NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — “Unacceptable” is what parents are calling Metro Nashville Public Schools’ decision to eliminate charter schools from its sports league.
MNPS notified charters of the move in April, effectively forcing charters to form their own league.
It’s a decision that upsets many parents who wonder why.
Sonya Thomas is a charter school parent and executive director of Nashville Propel, a parent-led advocacy group for parents in the metro.
Thomas, like many other parents, can’t believe that MNPS is removing Nashville Public Charter Schools from its college athletic league.
“These are your students, and you have a duty and a responsibility and a moral responsibility to work with the charter leaders — not to send them a letter to do it on their own.”
MNPS spokesperson Sean Braisted told NewsChannel 5 that charter college sports will not be phased out next year. They will continue to train and play normally, but with specific schedules and competitions.
State law requires charter schools to receive an equal per-student share of state and local funding to meet the needs of their students, with a projected $234 million for Davidson County charter schools in during the coming budget year. Charter schools have autonomy to develop and manage their academic and extracurricular programming. This would include sports offerings for their students. Given the current and future growth in the number of charter seats, we believe they have the ability to use their resources to develop an athletic program parallel to college allowing our district to focus on developing and improving programs we offer to MNPS students.
So just to be clear, we expect Davidson County charter schools to continue to offer the same athletic program that they currently offer, the only impact is that they will now have the opportunity to work together to train their own league, which involves scheduling matches. and competitions. We provided this information to schools and held information meetings to answer questions on how to proceed.
Sean Braisted, MNPS
The district notified charters of the decision on April 29, telling them that they will now have to form their own sports league.
“Dr. Battle did not go to the board to ask them to do so. There were no rules or policies in place requiring MNPS to facilitate scheduling and leagues for charter schools, nor did that required no council action,” Braisted said in an email. .
He also said competitiveness was not an issue or part of the discussion.
The Tennessee Charter School Center said Metro charter schools had requested an extension, saying they needed more time to prepare, but were told no. They say the district refused to give them a reason for the sudden change.
The Tennessee Charter School Center (TCSC) strongly opposes the MNPS’s recently proposed rule that would suddenly bar public charter school sports teams in the district, which have competed collegially in MNPS leagues for years, from participating in the game of the district.
When educators at Nashville public charter schools asked for an extension to give them more time to prepare, they were told no. When public charter school leaders asked for a reason for the new rule, they received none. When they requested a formal appeal process for this decision, they were not offered one. Equitable access to the playing field and the future of student-athletes have been ignored.
There is no logical basis for this decision. Designating a group of public school students and giving their schools less than two months to act on an unexpected directive feels like punishment for student athletes, coaches and teams who have chosen an educational environment that best suits their needs. While adults may disagree about models of school governance, children should not bear the brunt of those disagreements in the classroom or on the playground.
At TCSC, our work is focused on ensuring that all Tennessee families have access to high-quality public school options and that each student can thrive in the environment that best meets their needs. More than 13,000 Nashville students, the majority of whom are students of color, have discovered it through Nashville Public Charter Schools, free and open to all, and part of the Metro Nashville Public School District.
It is deeply disappointing to see mean-spirited policies once again preventing families from simply seeking an ideal learning environment for their children. The TCSC team is working with public charter school leaders and families to manage this sudden and frustrating decision by MNPS. We join Nashville educators, students, coaches and parents in calling on MNPS to immediately reverse this unfair policy – and just let the kids play.
The Tennessee Charter School Center (TCSC)
Metro schools told NewsChannel 5 they believe Nashville now has enough charters to have their own league. They say this change will free up the district to focus more on students in traditional public schools.
“For a parent to have to choose between what is best for their child academically and athletically is unacceptable,” Thomas said.
The district says it expects the charters can work together to create a practice and game schedule before students return in the fall.