Saturday, December 15, 2012

ASD Snubs Cornerstone Prep?

It's been a big week, and I'm just now catching up on all of the Achievement School District news.  We've been waiting to hear which 10 of the 14 listed schools it will take over next year, and the ASD is releasing the information in drips and drabs.

Early in the week, Jane Roberts informed us that the ASD's Achievement Advisory Council made its recommendations.  So the idea is that the AAC, made up of Memphians from the affected neighborhoods, would "match" neighborhood schools with charter school operators.  I'm more than a little concerned about the folks selected for the AAC, but that was likely going to be the case given the ASD's radical world view.

So here are the AAC's recommendations:
Caldwell-Guthrie Elementary        Gestalt
Cherokee Elementary                     Aspire
Hanley Elementary                        Aspire
Klondike Elementary                     Gestalt
Shannon Elementary                      KIPP
Corry Middle                                  KIPP

NOT on the list is the fourth of the four charter management organizations that were to be considered for matching:  Cornerstone Prep.  Of the 14 schools being considered, the AAC couldn't find one with which Cornerstone would be appropriately "matched"?  Cornerstone, a newly minted charter management organization, chartered specifically to participate in the ASD from its previous incarnation as a private evangelical school, already operating half of one elementary school - not selected?

I thought it might be an oversight, that maybe the AAC didn't understand the current political situation, and that the ASD would correct it with its own announcement.

Yesterday, the ASD's matching decisions were released.  Here's what the ASD has decided to do:
Whitney Elementary                  ASD           (instead of Caldwell-Guthrie Elem.)
Georgian Hills Elementary        ASD           (instead of Cherokee Elem.)
Hanley Elementary                    Aspire
Klondike Elementary                 Gestalt
Shannon Elementary                 KIPP
Corry Middle                             KIPP

Still no Cornerstone?  Admittedly, it's still a pretty young school - this is the first year it is teaching 2nd and 3rd graders, its second year teaching 1st graders, and its third year teaching kindergarteners.  But it has some experience at this point.  Is Cornerstone Prep no longer a favored charter management organization?  Were both the AAC - and - the ASD unable to find a suitable match for Cornerstone's skills and experience?

Hard to say.  It seems like there would be one of several things going on here . . .
  • Maybe it really is the case that neither the ASD or the AAC particularly liked what Cornerstone has to offer - or specifically, what Cornerstone can offer the 14 schools on the list.  Interesting.
  • Maybe Cornerstone withdrew from consideration.  Of course, since the ASD is not required to function as a public government entity, there is not much that they have to make public.  So we might never know if Cornerstone withdrew.  But I would wonder why they withdrew.  Those public meetings were tough, and Cornerstone's Board is made up of people actually from Memphis and invested in the community.  It may be that Cornerstone Prep well understands the current political situation and chose to withdraw from the process.  It may also be that Cornerstone has its hands full with its "Lester Campus" and decided to focus its energies there.  Hmmmm.
  • Or perhaps some other deal has already been cut, and we just have not yet had it disclosed.  The ASD did, after all, plan to takeover ten schools next year, but only announced six.  I would not be surprised at all to find out that the ASD has something else up its sleeve, and the Cornerstone still has some ASD expansion in its future.  [SPOILER ALERT:  it's this one!]
Stay tuned . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment