Tennessee Boosts Charter School Governance Transparency, Restricts Role of Foreign Interests
Tennessee has boosted requirements for transparency and set restrictions on the role of foreign interests in charter schools in two separate legislative acts of 2012.
The governor announced on May 2, 2012, that the bill restricting foreign interests in charter schools would go into law without his signature, according to an Associated Press article on knoxnews.com.
Under the act, which takes effect July 1, 2012, a chartering authority may not approve an application if a school plans to rely on “non-immigrant foreign worker H1B or J1 visa programs in excess of 3.5 percent of the total number of positions,” if operators of the proposed school have been affiliated with other schools that have been “subjects of investigation by any government agencies for questionable use of non-immigrant foreign worker visa programs,” or if the school is controlled by foreign nationals.
Certain provisions of the law do not apply if the chartering authority is a local education agency and the agency itself uses foreign worker visa programs to fill more than 3.5 percent of its staff. The law also states that charter school applications and renewals shall disclose all sources of private funds and all funds from foreign sources.
A separate act focused on charter school transparency. Signed by the governor April 23, 2012, the law requires that charter schools comply with the open meetings law and meet the same requirements as local education agencies for providing access to school records, including posting certain notices and information on its school website. The law takes effect July 1, 2012.