Measuring Up



Tennessee

TOTAL SCORE:
71 out of 116

Rank: 9 out of 26

See a summary of the state’s charter law.

See additional observations about charters in the state and recommendations to support the growth of high-quality charter schools.

What is the state of charter schools in Tennessee?

GROWTH INDICATORS

 

 

Score


1. Public school share
 (2013–14)

3

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Number

Percentage

 

Public charter schools

71

4%

 

 


2. Public school student share
 (2013–14)

0

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

Number

Percentage

 

Public charter school students

12,148

1%

 

 

3. Students by race and ethnicity (2012–13)

4

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

White

2%

68%

-66%

Black

95%

23%

72%

Hispanic

2%

6%

-4%

Asian

0%

2%

-2%

Other

1%

1%

0%

Total minority

98%

32%

66%

 

4. Students in special populations (2011–12)

4

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

Free and reduced-price lunch status

58%

55%

3%

Special education status

N/A

N/A

N/A

English learner status

N/A

N/A

N/A

Total special student populations

58%

55%

3%

 

5. Schools by geographic distribution (2011–12)

6

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

Charters

Traditional

Difference

City

90%

29%

61%

Suburb

5%

13%

-8%

Town

0%

15%

-15%

Rural

5%

43%

-38%

Total nonsuburban

95%

87%

8%

 

6. Communities with more than 10 percent of students in public charter schools (2012–13)

0

weight = 1 | Possible total = 4

 

 

 

Number of communities with more than 10 percent of students in public charter schools

0

 

7. New public charter schools opened over the past five years  (2009–14)

12

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

2009–10

6

Average Annual Open Rate

27.4%

2010–11

8

2011–12

10

2012–13

8

2013–14

25

Total number

57

 

 

 

 

8. Public charter schools closed over the past five years (2008–13)

6

weight = 3 | Possible total = 12

 

 

 

2008–09

0

Average Annual Closure Rate

1.3%

2009–10

1

2010–11

0

2011–12

0

2012–13

1

Total number

2

 

 

 

 
 

INNOVATION INDICATORS

 

 

Score

9. Public charter schools reporting use of various innovative practices (2011–12)

4

weight = 2 | Possible total = 8

 

 

 

Extended day (30 minutes or more each day compared to traditional public schools)

86

Average

22%

Extended year (10 or more days compared to traditional public schools)

33

Year-round calendar

14

Independent study

0

School-to-work

0

Higher education courses

0

 
 

QUALITY INDICATORS

 

 

Score

10. Additional days of learning in reading (2007–11)

16

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

 

 

 

Number of additional days of learning in reading

86

 

 

 

 

11. Additional days of learning in math (2007–11)

16

weight = 4 | Possible total = 16

 

 

 

Number of additional days of learning in math

72

 

 

 

Items Reported But Not Scored

Startups versus conversions (2012–13)

 

Startups

Conversions

 

 

Percentage of a state’s public charter schools

94%

6%

 

 

 

Public charter schools that are independent, associated with a CMO, or associated with an EMO (2010–11)

 

Number

Percentage

 

 

Independent

25

86%

 

 

Charter management organization

4

14%

 

 

Education management organization

0

0%

 

 

 

Charter authorizers (2013–14)

 

Number of authorizers

Number of charter schools

Average number of charters per authorizer

Percentage of the state’s public charters authorized by this type of authorizer

Local education agency

3

62

21

85%

State education agency

-

-

-

-

Independent charter board

1

11

11

15%

Noneducational government entity

-

-

-

-

Higher education institution

-

-

-

-

Nonprofit

-

-

-

-

 

Virtual public charter schools and students (2012–13)

Number of virtual public charter school students

0

 

 

Percentage of a state’s public charter school student population enrolled
in virtual charter schools

0%

 

 

Number of virtual public charter schools

0

 

 

Percentage of a state’s public charter schools that are virtual charter schools

0%

 

 

 

Health of the Movement Summary

Tennessee’s charter school movement ranked #9 out of 26, scoring 71 points out of 116.

Tennessee scored relatively well on the following indicators:

  • Ninety-five percent of the state’s public charters were located in nonsuburban areas in 2011–12 as compared to 87 percent of traditional public schools.
  • Fifty-seven public charters opened between 2009–10 and 2013–14 in Tennessee, a 27.4 percent average annual growth rate.
  • On average, public charter school students exhibited higher academic growth when compared with traditional public school students between 2007–08 and 2010–11 in Tennessee (86 more days in reading and 72 more days in math).

Tennessee scored relatively low on the following indicators:

  • Only 4 percent of the state’s public schools were charters in 2013-14.
  • Only 1 percent of the state’s public school students were charter students in 2013-14.
  • No community in the state had more than 10 percent of its public school students in charters during 2012–13.

In addition to the above points, we also offer the following observations about the movement in Tennessee:

  • In 2012–13, public charter schools in the state served a significantly higher percentage of racial and ethnic minority students (66 percentage points more) when compared with traditional public schools.
  • In 2011-12, public charter schools in Tennessee served a higher percentage of free and reduced-price lunch students (3 percentage points more) when compared with traditional public schools.
  • Two public charter schools closed between 2008–09 and 2012–13 in Tennessee, a 1.3 percent average annual closure rate.
  • An average of 22 percent of the state’s public charter schools reported using one of the six innovative practices that we tracked in 2011–12.
  • Ninety-four percent of the state’s public charter schools were startups, and 6 percent were conversions during 2012–13.
  • In 2010–11, 86 percent of the public charter schools in Tennessee were independently managed, and 14 percent were associated with a nonprofit charter management organization. None were associated with a for-profit educational management organization.
  • In 2013–14, local school districts and the state’s Achievement School District (ASD) could authorize public charter schools. As of that year, three local school districts had authorized 62 public charter schools (85 percent of the state’s public charters), and the ASD had authorized 11 public charter schools (15 percent).
  • There were no virtual public charter schools in Tennessee during 2012–13.

Recommendations

Tennessee’s charter school movement has achieved relatively strong results in spite of a relatively weak law. However, its charter school movement is still relatively small. It has likely achieved these results through a combination of a small number of authorizers implementing solid practices that are not required by the state’s public charter school law and a select number of high-performing charters smartly replicating and expanding. We encourage the state to enact policies to increase the impact of such success, including creating additional authorizing options, ensuring equitable operational funding and equitable access to capital funding and facilities, and increasing operational autonomy.