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Then-Secretary of Education Dr. John King, Jr. speaks during the National Charter Schools Conference at Music City Center, Tuesday, June 28, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.
Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean

Over 1,000 Nashville charter school parents penned a letter to the Nashville schools board asking for better treatment.

The letter from 1,012 parents is in response to a failed June resolution from board member Mary Pierce that she tabbed as a way for the board to recommit to its policy to “advocate for the organization and all of the students it serves.”

The resolution was specifically targeted to support charter school parents’ choice.

In the letter, the parents say they were “dismayed” to see the resolution fail.

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“We hope that our commitments set forth here will inspire you to to make a similar commitment to do the job you were each elected to do,” the letter presented during the Tuesday school board meeting reads.

Several parents presented the letter during the board’s public comment period Tuesday night. Parents Halima Labi, Monique Fisher and Kelly Zaimah said their students enjoy positive experiences at the charter schools they attend.

The letter also includes a resolution from the parents to stand up, speak up and lift up schools, according to the letter.

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During the June vote, the resolution failed with four in favor, three abstaining — Christiane Buggs, Jill Speering and Amy Frogge — and one present, but not voting — Will Pinkston. Board member Tyese Hunter wasn’t at the meeting.

At the time, Buggs said she decided to abstain because she felt the resolution was heavily focused on charters and not all schools. It also brought other questions, including the board’s ability to hold all schools accountable, she said.

Charlie Friedman, Nashville Classical Charter School founder, said after the failure of the resolution in June, many of his families felt it was important to make their voices heard.

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“Hearing from them reminded me that we should all be working together to make it easier — not harder — for parents without time or resources to find a great school and navigate the district’s choice process, which can be difficult,” he said.

Pierce, who is a charter school proponent, said in an email statement that she thought her resolution was a no-brainer.

“I’m proud of the 1,000-plus parents for responding by bringing their own resolution,” she said. “Because of their school choices, they’ve been in the direct line of fire, but I think it’s only inspired them to get more involved and I believe this is just a glimpse of what’s to come from their advocacy.” 

Reach Jason Gonzales at jagonzales@tennessean.com and on Twitter @ByJasonGonzales.

 

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