February 21, 2024

Education For Live

Masters Of Education

Metro Schools board approves three charter schools requests to keep fifth-graders in elementary school

6 min read
Nathan Garcia Borrayo works on his sight words in his class at Rocketship Nashville Northeast Elementary  in Nashville, Tenn., Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021.

An effort on Tuesday to add fifth grade at three charter schools, in alignment with Metro Nashville Public Schools’ own initiative, devolved into chaos and a heated debate about the role of school board members.

Metro Nashville school board members eventually voted to allow three charter schools — Rocketship Nashville Northeast, Purpose Prep Academy and Smithson Craighead Academy — to add fifth grade to their current K-4 elementary schools in alignment with the district’s own initiative to move fifth grade from middle schools back to the elementary level.

But the vote came only after heated debate as board members drew pro- and anti-charter lines and a yelling match with some of the many parents who showed up in support of the charter schools.

An initial motion by board member John Little, a charter school advocate, failed and he slammed his colleagues for not supporting the desires of parents. His colleague, board member Sharon Gentry, called his remarks a “tongue lashing.”

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