and Murfreesboro school districts last July, the Academy filed applications in five more school districts across Jackson, Maury, Montgomery, Robertson, and Rutherford Counties.
Robertson County has now officially rejected the ACA’s application with their County Schools Director Chris Causey saying, “I can promise you that as the chair of the charter school review committee and the committee itself, there’s been quite a few hours spent on this application.”
According to the ACA’s application, their curriculum would support mastery of Tennessee academic standards, focusing on systematic phonics instruction, Singapore math, American history, civics, and government, the Socratic Method, arts, and athletics. Students would also begin studying Latin in sixth grade.
Reportedly, board members did not believe the application met standards for effective academic, financial, and operational plans required to establish such a charter school.
Some of the board’s concerns regarding the application were allegedly that the proposed curriculum is not currently aligned to Tennessee’s academic standards, the budget was not realistic, and they felt there was not an efficient process for identifying at-risk students, gifted students, and students with disabilities.
The board also felt that necessary pathways to college, along with Career and Technical Education opportunities were not provided in the ACA’s plans.
Although some of these concerns could be chalked up to unwarranted comparison of public charter school operations to traditional public-school operations, the board ultimately recommended non-authorization of the application.
Board members cited a lack of alignment between budget and operational plans, and the ACA’s academic plan, mission, and vision for the charter school.
The ACA has thirty days to submit an amended application for review, following which the board would have sixty days to rule on an amended application for the ACA charter school in Robertson.
Additionally, The Tennessee Conservative has been informed that ACA charter school applications were also recently shut down in Maury County and Montgomery County.
Rutherford County has approved ACA’s application with a vote of 5-2, providing their area with more opportunity for school choice, and after rejecting last year’s application, Jackson County will put out their final decision on the current one this week.
About the Author: Adelia Kirchner is a Tennessee resident and reporter for the Tennessee Conservative. Currently the host of Subtle Rampage Podcast, she has also worked for the South Dakota State Legislature and interned for Senator Bill Hagerty’s Office in Nashville, Tennessee. You can reach Adelia at email@example.com.