Tennessee U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander and his Kentucky counterpart, Sen. Rand Paul, are planning a visit to KIPP Nashville’s charter schools Monday to talk about the state’s charter school movement, according to a Metro Schools official.
The two senators will sit down for a roundtable discussion with state Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman and Randy Dowell, executive director of KIPP Nashville which is home to two chartered middle schools and a soon-to-be high school in 2014. Some of the schools’ parents and teachers are also expected to attend.
"Charter schools liberate teachers to use their own good judgment to help children and give parents more choices of good schools," said Alexander in a press release Friday, adding he wants to make it easier to create more charter schools.
Alexander is the senior Republican on the Senate’s education policy committee. Rand Paul is also a member. Both have introduced a large, Republican-backed proposal at the federal level aimed to “fix No Child Left Behind by restoring to states and communities control over whether teachers and schools are succeeding or failing.”
The visit comes amid ongoing conversations at the state and local level about the role of charter schools and the education reform movement. Although Tennessee is home to several high-performing charter schools, education officials at the local level still express concern over emphasis the public education system places on the schools and the money necessary to fund them as opposed to traditional public schools.