Under the Dome

Special House committee on charter-run schools district

These first couple of weeks in January are a reminder of how much legislators have to talk about even when they aren’t in session. Oversight committee meetings galore.

Another committee is about to be added to the list, one that will examine Achievement School Districts, collections of low-performing schools that are run by charter school companies. Rep. Rob Byran, a Charlotte Republican, wants to try this strategy in North Carolina. Bryan is going to run the House select committee.

Bryan tried to get a bill passed last year to put a handful of schools statewide into an achievement district. Opposition was fierce and the bill didn’t get a committee hearing, even after Bryan added an alternative that would allow districts to replace principals at struggling schools rather than have charter companies run them.

Bryan said when the bill stumbled last year that he would try again this year, with the committee as a launching pad.

In the meantime, though, researchers from Vanderbilt University put out a report saying the achievement school district in Tennessee was ineffective. Tennessee used money from its Race to the Top federal grant to start its district.