McQueen sides with charter school company in dispute with Shelby County schools

Tennessee’s education commissioner has sided with a charter school operator in its ongoing dispute with the Shelby County Schools system and the state’s Achievement School District over student contact information, reports Chalkbeat Tennessee.

Commissioner Candice McQueen directed Superintendent Dorsey Hopson on Monday to immediately share the information requested by Green Dot Public Schools. She said the district’s refusal violates a new state law by withholding information that charter operators need to recruit students and market their programs.

“This is the only way to enable and support parents in making truly informed decisions about their children’s education,” McQueen said in a letter to Hopson.

Sharing student information would help to level the playing field in Memphis, where Shelby County Schools has aggressively sought to stem the exodus of students to state-run charter schools, most of which were once locally run before the state intervened due to chronic low performance.

Green Dot’s five state-authorized Memphis schools have contributed to that drain, and Hopson’s administration has pulled back on accommodating charter operators’ requests for information. The district contends that such sharing would violate federal student privacy laws, but McQueen said that’s not the case.

The commissioner’s stance sets up a possible legal battle between Shelby County Schools and the state.

“We are in receipt of the letter and will be reviewing the basis for the Commissioner’s response to determine next steps,” said spokeswoman Natalia Powers.

The state’s directive also could have implications for other districts like Nashville’s, which have received similar requests from charter operators.

3 Responses to McQueen sides with charter school company in dispute with Shelby County schools

  • Michael Lottman says:

    McQueen continues her undistinguished tenure as commissioner of education and continues to ignore the needs of public schools and racial and socioeconomic minorities. Sometimes she reminds me of Betsy DeVos.

  • Linda says:

    If you have a child in the Memphis school system, you should be able to access every scrap of information available if it will help you and your child! My family left the Memphis area because of the public schools.

  • Cannoneer2 says:

    Are her own kids still in private school?

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Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.
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