Dean Defends Position on Charter Schools

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Mayor Karl Dean has written an oped in The Tennessean to respond to critics of his support for the free-market education policies of the legislature's Republican supermajority.

There has been much talk in recent weeks about politics, power and control as it relates to charter schools and the role they play in our education system. We can’t afford to let politics or party lines stand in the way of giving our kids a chance to succeed in life. This isn’t a Democratic or Republican issue. This is an issue that concerns the future of our children and our city. The only power that matters is the power every parent should have to choose a high-quality school for their child.

The way he frames the question, it's hard to argue with the mayor. It's Karl Dean—champion of children and school reform crusader—vs. head-in-the-sand politicos. But Dean neglects to mention a couple of things: (1) the Metro school board has moved fairly quickly—albeit carefully—to authorize more charter schools in this city and (2) this is all about the board's denial of Great Hearts' application, and the public's understandable resistance to paying for de facto private schools for well-to-do families in West Nashville. All charter schools aren't created equal, and we elect the school board—not Republicans in the legislature—to sort it out.

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