An Extremist Charter Network is Denied New Schools in Two Tennessee Districts

Privatization push remains strong in Volunteer State despite setbacks

Andy Spears
3 min readJul 30


Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

A network of charter schools affiliated with the Christian extremists at Hillsdale College is seeking to open up to 50 schools in Tennessee.

The schools would be privately operated but funded by local taxpayers.

Last week, two school districts (Madison County, Maury County) rejected appeals from Hillsdale to open charter schools in their districts.

The network plans to appeal the decisions to the state’s Charter School Commission, a board hand-picked by pro-privatization Gov. Bill Lee.

In other education news out of Tennessee, the state’s teachers union filed a lawsuit against Gov. Lee over the so-called “prohibited concepts” law that prevents teaching or discussing 14 issues (including racial oppression and sexuality).

The Tennessee Education Association’s President, Tanya Coats, said the law will negatively impact students and the potential for fines for districts creates a “chilling effect” when it comes to addressing certain topics.

“Tennessee students will fall behind their peers in other states if this law stays on the books. We are already seeing school leaders make changes to instruction and school activities due to the risk of losing state funding, facing unfair repercussions or threats to their professional standing. TEA is committed to fighting for public school educators’ right to do their job and Tennessee children’s right to a fact-based, well-rounded public education,” Coats said.

An analysis of political spending in the state reveals that groups and organizations…



Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .