Hillsdale charter school resubmits applications in Madison and Maury

Local school boards will approve or deny the resubmitted applications later this month

By: - July 12, 2023 6:05 am
A four-piece mailer sent to households across the state from Hillsdale College leads with accusations against Nashville media.

A four-piece mailer sent to households across the state from Hillsdale College in 2022.

American Classical Education, a Hillsdale College-affiliated charter school network, resubmitted amended applications in two of four counties that denied it earlier this year. 

School boards in Madison and Maury counties have until July 28 to review American Classical Education’s latest revision to its charter school applications. 

The Maury County School board will vote on the new applications at July 18 meeting. While school officials with the Jackson-Madison County School System said, its board would hold a special-called meeting before the July deadline to deny or approve the resubmitted application. 

The network applied at the start of the year to open charter schools in Madison, Maury, Montgomery, Robertson and Rutherford counties. The Rutherford school board was the only one of the five to approve the school’s application in the first round.

It’s the second year in a row the conservative college’s charter schools are trying to open in Tennessee. 

Hillsdale applications hint at links between charter school and Common Core

Last year, local school boards denied all three applications after Larry Arnn, the president of Hillsdale College, said teachers were trained in the “dumbest parts of the dumbest colleges” while on stage with Gov. Bill Lee at an event in Middle Tennessee. Lee has strongly advocated for Hillsdale’s charter expansion into Tennessee. 

The charter network initially appealed those denials to the state charter commission before backing out in the final days. 

In the year since Arnn’s comments, American Classical regrouped, hiring Chris Burger from Rotunda Public Affairs to run its communications strategy and added former Somerville Republican state Sen. Dolores Gresham to its board. 

American Classical also sought more local support, adding county commissioners and other residents from the counties where they applied this year. 

After the first denial, the charter school process allows America Classical to resubmit an amended application at the local school board level. If the school board denies the charter again, it can appeal to Tennessee Charter Commission. 

The charter commission consists of nine members, all appointed by Lee. 

The Lookout reached out to American Classical Education but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

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Adam Friedman
Adam Friedman

Adam Friedman is a reporter with the Tennessee Lookout. He has a particular love for data and using numbers to explain all kinds of topics. If you have a story idea, he'd love to hear it. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 615-249-8509.