The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce reiterated Tuesday its support for state legislation that would require charter schools that are among the lowest-performing 5 percent of public schools in Tennessee to close automatically at the end of the school year.
The chamber has been a big supporter of charters, which are public schools run by independent operators under contracts with local school districts. The business group said in an email to members Tuesday that it also "supports strict accountability for charter schools in Tennessee."
Marc Hill, the chamber's chief policy officer, said the proposal would mean school boards could spend more time looking at authorization requests for new charter schools and less time dealing with the political difficulties that come with closing any school.
"The whole premise of charter schools is that you would innovate but that you would also be held strictly accountable for increasing student achievement," Hill said.
The Metro school board voted in 2012 to close Smithson-Craighead Academy based on several years of poor test scores.
Hill said the chamber recommended a provision for automatic closure of charter schools on the state's "priority school list" in 2012. The state legislation, sponsored by Sen. Steve Dickerson, R-Nashville, and Rep. Dawn White, R-Murfreesboro, would do that by requiring that any "public charter school agreement shall be revoked or denied renewal by the final chartering authority if the school receives identification as a priority school, as defined by the state's accountability system, in 2015 or any year thereafter."
Florida, Indiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio, Texas and Washington state have adopted similar measures, the chamber said.