Rep. Akbari Will File Bills to Curtail ASD's Options

Measures would prohibit state district from altering grade structure at takeover schools.


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Rep. Akbari
  • Rep. Akbari

State Rep. Raumesh Akbari, the District 91 Memphis Democrat who will soon begin a full term in her own right after winning a special election last year to succeed the late Lois DeBerry, has filed two pieces of legislation designed to brake the Achievement School District’s prerogatives in taking over failing schools.

One bill would prohibit the ASD from altering the grade structure of the institution being taken over. A second, related measure would end the “phase-in” process by which the ASD can take over the grade levels at a school by piecemeal intervals.

Rep. Akbari's press release announcing her intent is as follows:

December 12, 2014

Akbari Introduces ASD Legislation Hopes to reinforce original mission of ASD Memphis, TN: State Representative Raumesh Akbari today unveiled two pieces of legislation dealing with the ASD. “The ASD can be extremely helpful in making sure that every child has access to a high-quality public school,” said Rep. Akbari. “That is why I am introducing legislation which I believe will reinforce the original mission of the ASD, which is to turnaround failing schools and ensure that no child is denied the opportunity to succeed.”

Under current law when the ASD takes control of a school, the state may elect to expand or reduce the grade levels served by that particular institution. Legislation introduced by Rep. Akbari would end this practice by requiring schools to follow a maintenance model, meaning schools takeover by the ASD must continue serving only the grades currently supported by the institution.

“By limiting the ASD to improving upon the existing grades levels that in the school they took over, rather than expanding the schools to cover new grades, we can strengthen and protect their mission,” said Rep. Akabri. “To that same end, we want to give students continuity and consistency when their schools are being improved upon by the ASD. That is why I’m sponsoring companion legislation that will ensure the ASD improves all existing grade levels at a school, rather than sending certain students to other institutions during the conversion process.”

Tennessee law also currently allows the ASD to take over a select few grade levels in a low-performing school, while sending the other students to an altogether different institution. The second bill introduced by Rep. Akbari would end this so-called “phase in” practice and instead require the ASD to take an all-inclusive approach.

“I believe that in passing this legislation, we will be setting our students and the Achievement School District up for greater success going forward.”

State Representative Raumesh Akbari serves house district 91 in Nashville. She was recently elected to her first full-term....

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