Emails reveal how state officials plotted ways around Metro on Great Hearts' decision

Friday, September 7, 2012 at 10:22pm

Eight minutes into the Metro school board’s May 29 meeting came an email exchange between top state education officials. The board had just acted swiftly to reject Great Hearts Academies’ charter school proposal for Nashville — and Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman and his upper brass were keeping tabs from afar.

“Apparently being denied as I write this,” Stephen Smith, the department’s assistant commissioner of Policy and Legislation, fired off in an email.

Huffman, the recipient, replied within the minute. He assumed this would happen: “Bad move by MNPS. School has a strong track record of success and parents want it here.”

Prompting the exchange was the Metro board’s first denial of Phoenix-based Great Hearts — an action that would set off a contentious battle this summer between the Metro board and the charter organization’s supporters over the group’s commitment to racial diversity. Events would eventually evolve into a Metro-versus-state clash. Yet even before Great Hearts responded to Metro’s rejections by appealing to the Tennessee State Board of Education, emails show that behind the scenes, Huffman was already supporting the charter group’s plans for a West Nashville school.

In fact, on the night of the first Metro rejection, Huffman asked whether it would be possible for Great Hearts to expedite its state board appeal, moving it up to June instead of waiting until the board’s July meeting. “Hey shd [sic] someone make sure GH [Great Hearts] is appealing quickly to state bd?” Huffman wrote to Chris Barbic, superintendent of the state’s Achievement School District, which oversees the state’s lowest-performing schools. “They have a June 22 meeting ...”

In the Great Hearts case, Huffman wasn’t merely an observer. He contemplated how the charter group should best proceed with its appeal. He wondered why the local chamber of commerce wasn’t involved. He coordinated with Great Hearts officials. He watched in dismay over the course of the summer as the Metro school board on multiple occasions balked at approving Great Hearts. And after the board denied Great Hearts and KIPP Nashville (a separate charter that it later approved) on May 29, Huffman relayed disappointment to Gov. Bill Haslam the next morning.

“Not sure how each school will handle the appeals process, but I find it somewhat remarkable that Metro rejected two of the very best charters in the country in one meeting,” Huffman wrote to Haslam and the governor’s top aides, Mark Cate and Will Cromer. “Bad for kids and for the community.”

Huffman, the former Teach for America executive whom Haslam hired as his education commissioner in 2011, will certainly be watching when the Metro school board convenes Tuesday and reconsiders Great Hearts’ charter application one month after it refused to comply with a state order to approve it. In July, following Great Hearts’ appeal, the state board of education had remanded the application back to the Metro board for authorization in August, but an unsatisfied board nonetheless deferred the matter to this week.

By failing to grant Great Hearts the final go-ahead for its planned 2014 opening, Metro is operating in violation of state law, the education commissioner has asserted.

Emails The City Paper reviewed through the Tennessee Public Records Act, however, show the state’s discontent with the Metro school board on the Great Hearts matter began well before the local board defied any order. The Tennessee Department of Education provided The City Paper public emails from only the previous 90 days despite the paper’s request for a more expansive time frame. Education officials maintained the state’s email system “deletes” emails after a three-month period.    

Huffman, who serves at the pleasure of the governor, has never publicly announced support for Great Hearts, yet he was clearly in its corner. On the Sunday before the school board would reject Great Hearts for a second time on June 26, Huffman considered but ultimately rejected having Haslam himself call Great Hearts officials to encourage the charter group to move forward.

“Puts the gov [sic] in an awkward position,” Huffman wrote to Barbic. “They might still say no, and the gov’s office wasn’t thrilled with my previously intervening in local issues.

“The thing is, he wd [sic] do it if I asked,” Huffman continued. “But puts him in a funny spot.”

By this point, Huffman had already facilitated a July 26 meeting to discuss Great Hearts’ next move, a gathering that took place just hours before Great Hearts’ revised application would go before the Metro board for second consideration. The meeting site: the office of Mayor Karl Dean, also a Great Hearts backer. In attendance, among others, were Huffman, Dean, Barbic, Deputy Mayor Greg Hinote, Great Hearts officials Dan Scoggin and Peter Bezanson, and Bill DeLoache, a wealthy Nashville investor and one of the state’s leading charter school proponents.

DeLoache recounted details of the meeting in an email to Kevin Hall, president and CEO of the Charter Growth Fund. The email, copied to Huffman and Dean, suggests Huffman talked to Great Hearts officials about appealing to the state even before the charter organization had publicly declared its intention to do so. In fact, the group’s application was still navigating its way through the local board’s authorization process. 

“Most of the discussion was around the idea of GH [Great Hearts] appealing to the state and then opening school #1 in 2014 with 5 charters already in hand (whether or not one charter is approved tonight),” DeLoache wrote to Hall, describing the June 26 morning meeting.

Emails show DeLoache, long known as an unofficial education adviser to Dean, served as a resource for Huffman, as well. After the Metro board denied Great Hearts in May, DeLoache told Huffman he hoped its rejection might “provide an opportunity to highlight to the Governor” the need to push for a statewide charter school authorizer during the 2013 legislative session. (A statewide charter authorizer would effectively supersede and therefore negate authority of local charter authorizers such as Metro.)

“I’ve already pestered him on this subject in the past, and I don’t know his current thinking,” DeLoache wrote to Huffman.

Huffman responded: “I don’t know where he would come out but agree that it is worth discussing.”

In a subsequent email, Huffman said approving a statewide authorizer in 2013 would be a “long climb in the [state] legislature.”

DeLoache also alerted Huffman to statements that recently elected Metro school board member Will Pinkston made on the campaign trail. DeLoache referred to Pinkston, a former Gov. Phil Bredesen aide, as a “seasoned political operative destined to be very influential.” In the email, he attached a video clip of Pinkston speaking at a candidates’ forum in which Pinkston argued Nashville was moving “too far, too fast” on the charter school front.

Huffman, in a return email, called the video clip “a little disheartening.”

After the school board on June 26 rejected Great Hearts for a second time, Scoggin, Great Hearts’ CEO, communicated via email with Huffman to schedule a time to discuss the group’s upcoming appeal. Great Hearts would formally make its appeal with the state on July 5.

On the morning of July 27, the state board of education finally had its say. Huffman sat next to its nine members as they deliberated the fate of Great Hearts. After 18 minutes of discussion, they unanimously voted to overturn Metro’s Great Hearts decision, remanding the application back to the local level.

“Great Hearts just approved unanimously,” Huffman wrote at 10:55 a.m. to Deputy Education Commissioner Kathleen Airhart, shortly after the decision came down.

Airhart responded: “Glad to hear. I found us some more charter possibilities. Will connect them to Chris [Barbic].”

Of course, the Great Hearts battle was far from over. In an unprecedented move, the Metro board on Aug. 14 bucked the state’s wishes, voting to defer — not approve — Great Hearts. Predictably, the move angered state officials.

Alexia Poe, Haslam’s director of communications, emailed Huffman a potential response from the state that night: “It isn’t acceptable for metro to disregard state law and we will begin discussions with them this week to work toward an acceptable solution. ...”

Huffman responded, “I was watching the transcript live. They knew they were violating the law, and did it anyway. So I think we have to say something strong.”

The next morning, the Department of Education would release a statement saying Metro’s school system was operating in violation of state law. The state would take “appropriate action” to ensure the law is followed, the statement read.

That day, state board of education attorney Dannelle Walker told The City Paper and other media that the state could opt to withhold funds in response to Metro’s defiance on Great Hearts.

Huffman, however, advised his department’s communications director to simply refer reporters to the official statement. “I don’t want us quoted talking abt [sic] money,” he wrote.

Also on the morning of Aug. 15, Huffman summoned Metro Director of Schools Jesse Register and the district’s Alan Coverstone for a 2 p.m. meeting to “discuss the next steps on Great Hearts.” He advised Register to bring an attorney. The superintendent obliged.

In deferring Great Hearts, Metro board members argued that the charter school still hadn’t showed how it would address three state-mandated contingencies. One of these was the requirement that Great Hearts adopt a diversity plan that mirrors Metro’s diversity plan for choice schools. Great Hearts backers have argued that its plan to ensure diversity, in fact, goes above and beyond Metro’s commitment. Meanwhile, some have questioned whether Metro actually has such a plan.

Three days after Metro’s vote to defer Great Hearts, Huffman emailed Register and asked to see Metro’s diversity plan for choice schools. In an open records request the previous day, Aug. 16, Great Hearts’ attorney Ross Booher sought the same document.

GreatHeartsEmails.pdf4.01 MB

48 Comments on this post:

By: Ask01 on 9/8/12 at 5:37

Open and honest government!

Isn't it wonderful?

By: mm80 on 9/8/12 at 7:06

Joey Garrison KNOWS with 100% certaintly that the "MNPS Diversity Plan" DID NOT EXIST until Mid-August. Which means the entire basis for Great Hearts denial was and is null and void.
I cannot wait to see the same open records of emails and texts from within MNPS. Of course, I am sure they will take their sweet time getting those together.

I'll quote Kevin Huffman, since we have had such an intimate view into his world:
"They (Great Hearts) have a track record of success and parents want it here." AMEN. What else matters?

By: mm80 on 9/8/12 at 8:25

also...this from Huffman is telling of the entire situation:

"Not sure how each school will handle the appeals process, but I find it somewhat remarkable that Metro rejected two of the very best charters in the country in one meeting. Bad for kids and for the community." I find that remarkable too. And stupid.

1. Why should we give autonomy to a local board who denies the top charter schools in the country from educating our children???
2. The state clearly sees the benefits that Great Hearts could bring to Nashville. Of course they should get involved and meddle in local affairs. After all, if you look at the ACTUAL EVIDENCE, Great Hearts should have never been denied in the first place. The charter review committee spent countless hours reviewing the application, recommended its approval, and then Alan Coverstone made an arbitrary decision to shut it down.
No matter how you look at it, MNPS is afraid of our kids achieving. They want to close the achievement gap around state bench marks, and that is going to be harder to do if the bar is raised far above that benchmark. They are afraid that then all children will be expected to be ABOVE the benchmark.
Imagine that. It is shameful and wrong to prevent this type of school from opening just because Coverstone/Register/Board doesn't want to lose any power.

By: boyzmom on 9/8/12 at 9:00

As a former Metro teacher, I find mm80's comment "MNPS is afraid of our kids achieving" to be breathtakingly stupid. Perhaps this should be viewed for what it is: a power struggle between local and state government. Kevin Huffman is vastly unqualified to be education commissioner. He taught school a whole two years as a TFA fellow. How does that qualify him for the job? His roots in the charter movement are deep. His actions are inappropriate as a public servant. IMO, he was Haslam's most ill-advised appointee.
I believe in local control of public schools as mandated by state law. I do not understand why Huffman is so involved in this unless he has ulterior motives. He is a fox in the henhouse. I hope the new MNPS school board will stand up to the state school board's and Huffman's attempts to bully them into giving up their rightful duty and power to make decisions about local matters.

By: Involved Parent on 9/8/12 at 9:25

MM80 : Why on earth would Metro be afraid of kids achieving? It has nothing to do with fear of losing power by our school board. Good grief.
We all want higher achievement by the kids. We just disagree on the best method to get there. And guess what? There is not ONE best way. Our metro kids come from different backgrounds, socio economic levels and cultures. What works for one kid won't work for another. Charter schools are not a magic bullet.
Please watch " Waiting for Superman" if you want to understand some inherent problems in our American educational system.

By: mm80 on 9/8/12 at 9:34

I have seen Waiting for Superman, thank you.

Ok, Involved Parent and Boyzmom, tell us:
Why DID mnps deny the great hearts application? It is one of the best charter school operators in the country. Of course there is not a one size fits all solution for education reform, but why in the world can't great hearts be one part of the solution?

Please understand that more than 1000 parents signed the petition to bring great hearts to nashville. Parents want and need this option.

You both better hope that when YOU want to make a positive change for your kids, that mnps agrees with you. otherwise, you will feel like thousands of us our voices aren't heard.

By: CitizensWin on 9/8/12 at 10:51

In other words the TN board of education is bought and paid for by crummy hearts in Arizona. They don't listen to the will of the people in Nashville, they listen to a private corporation from Arizona.

This thing is being run like a mob racket with plants sitting on the TN board of education. Why? Because twenty-seven million dollars is on the table and once that contract is signed there will be more fleecing and no accountability.

So instead of MNPS creating a Hume Fogg success for West NashvIle 'right inside of our very own P U B L I C school system where voters E L E C T the board of MNPS, we are looking at an unpopular out of state private corporation 'charter' being crammed down the throats of voters by political hacks and appointed muckidy-mucks who had already made up their mind.

The fix is in to break the public school system and steal the money.

FOLLOW THE MONEY. Because this not about educating children, this is about privatizing public education. We are astonished.

By: CitizensWin on 9/8/12 at 11:32

WARNING: This report from Stanford University will take longer to read than the 8 minutes that the TN Board of education took to threaten the Metro Nashville Public School Board with de-funding.

'Charter schools were designed to be the next great experiment in public education, but new research by Stanford University shows that, for the vast majority of students, that experiment is failing.'
'To Beat a Bully, You Have To Stand Up to a Bully.

By: mm80 on 9/8/12 at 11:36

Are you kidding? Surely you aren't suggesting that charter schools are not held accountable? While Alan Coverstone is certainly not on the top of my "favorites" list, I can assure you there is PLENTY of accountability in charter schools.

And about Hume Fogg success...what is stopping MNPS from implementing your plan? They work TOO SLOWLY. There are kids in the system NOW that need more. NOW.

And don't kid yourself. Read the governing policies of the school board on their website. They are virtually a bunch of seat fillers who check in on the director once a year. See for yourself.

The director of schools is not elected, and he makes all of the decisions about education. And, for the record, makes over $250,000 per year. Talk about follow the money.

By: CitizensWin on 9/8/12 at 11:52

@ mm80


You just ignored the report in less time than the TN Board threatened MNPS

By: CitizensWin on 9/8/12 at 12:32
By: mm80 on 9/8/12 at 12:36

I rest my case.

By: mm80 on 9/8/12 at 11:56

Ummm...I'm sorry that I posted something before your other post popped up. Get a grip. I was clearly responding to your first post.

Just because you read one report that proves YOUR point doesn't mean that you are right.

Congratulations to you, for having avoided the Glendale diversity issue due to this article. Close one.

By: CitizensWin on 9/8/12 at 2:18

If Great Hearts cannot take care of business in Arizona, why would anyone in Tennessee think that it could take care of business here.
"Daniel Scoggin, CEO for Phoenix-based Great Hearts, said there isn't enough money to help low-income students, who tend to struggle in school." "It's dire. We really need more money to make this thing (school) sustainable," Scoggin said. isn't enough money to help low-income students, who tend to struggle in school.
D Scoggin

Now is that because 'Great Hearts' pay school teachers too much?
Very Doubtful @ Salaries betweeen 34,000-34,000

Now, wouldn't it be great if an investigative reported called Dan Scoggin and asked what he made in salary before MNPS folds and forwards 24 million to Arizona that can be used to prop up other schools in other states?

Please Contact:
Daniel Scoggin
Great Hearts Academies

And throw down 5 buck a month for his history

By: mm80 on 9/8/12 at 4:28

Where in the hell are you getting these figures? Who is forwarding 24 million dollars to Arizona? The only money that will be given to Great Hearts will be a little over $11,000 per student, which is the same amount given to all metro schools per student, and it is already outlined in the financial portion of the application the way that money will be allotted.

Are you serious? That is not how it works.

By the way, that quote from Dan Scoggin is taken COMPLETELY out of context. He is saying that IN ARIZONA there isn't enough funding...from local, state and federal sources, because in AZ charter schools receive less per student (nearly $1700 less) than zoned schools. Great Hearts also showed a true commitment to the success of Teleos Prep by funding an additional $300,000 in resources to help keep the school open to help students.

How do you sleep at night? That was a noble thing to do. Did you read the article? Stop villainizing Great Hearts. If you are opposed to charter schools in general, then just say that. But don't try and insinuate that their CEO is some backwards money hungry thief. It's deplorable.

By: CitizensWin on 9/8/12 at 6:46

Scoggin's not taken out of context. He couldn't run a one car parade without a government contract: PLUS TUITION!

"I faithfully write my $300 (donation) check each month and sometimes I feel guilty it's only $300."

So the guy comes in takes the public's money and asks for donations for each 'semester'

Great Hearts is a Scam.

By: govskeptic on 9/8/12 at 7:09

I fail to see why TCP continues to harp on this issue. The State didn't have
to find some conspiratory way to over turn the Board of Education of this
County. They have the authority and exercised it. Instead of all these
swaps, probably simple because it is a Republican Administration,
why not go ahead and shoot yourself in the foot and give us your
unwashed feelings.

By: CrimesDown on 9/9/12 at 1:53

Not looking at the politics of this situation I have studied Great Hearts. They seem to be a great schooling organization. I don't know this and I'm just asking the question. Could it be possible that MNPS is affraid they might be embarrassed by the results Great Hearts would achieve? Just looking for opinions.

By: pswindle on 9/9/12 at 3:34

Why do you think that Charter Schools are here? Money, Money, and Money. If they fail they just take their money and laugh all the way out of town. How many Charter Schools have succeeded? Not many or many one.

By: thereitis on 9/9/12 at 9:38

I'm sad to see such negative comments about Great Hearts. The single purpose people like Dan Scoggins aggressively expand their working model is the same reason they started their first one: making a difference for kids.

Some people are simply driven by the challenge. Why is Randy Dowell expanding KIPP? Or, Jeremy Kane LEAD? They are doing great work and want to do more of it. I don't know but hear Mr Scoggins has offended people with his strong personality. Who cares. He only gets to have a strong personality is by producing incredible academic results. And while the adults are annoyed thousands of kids are going to college prepared to thrive. That is what matters here.

My guess is though he hasn't offended anyone by his personality. Metro is looking for any reason to justify denying Great Hearts. Beating him up is just par for the course. Mr Scoggins, don't give up on us. We'll get it sorted out!

By: Loner on 9/10/12 at 5:09

I just posted this over on the related, Up For debate comment board:

By: Loner on 9/10/12 at 6:05

Good morning, Nashville.

Clearly, this is a case of the state government shoving a pet project down the throats of a community that is not buying the lies, the exaggerations and the fear mongering.

This Huffman character is Bill Haslam's toadie....Haslam & Huffman....a couple of saintly choir boys....on a mission from God.

At first, I suspected that Huffman was on the take with Teach for America, Great Hearts parent organization. He may be on the take, but there is more to this than simple sleaze....this is union busting on a grand scale.

Here is a snippet from Wikipedia about Teach for America:

"According to a 2009 USA Today article, Teach For America has been criticized by opponents who claim that the program replaces experienced teachers with brand-new employees brought in at beginners' salary levels. John Wilson, executive director of the National Education Association, sent a memo in May 2009 stating that union leaders were "beginning to see school systems lay off teachers and then hire Teach For America college grads due to a contract they signed." Wilson went on to say that Teach For America brings in "the least-prepared and the least-experienced teachers" into low-income schools and makes them "the teacher of record."

And there is this :

"In a 2009 editorial for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Deborah Appleman, a professor of Educational Studies at Carleton College, wrote "Implicit in Teach for America's approach is the insidious assumption that anyone who knows a subject and is willing to be with kids can teach -- with little training." She also challenged TFA's "elitist" structure. "The story of TFA becomes a kind of master narrative, a story of heroic and altruistic young people that focuses much more squarely on them than it does on the lives of the children they are committed to serve. There is an elitist overtone to the structure of TFA, a belief that the best and the brightest can make a difference in the lives of children who are less fortunate, even when they are not professionally prepared to do so." (End quote.)

The Governor and his yes men have explained and publicized the "good reasons" for their support of GH and Teach for America"...the real reasons, however, are not so noble after all.....this is union busting, Southern, born-again style.

By: radiyojo on 9/10/12 at 7:23

Charter schools are a waste of taxpayers' money. There is no way they can be as effective and economical as public schools. Charter schools have too much overhead and are a distraction. Smaller class sizes for all. By the way, I thought the Republicans were against big centralized goverments. Let Metro decide how they want to run their schools.

By: Loner on 9/10/12 at 7:23

Re-posted from the Up For Debate board:

By: Loner on 9/10/12 at 7:41

In spite of the awards and glad-handing, it looks as though TFA is not delivering the goods....again, from Wikipedia:

"Critics of Teach For America have also cited the results of Mathematica Policy Research's 2004 study as an indication of Teach For America’s lack of efficacy (see Educational Impact). These critics claim that while the study shows that students taught by Teach For America teachers perform better in mathematics than those taught by non-Teach For America teachers, the improvement is very small, and that furthermore there is no difference in reading performance between the two groups.[12][14]" (End quote.)


Of course, if the real goal was not educational excellence, but union-busting, resume-building and student loan payback incentives for recent college grads, then Teach For America must be given an A+. Mission accomplished.

State Governors are enthralled with the program, in spite of its obvious gotta give Wendy Kopp credit for being able to bullshit so many, for so long....of course, she is a supreme example of how self-bullshitizing people can excel in our society today.....if these zealots are rich, well-connected, white, beautiful and articulate....especially if their BS dovetails in with some political agenda.

By: aky on 9/10/12 at 7:25

It is interesting to me that the only real excuse those against charters use is the money issue. Funny enough, no one seems to be hammering the point home that the Director of our own school system makes well over 200K! And didn't our own metro council just approve a $250M budget for MNPS? But wait, where's the accountability there? What? 19 on the ACTs? We seem to be holding a double standard to charters than we do for our own public schools. When my tax dollars go to MNPS, where's my security that I am making a sound investment when my director of schools is making $250K and yet his students are averaging a 19 on the ACTs? If ANY charter school operator was getting paid that salary with those abysmal results, you ALL would be running them out of town.

So then, I am confused...Why are so many of you protecting a system that has not produced stellar reslults? Could it be that you are scared of what could happen if a school like Great Hearts comes in and actually out performs what is already here?

By: Rocket99 on 9/10/12 at 7:38

The big question is, how much money has Great Hearts "donated" to Halam and other politicians? I'm guessing plenty.

In some ways, privatizing public education is just another way to dumb down the less fortunate. After all, that's the Republican way these days.

By: Loner on 9/10/12 at 8:07

Yep, the Grand Old party still clings to its Grandiose Old Ideas. You know, the failed policies of Privatization...Deregulation....Tax Cuts...Trickle Down....etc.

Those failed ideas were incorporated into the policies that brought this nation to its economic knees in the fall of 2008....Bush & Cheney oversaw the grand theft.....then they headed off into the sunset,. leaving Barack Obama with a terrible clean-up job....BHO has done well, in spite of the lock-step Republican blockage of his programs....let's not get fooled again, People....Romney & Ryan represent the same old stuff...we tried it and it failed miserably...have we forgotten so quickly?

By: Loner on 9/10/12 at 8:16

I agree with aky on one can a Supt. of Public Schools justify a quarter-million-dollar annual salary, when the schools he/she are supervising are failing miserably?

Time to fire the failed Director-Supt......change the salary structure, replace the failed incentives package and search for a promising candidate for the job....the search committee that produced the current failure should be replaced right off the bat....just for folks got your work cut out for you...corruption in Nashville is quite commonplace.

By: Loner on 9/10/12 at 8:19

But hey, if the REAL goal of public education in Nashville and TN is to keep the blacks and minorities down, then the system is working beautifully...give the Director of Schools a raise!

By: Loner on 9/10/12 at 8:49

Tennesseans elected a Tea Party candidate as their Governor....this SNAFU is normal for Tea Bagger governance...arrogant incompetence at the highest folks asked for this....wallow in it.

By: aky on 9/10/12 at 8:56

Metro COuncil should also implement certain benchmarks the director of the school district needs to obtain within his/her district in order to receive his/her salary. They (metro council) are the ones passing the budget, and they should also be the ones having a checks and balances system in place.

On another note, if those naysayers are so against charters. Then stop wasting your energy fighting charters and start using your energy for revamping your own district! They clearly need your help!!

By: Loner on 9/10/12 at 9:19

I agree, aky....the board has failed to deliver.....but why? Is this history of failure a deliberate situation? Is abject failure of the integrated public schools the actual goal of Southern city and state governments? It is starting to look that way...incompetence like this, for so must be intentional.

By: Loner on 9/10/12 at 9:26

Southern, Christian, born-again parents simply do not like the idea of secular, humanist, union members teaching their kids...or anybody's kids, for that matter....they want to preserve the Southern traditions of faith-based bigotry and race-based inequality in opportunity. They are still stinging from the inglorious defeat of their forefathers and the humiliation at Appomattox Cort House.....keepin' the faith, Confederate style.

By: Loner on 9/10/12 at 9:28

"Cort" s/h/b "Court" apologies.

By: Bellecat on 9/10/12 at 9:41

CitizensWin you are absolutely correct. This is about nothing but privatizing our public education system in order to make the already wealthy and connected even wealthier. Greed knows no end.

Teachers and unions have been pummeled since the republicans took control in many state governorships and legislatures. All part of the plan to take over public education for the money. Wise up folks--it is NOT about educating our children--it is about the money.

By: pswindle on 9/10/12 at 9:44

Keep Metro's money out of the hands of the Charter Schools. They do not work. They cannot do for students what Metro can. The parents that cannot afford to send their children to private schools are trying to make Metro pay for the private education via Charter Schools.

By: Loner on 9/10/12 at 9:57

TN just cannot bring itself to accept universal, integrated, public education as the right of every American citizen....even those who happens to reside in TN. This systemic, institutionalized denial is at the heart of the problem in TN. Old habits die hard...especially the hate-based ones.....the Volunteer State has a long way to go.

Facing the realities of this race-based and faith-based intransigence is the first step in recovery.....give it a have nothing to lose but your national reputation of being segregationists and bigoted fundamentalists.

By: aky on 9/10/12 at 12:03 lost me there. Your issues are clearly running a lot deeper than what the City Paper is used to reporting on. Go take a few deep breaths somewhere. Seriously.

By: CitizensWin on 9/10/12 at 1:01


Read the Stanford report and the link to the Arizona Republic instead of sticking your head in charter school sand before you advise others to take a deep breadth.

I think you will find clearly that a private corporation from Arizona is unable to manage the schools they are trying to run. Plus you will find in the Stanford report that Charters cost more and turn in sub-par results

Do your homework.

By: mm80 on 9/10/12 at 1:58


your right....citizenswin...mnps schools performed WAY better. YOU ARE DELUSIONAL.

By: CitizensWin on 9/10/12 at 2:30

Great Hearts Was Twice Reviewed And Twice Denied For Good Reasons:



By: mm80 on 9/10/12 at 3:07

You might as well have posted a link to a letter from BIG BIRD. Do you think that just because JESSE REGISTER says something it is true??

Talk about do your homework...

By: NashMom on 9/10/12 at 3:45

mm80, bless your heart. Don't let actual data get in the way of your argument.

The results are actually all over the place when comparing Metro to LEAD, and KIPP for that matter. The most recent scores show it:
2010-2011 EXPLORE - Median National Percentile Composite (8th grade)
% Proficient and Advanced TCAP Achievement Reading/Language for children who qualify for Free & Reduced lunch-
32.4% (LEAD), 39.2% (West End) 36.6% (JT Moore) 30.5% (Thurgood Marshall) 43.1% (HG Hill)
% Proficient and Advanced TCAP Achievement Math
30.6% (LEAD) 31.8% (West End) 26.5% (JT Moore) 13.7% (TM) 41.3% (HG Hill)
Bottom line is everyone is struggling to figure out how best to raise achievement scores.

I am not necessarily anti-charter, but LEAD is no where near the type of organization that Great Hearts is attempting to be. Jeremy Kane is all about meeting the needs of those at greatest risk and proves it by providing transportation, not setting a "donation", providing Free & Reduced lunch services. I think LEAD is a model program.

You, my friend, are the delusional one if you think that GH is anything more than a bunch of elitist, bigots that will only further drive a wedge between the haves and the have-not's in our city. But, I am pretty sure that's what many of the 1000 parents who signed the petition were hoping for anyway. You people would have folks sitting at the back of the bus if you could.

By: CitizensWin on 9/10/12 at 4:36

Provided Links on this thread by Citizens Win

• Links to Great Hearts ethnic student populations in Arizona,

• Links to Great Hearts' inability to make ends

• Links to an in-depth Stanford study about charter school performance

• Links to Great Hearts teacher Salaries (34K)

Provided Links on this thread by mm80 and AKY……

Zero links. Zero. Nada. None. Nothing to support an empty argument

FYI: Still Waiting for Full Disclosure about Great Hearts' CEO Salary: Daniel Scoggin

Please Advise

Citizens Win

By: mm80 on 9/10/12 at 5:21

here you go:
type Great Hearts Arizona in the search field
you will have to register, but it is free. click on Great Hearts Arizona, and scroll down. on the left, click the 990 tax form from 2011. Dan Scoggin's salary is right there, clear as day. Page 7, last line.

He makes $137,000/year. And he is the CEO of great hearts. Go ahead, click around for a won't find ANYTHING.

And please stop patronizing me...bless your heart? I do not need your pity. And to insinuate that someone is racist is just absurd. I happen to be african american thank you VERY MUCH.

By: CitizensWin on 9/10/12 at 7:56

A CEO that can't balance a checkbook:

Fiscal Year Starting: Jul 01, 2009
Fiscal Year Ending: Jun 30, 2010
Total Revenue $2,761,195
Total Expenses $3,041,648

No Thanks. Great Hearts asks each parents for $300/student a month to help 'publicly' educate the children. That's what happens before they close the doors of the school. "I faithfully write my $300 (donation) check each month and sometimes I feel guilty it's only $300."

You and your GH buddies need to host a cake sale and have a lottery to an absolutely free public education to help pay for your airfare to Nashville because the MNPS isn't buying it and nor is the public.

It speaks volumes that GH's is closing schools in Arizona and it also speaks volumes that Great Hearts cannot fill out a tax form well enough to pass the smell test.

GuideStar has been informed by the IRS of processing errors on IRS Forms 990 filed electronically between January 1, 2009, and December 3, 2010, for form year 2008. These processing errors resulted in inaccurate data appearing on the scanned images of the affected returns that are posted on GuideStar and do not reflect the information filed with the IRS.

These errors include:
• Part III, line 1, organization's mission description—may not reflect what was originally submitted by the nonprofit organization.

• Part VIII, line 8a, gross income for special events—values may have been transposed.

• Part IX, line 7c, other salaries and wages, management and general expenses—may show a blank where a value was originally reported.

• Schedule D, Part V, line 3a(ii), endowment funds and possession by related organizations— checkbox values may have been transposed.
GuideStar is working with the IRS to obtain a corrected copy of its form year 2008 Form 990. GuideStar will replace this Form 990 if, and when, the accurate return is made available from the IRS.

Yet those amended tax returns are still not updated

Have you ever considered that there is a damn good reason that this Arizona outfit was denied Taxpayer Dollars from Metro in the first place AND the Second place.

Great Hearts is running in the red, pays 34K for teachers, rewards CEO's with six figure incomes, encourages parents to pay for tuition ($300/Mo) and cheats on their taxes. The MNPS made the absolutely right decision in denying this so-called charter from coming in to prop up their failings in Arizona.


Including rolling up your sleeve and helping the public school of your choice by volunteering.

Good Bye Arizona

By: Loner on 9/10/12 at 8:20

Try to keep up,'s not that difficult....the Southern, born-again bigots brought this situation upon themselves after their public schools were forcibly integrated by the federal government.....instead of accepting the reality and fairness of integrated education, the whites started Christian and charter schools to keep their kids from having to associate with members of the Negro's the residual hate from the ante bellum and reconstruction period....the South never repented of its suffer!

By: pswindle on 9/11/12 at 8:28

It does not matter if GH is good for Nashville or not, the big wigs won according to the Tenesssean this morning. This is what happens when a school board is elected with chosen ones so they will vote as they are told.

By: CitizensWin on 9/11/12 at 9:16


A controversial charter school expected to be approved tonight by the Metro Nashville school board asks families in its Arizona schools to ante up a $1,200 gift, a separate $200 tax credit contribution, and a few hundred dollars in book and classroom fees.

Great Hearts’ requests for parent donations in Arizona are larger than those typically seen in Nashville public or charter schools.

By: govskeptic on 9/11/12 at 1:10

Loner: How about taking that absolute scorn and Southern Hatred on every
subject to the New York Times where it will be well received. You sit in some
small upstate NY room with nothing to do but complain about every subject
that comes up in a state you've visited once and is a thousand plus miles
away from you. Are you looking for an opinion writer job down this way?

By: nash615 on 9/18/12 at 10:17


Heh. They're teaching the first class in arithmetic right there.