Harwell Defends State-level Charter School Authorizer

House Speaker Beth Harwell has defended her push to let the state Board of Education – not the local school board – decide on authorizing a charter school in Davidson and Shelby counties. Jeff Woods lays out some of her comments in question and answer format.
An excerpt:
Q: The Democrats had a media avail this morning. Mike Turner is upset about your bill. He says you’re trying to resegregate schools in Nashville. What do you say to that?
Harwell: That is not my goal at all. If anything, the current charter schools that exist are located in our lower income areas. They are close to about 98 percent minority members. The ones that are doing well are doing exceptionally well. This would have actually made it possible for more diversity within our public charter school system, I believe. …
Q: How would the schools be more diverse? You mean more white?
Harwell: Yeah.
Q: Republicans say the best government is the one that’s closest to the people. This seems to fly in the face of that.
Harwell: No, I don’t think it does. We have a responsibility in this state to allow the most local person to have an option here, and the local person here is the parent. You can’t get much more local than that. I have a lot of parents, not only in my district but others, who wanted this option in our public school system. I am all about promoting and having the best public school system this city can have and right now we’re just simply not there.

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