State could withhold funds from Metro following Great Hearts deferral

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at 12:11pm
UPDATED: 4:55 p.m.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman, in a statement Wednesday, said Metro is violating state law by not authorizing Great Hearts Academies’ charter, and state officials would “take appropriate action to ensure that the law is followed.”

One of the actions the state could take if Great Hearts isn’t approved locally: withhold funds from Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Huffman issued the statement the morning after the school board Tuesday night voted to indefinitely defer the charter proposal of Great Hearts Academies, an application the state board of education on July 27 ordered Metro to approve. Huffman didn’t elaborate what “appropriate action” the department might take.

The nine-member state board itself no longer has a role in the charter authorization process, the state board’s attorney Dannelle Walker told The City Paper.

But Walker said the state education department could “do a number of things,” including withholding funds or resources from Metro schools.

“They have several dollars that flow through to Metro schools from the state,” Walker said. “They could withhold funds. There’s just a variety of options.”

Walker confirmed discussions about withholding funds from Metro have taken place, but said, “Nothing is set in stone.”

Tennessee Education Department spokeswoman Kelli Gauthier reiterated Huffman’s point that the Metro school board “violated the law” by not authorizing Great Hearts on Tuesday.

“Typically that’s something we’re able to do in a lot of situations where the district is not in compliance with the law,” Gauthier said when asked about withholding dollars.

“All of us would hope that it would not get to that point,” she added.

Mayor Karl Dean, who urged the state board to overturn Metro’s two prior denials of Phoenix-based Great Hearts during its appeals process, said, “It would be regrettable for any action to result in state education funds being jeopardized.”

“I hope that the [Metro] board quickly remedies this situation,” he said.

Dean, one of Nashville’s foremost charter school supporters, said Metro had overcome a reputation as an “unwelcoming" place for charters, "but the board’s action here is an unfortunate step backwards.”

The Metro school board’s 7-2 decision to defer voting on Great Hearts’ application has opened itself up to a potential legal challenge if the Phoenix-based charter organization so chooses. The Metro school board’s own attorney Tuesday warned against potential legal action, yet the board defied the state’s order nonetheless, citing lingering concerns over Great Hearts’ diversity plan.

By current state law, a local board has to be the charter authorizer during an appeals process with the state.

But moving forward, Walker said the Great Hearts matter could prompt a discussion on changing state law on charter appeals to allow the state board’s decision to be final — instead of it being remanded back to the local board.

“We’re throwing around some different things for the future,” Walker said.

In a statement, the governor-appointed state board of education said it is “disappointed” by Metro’s action Tuesday.

“Metro Nashville Public Schools had an opportunity to quickly bring closure to the process by approving the process as directed by the state board of education,” the statement reads, adding that it urges Metro to take the necessary action to comply with the law.

“Needless delays, the unnecessary expenditure of MNPS resources, and posturing relative to this charter approval do not benefit the students of Nashville.”

Asked whether Great Hearts would pursue legal action for authorization, the charter group's attorney Ross Booher said, "At this point, we remain hopeful that the Nashville public school board will comply with state law."

In a statement, a spokesman for the charter operator said, "Lawlessness is not leadership, and the Nashville school board has taught the wrong lesson. These actions by the board not only harm Great Hearts but the children of Nashville and the loving parents who simply long to provide an educational opportunity to their children. Great Hearts and all those who labor to elevate American education await the day when the love for children and a shared commitment to their happiness and success transcend the political grievances and conflicts of our day."

42 Comments on this post:

By: CitizensWin on 8/15/12 at 10:36

'One of the actions the state could take if Great Hearts isn’t approved locally: Withhold funds from Metro Nashville Public Schools.'

That seems like a threat and shakedown by a neighborhood bully: 'Privatize Public Education or You won't get your lunch money, punk.'

Bravo For the Metro School Board standing up to bully in the schoolyard:
The State Of Tennessee.

By: Specter47 on 8/15/12 at 10:39

The term "diversity" keeps popping up. "Diversity" is code for "fewer whites". Great Hearts will include everyone, no matter the color of the child's skin. That ticks off the School Board liberals. The state must hold them accountable, even if it means cutting off some funding. I support the state in this effort.

By: Left-of-Local on 8/15/12 at 10:47

THAT iteration of the Board had no concern for diversity to begin with, when they swapped to "neighborhood zoning". They re-segregated the schools. Period.

They were just being stubborn local-yokel fools, sticking the finger at the state on their way out the door. The new Board, with the new members, should meet for an emergency session, and find a more defensible reason, or just admit that their predecessors were idiots and instantly win support from those who have low regard for the body.

By: ballmark17 on 8/15/12 at 10:49

From my first hand observation, you all (we all) want the same outcome - better public education for children. I encourage Kevin Huffman to do everything in his power to avoid a legal chess game. Take the high road and convene another meeting with the MNPS Board and hammer out your differences in conversation. At the level that the State Education Commissioner and the School Board ought to be operating, you should be able to lead a negotiation effectively without legal maneuvering, which requires very little leadership skill. If you need help getting to an effective negotiating process then, seek it somewhere other than in the courts because in the courts innovative solutions are nearly impossible to come by. We now need collaboration, innovation, and creative problem solving all motivated by our mutual commitment to the same ultimate outcome. We will never get there if we default to legal moves. Besides that requires zero leadership. Respectfully, Mark Cappellino

By: Rocket99 on 8/15/12 at 10:57

It almost looks like the kind of situation where a kid goes to one parent (MNSB) and asks repeatedly for something and is always told no so, they go to the other parent (SBE) and ask them who says yes. Now one parent is threatening the other because they disagree.

By: CitizensWin on 8/15/12 at 11:07

The legal maneuvering started with the state and the Mayors office. Had Great Hearts respected the elected Metro School Board. We would not be having this discussion.


By: aky on 8/15/12 at 11:07

If funds are witheld from Metro, the only people you should be shaking your fist at are the people who broke the law: the 7 elected School Board members who deferred their vote. A mandate is not defined as an "option" or a "choice", it is an order. Now because of the Board's careless actions, are local schools could pay the price by having funds witheld. Thank you, mighty 7 Board members, for putting our children behind your own agendas, for getting easily caught up with the mob and for moving our District ahead in the path to nowhere.

By: CitizensWin on 8/15/12 at 11:13

Plenty of Great Hearts Lobbyists on the thread...

Arizona simply does not have a clear vision for Middle Tennessee.

Get Over It.

By: ohplease on 8/15/12 at 11:17

Great post, Mark Cappellino. And aky, where would you say the state is putting its agenda by even threatening to withhold funds? Heaven help us if it's really only about political power. The state is bigger, holds the money, and threatens the local schools -- that's bullying in my book.

By: aky on 8/15/12 at 11:53

Flattering that one might think only Lobbyists could speak out in support of Great Hearts. God forbid a Davidson County parent with a brain could not look at this for what it is and make a rational argument. And what exactly is MNPS' clear vision for Middle Tennessee? Having an ACT score of 21? Or how about having less that half its high school seniors district wide even graduate high school. That "clear vision" has placed us at the bottom of the high-performing district list compared to our national peers. Wow, what a great, clear vision:)
And "oh please" I would throw the question back to you. What do you think is an appropriate response to the MNPS School Board for violating a state mandate? My thoughts: If the State doesn't have a harsh penalty, then any local school board across the state would do and wil do exactly what happened last night. They'll thumb their nose at a state imposed mandate and continue to vote their own way.

By: fairlymoderate on 8/15/12 at 12:03

Interesting that the state is intervening in the school systems in both Davidson County and Shelby County. In both cases they are favoring the white conservative side of the issue.

By: CitizensWin on 8/15/12 at 12:49

Public Schools: Love 'em or Leave 'em.

There is really no need to privatize public education with sub-par experimental schools from Arizona. Especially when they are proven to perform below traditional public schools

Mandates? Mandates work best if they come from actual courts and not an appointed committee. Here is 'the heart' of the issue. The mandate of the people through election is what the TN Board of Education is completely ignoring. I fully expect to see this issue go before a court of law because it deserves to heard in court.

It's pretty pathetic when a small group of charter boosters what to gut education at the expense of everyone else except their own children and district. But guess what? For those parents that are unhappy with traditional public education, they to have the choice of enrolling their children into private schools. If you can't afford a private school, work with your children closer. Plenty of students go to UT with a 21 ACT or less.

UT Knoxville Named a 'Best Value' Public College by Princeton Review...
UT Knoxville also is recognized for strong financial aid support. The HOPE Scholarship is available to Tennessee high school graduates who earn at least a 21 on their ACT and have an overall weighted grade-point average of 3.0 or better. Only 40% of High School graduates actually head out to college.

One more thing:

Davidson County has plenty of choices for private schools.

Good luck with your choices and don't forget ,

You can always home-school!!!

By: jonw on 8/15/12 at 1:06


fairlymoderate, the state is favoring parents who want choices for their children's education without having to count colors to decide if it is legal. Diversity be damned if it does not improve an educational situation.

By: rawhide on 8/15/12 at 1:12

Citizenswin . . . "gut [public] education" what are you talking about?

By: InterestedObserver2 on 8/15/12 at 1:17

Diversity and Transportation seem to be the only items MNSB members can say regarding Great Hearts. Did they ask themselves the same question when setting up the Metro Public Magnet Schools? My understanding is that transportation is NOT provided for the Magnet Schools. My understanding is that racial diversity is not guaranteed as ACCEPTANCE is tied to testing and ultimately a lottery if too few spots exist. Let's compare to a Great Hearts Charter -- Interested students sign up to testing. This sounds more open to everyone than Metro's magnet schools. If you are interested in attending Great Hearts, limited transportation will be provided. Seems like limited transportation is more than zero transportation provided by Metro for Magnet schools. If Great Hearts has interest that exceeds the number of spots, there is a blind lottery. Again, the lottery is open to students of all levels of academic performance, not just qualified students. Again, this seems like a more inclusive model than the Metro Magnet Schools. In a side by side comparision: GH's offering more transportation than Metro Magnet. GH's offering their education to a broader universe of students than Metro Magnet. GH's has no control over who has interest and who gets chosen in a lottery vs Metro Magnent "selecting" the pool via testing and then entering that selected pool into a lottery. So my question is...When is MNSB going to hold themselves to the same standard they are trying to impose on GH's Charter application? Seems ike one could make the same argument that the Magnet schools are at risk for lack of diversity and they sure sound exclusionary and difficult for some kids to get to.

Let's be honest. MNSB decision is based 100% on dollars and cents. They are attempting to protect the jobs, infrastructure, and beauracracy that has spent decades creating what all testing results indicate to be a mediocre to poor performing system.

By: CitizensWin on 8/15/12 at 1:23

Let's Be Real Honest:

'Nearly half of the charter schools nationwide have results that are no different from the local public school options and over a third, 37 percent, deliver learning results that are significantly worse than their student would have realized had they remained in traditional public schools.'

By: rawhide on 8/15/12 at 1:24

Fairlymoderate, yeah, it is interesting how the state is having to send in the proverbial national guard to thwart the self-interested big city public school unions.

By: CitizensWin on 8/15/12 at 1:25

@ rawhide

25 Million Tax Dollars to fund 5 charter schools
is a good start to gutting traditional public education

By: rawhide on 8/15/12 at 1:27

Okay, citizenswin, there's no question that a given school (charter or public) is hard-pressed to outperform the standards in the community it serves, but what is the COST of running a charter school compared with a public school?

By: aky on 8/15/12 at 1:32

Public schools, love 'em or leave 'em? How about raise the bar, hold students to a higher standard and expect more than "average" from testing standards. Students may just think they're capable of more if it's expected out of them. Now there's a novel idea.

By: pswindle on 8/15/12 at 2:42

Hold your ground, we do not need anymore oustside help in uneducating our children. Did you notice in the Tennessean that one of the Charter Schools fell below average in test scores?

By: InterestedObserver2 on 8/15/12 at 2:55

Thank you for sharing the links. Reading the exec summary of the Multiple Choice Credo...17% of Charter Schools produce resuts superior to the results those same students would have received in the public school. 37% are worse, balance are no different. I am not a Charter Advocate, I am an advocate for proven performance. If I lived in a city with the 17%, my child is putting his /her name on the Charter list. If I live in the city with the 37%, my child is not on the Charter list, but if my public schools are mediocre as well...I am pushing them to improve and I am aggitating to get options for me today, not 10 years from now when my child has graduated.

Do you have historical performance results on standardized testing for the two Systems specifcially being discussed in this article. I only read the Tennessean article regarding teh recent TCAP resutls which put Davidson County at the very low end. Also interested to know GH's ACT results versus Metro Nashville. GH's National Merit Scholarship % of students versus Metro National Merit Scholar % of students. Other objective performance measures that you are aware of?

By: CitizensWin on 8/15/12 at 3:21

How Billionaires Rule Our Schools

How to Buy and Sell School Reform

The Grand Coalition Against Teachers

Taking Sides on Education Reform?

Tucker & Dean are so in over their head on this Charter issue that they are not thinking straight. Once a public system is privatized, it becomes an enormous corporate burden on taxpayers. The end game is not education. The end game is for these charters to get their hands on public funds and pocket every dime they can.

Don't fall for the clever name and power-point, a whole lot of smart people have been taken in out of frustration but the bottom line is this, Great Hearts is a calculated business strategy to privatize public education because there is an awful lot money in doing so. Once they are embedded, they will litigate and destroy traditional education as we know it with our very own tax dollars.

By then, it will be too late. This is why I admire the school board for being courageous and correct in sticking by there guns and deferring this issue. Tennessee is being targeted by outside groups because they smell easy money and an too easy to fool government on both the state level and the city level.

By: ohplease on 8/15/12 at 4:18

To answer your earlier question, aky, my point was that , by threatening to withhold money, it seems that the state board really cares a lot more about power than being adult and mature in this situation and a lot more about power than the children and teachers. Sounds like a schoolyard fight on both sides. We all know that the incoming school board will end up approving Great Hearts. So wouldn't you think that the state could just keep its mouth shut until then and understand that this was a symbolic gesture? A very understandable gesture, since the local school board is an elected body supposedly empowered to make these decisions. The appointed body handing down mandates is merely that. As a state, we don't want the federal government taking away our rights. By state law, our local school board makes these decisions. But when the state doesn't like the decision, they use their bigger power and make threats. If the state is going to decide everything, why bother with a local board? Don't know if you've been around long enough to know that Metro schools used to have an appointed school board. Then state law was changed to require elected boards and make sure that elected representatives of the citizenry had the power to decide. Ironic to me that what the state giveth, the state taketh away. Let's give the new board a chance to start working together

By: dogmrb on 8/15/12 at 5:14

Clearly, what goes round comes round. Grandparents can't/won't pay for private school tuition anymore. And parents don't have the resources to move to Williamson County. It's all economics.

By: aky on 8/15/12 at 7:05

@InterestedObserver2 here are some stats for you since you seem to be a data person:

The average ACT score among students in Great Hearts Academies' schools (which are open to all students -- no selective admissions criteria) is 27.9. On the other hand, the average ACT score in MNPS schools is 18.1 -- not even a "college ready" level. Even more alarming, the average ACT score for every MNPS district school has fallen over each of the last three years. At Great Hearts Academies' schools, well over 90% of eighth graders pass their state's education exam (AIMS). In MNPS schools last year, only 45% of elementary students passed the state reading exams -- only 33% passed the math exam.

In addition, from the 2011-2012 school year, Great Hearts Academies produced 10 National Merit Finalists from their 170 graduating seniors. Great Hearts has no requirements for entry (including any academic ones).

In contrast, from the 2011-2012 school year, MNPS produced 5 National Merit Finalists from their 3,000+ graduating seniors. All of these Finalists came from 2 Academic Magnets (Hume Fogg and MLK), which have a grade entrance requirement to attend.

By: CitizensWin on 8/15/12 at 9:06

In lieu of links from an independent study such as Sanford University, the above statement is a hypothesis, theory, and or press release. All at once.

Good Night, Good Bye, and Good Riddance Arizona. All at once.

How to Destroy a Top Notch School District: Open a Charter School!

By: millenboy on 8/15/12 at 9:45

CitizensWin sounds like an NEA lobbyist.

By: ohplease on 8/15/12 at 11:17

Aky, would love to have the sources for your information -- both about Great Hearts and Metro schools. Is there any way to add to your information about the demographics of the Great Hearts schools? My research showed that two of Arizona schools had really good scores. Stats weren't there for the others, or at least I couldn't find them. And do you happen to know how many National Merit finalists MBA and Harpeth Hall had in their graduating classes? I'm not trying to make a point here -- just curious.

By: 4education on 8/16/12 at 6:54

I am not sure where Aky is getting their information. Hume-Fogg alone had 10 National Merit Finalists last year.

By: CitizensWin on 8/16/12 at 7:43

Aky must be making it up which any grade school a teacher would call that lying.

When people are lying they hiding the truth.

By: aky on 8/16/12 at 7:58

ACT score for MNPS students was cited here: Those same scores were again quoted at last School Board Meeting on Tuesday with the high school presentation given.

All Great Hearts related info can be found here:

I was at MNPS School Board meeting (May 29, 2012) where they recognized all National Merit Scholars. I counted. There were 5. If you have other data, I would love to see it.

Here is info about Harpeth Hall's 2012 graduating class for National Merit Scholars:

Here is info for MBA:

By: conservarage on 8/16/12 at 8:26

congrats to the school board for violating the law! good work, chaps!

By: CitizensWin on 8/16/12 at 9:06

I would like to remind the audience that Townes Duncan who sits on the Southcomm board of directors is a Charter School Advocate and staunch republican whose paranoid includes "forces of darkness" leading the school system. In fact, his pro-charter PAC 'Great Schools' poured money into Margret Dolan's losing bid for metro school board against Amy FroggeMr Duncan also supported two other pro-charter candidates with PAC cash. So this man has some skin in the game and you have got to ask yourself, 'Why?'.

Soutcomm Board Member Towns Duncan rambles on about 'Forces of Darkness

BTW Ever notice the pro charter banner adds advocating K-12's 'Online Public Schools' here at the City Paper? I wonder how many national merit scholars came from online learning. So in effect this Duncan fellow supports tearing down the public school walls altogether and letting kids fein for themselves at home on a computer.
Directing someone to the Great Hearts website for an unbiased review of Great Hears statistics is biased.

Just go to page 36 of the Stanford study and learn that charter schools in Arizona are sub-par to traditional public education. Sub-Par sorta like Sub-Prime Mortages.

Finally, national studies are conclusive about in the fact that 42% of high school seniors go on to complete a college degree. This indicates that the world needs a diverse population of plumbers, carpenters, electricians, mechanics and a plethora of diverse talents to make the world go round.
For every Hume-Fogg that is created for the college bound, the city of Nashville should make room for old-fashioned Vo-Tech training that equips young men and women with skill sets beyond ACT testing. It doesn't take a private company to connect the dots. MNPS has proven itself to be skilled at creating the best lottery based schools. Now if they would just complete the equation and include the students they are overlooking and build these training centers for going straight into the workforce, this school debate will have solved the problem without outside supervision from the likes of Great Hearts and Tonwnes Duncan who are intent on putting their hands on the pipe of public education money and ultimately our own back pockets.

Think Different:
Create two new Hume Foogs and two new training centers for those who cannot afford college. Do it with public money inside the public trust without farming it out to private corporations. Do this and be the model for the country because charter schools are here to raid your child's education dipping as low as advocating an Online Grade Schools using public funds. The future of charter is sending your child to their room to their computer. What kind of education is that? It's like home schooling without parents. You have been warned.

By: pswindle on 8/16/12 at 10:39

We need to focus all of attention on Metro/Nashville Schools, and they could be made into a good system. But, here we go again, flushing our money down to the Charter Schools, and when everythinbg is said and done, it did not work. How long have public schools made outstnadisng students in all phases of life? Some in Nashivlle want a private education for their children with public money.

By: aky on 8/16/12 at 10:47

If public schools were performing at the highest level, then charter schools would not be necessary. Tennessee did not receive $500M in federal money because it had top performing public schools. Clearly our system is not working. I welcome good competition to come in and give our district a kick in the pants.

And, actually, it is our own MNPS that is unveiling an online school program: . They went into detail about it for 1 hour at the last MNPS school board meeting. (And seeing how you referenced Mr. Duncan's relationship with them, I doubt they solicited him for advertising or input on the program).

By: ohplease on 8/16/12 at 10:52

There are National Merit Semifinalists, National Merit Finalists, and National Merit Scholars. I believe the latter are those who are given scholarships. All these terms get thrown around indiscriminately. And here is something from the National Merit website. "Caution: Using numbers of semifinalists [or finalists or scholars] to compare the schools, educational systems, or states will result in erroneous conclusions. The National Merit Scholarship honors individual students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The program does not measure the quality or effectiveness of education within a school, system, or state."

And do we believe that all children start school at an equal intellectual, emotional, and social level, so that teaching and the school surroundings make all the difference? Or do we understand that every child is different and that the public schools are expected to educate all those different children -- some of whom have very low intellectual abilities or are emotionally damaged? And can we acknowledge that, as a general rule, the most educated families tend to have (and affluence does have something to do with that) the children who succeed at the highest level? Many of the people who comment here probably have no idea of the challenges teachers in public schools confront every day.

By: ChrisMoth on 8/16/12 at 11:21

Citizens Win, ohplease,pswindle others - feel free to get in touch with me You are making particularly intriguiing comments, and linking up could be quite powerful.

aky has got the core issue exactly right: "If public schools were performing at the highest level, then charter schools would not be necessary. "

The _only_ issue may simply be that Nashville and Tennessee lack the same vision for "performing at the highest level." Nashville defines "the highest level" vision as something like "Maximum year-over-year achievement by all students, given our 1970s mandates for Federally-ordered integration" In contrast, The state seems to be saying "the highest level" = "More pockets of clustered students earning ACT scores in the 30s, with fewer families leaving for private school" Both are reasonable visions, both with pros and cons.

My present frustration with the State is they are telling us "You need this Charter School" without also saying "... because OUR total vision for you to perform at the highest level is X,Y,Z"

The State's apparent current working premise, something like "Obviously everyone _knows_ what the highest level is - and MNPS is not there" does not reflect the quality of leadership that the Republican Legislature is capable of. Why can't they _say_ what they want our future to look like, system-wide?

When the State finally tells us their vision for system-wide "highest level" (whatever it is, honest!), Nashville's Board can immediately make the necessary adjustments to our student routing to bring that to fruition in all our zoned schools.

We don't need to send $ to Arizona to align our vision with the State's. We do however need Tennessee's vision, clearly articulated. I hope that is forthcoming.

Chris Moth, 2020 Overhill Dr

By: CitizensWin on 8/16/12 at 12:24

@ Aky

To declare that the entire Metropolitan Nashville educational system is defunct because the rest of the state did not meet earmark requirements is a bit disingenuous. Sharing 500 million across the whole state from Memphis to Knoxville amounts to nearly nothing for MNPS. How much of that $500 million would possibly make it to metro? And how would it impact a budget for MNPS is $720 Million. Not much.

What you are missing about K-12 Online Public School is that it is a private company doing what MNPS can do already. Thanks for pointing that out. Public online schooling is for sick days, getting assignments staying up with a class in case a student is sidelined, it is not a replacement for brick & mortar schools with teachers and books


Welcome back Chris

By: 4education on 8/19/12 at 7:27

@aky I understand your confusion. Unfortunately, you depended your numbers of national merit finalists based on who showed up to a board mtg after all these kids had graduated. In 2011-2012 Hume-Fogg had 12 semi-finalists (announced in the fall) and 11 finalists (announced in the spring) as published by the school. I would like to provide a link for you, but lo and behold, the Tennessean only published the names of the Williamson County finalists and Metro doesn't have the names on their website. Each of the 11 students has a name and a history of hard work that deserves to be acknowledged or I would just let the bad information slide. Giving these kids credit in no way diminishes the hard work of other students in the district. There are wonderful schools in Metro that people who expound on it have never set foot in. Go to Glenview Elementary near the airport and see the wonderful atmosphere of kindness and excellence there. Walk in the door of Hume-Fogg and you will see right away this is a school that is about more than test scores. Go to a play or a concert and maybe you will understand that Great Hearts can't just claim rights to that reputation based on scores.

By: pswindle on 8/19/12 at 11:24

This shows that Gov. Haslam and his GOP administration are nothing but bullies. Why do you think that Charter Schools are hell-bend on Nashville? It is for the money and nothing more, and we are sstupid enough to give it to them. The Charter Schools cut corners everywhere, like not having fully staffed degreed personnel, not haveing the music and athletic programs that Metro can offer. They cannot compete in today's world with their limited offerings.

By: Bellecat on 8/20/12 at 2:27

Do not fall for the charter schools line. It is about them making money, nothing more. Our public school system has served us well for generations. Look at all the people in our country who graduated from our public schools and are successful beyond their wildest dreams.

It takes a team to successfully educate children. Parents have to be involved in their children's education by teaching them good study habits, helping them to understand the concepts of self-discipline and a good work ethic, etc. Students need to understand how important an education is, and go to school ready to learn. Schools and teachers have to be at the top of their game. We do need to continually work to improve public education, but charter schools are about nothing but money. Don't be fooled into thinking they are a magic formula for educating our children. There is no such thing. Again, it takes a team--parents, students and schools.