MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County School Board voted unanimously this week, asking the superintendent to come up with a plan to get a moratorium on the Achievement School District in Shelby County. Board members want to prevent the ASD from taking over new schools until they show “consistent progress.”
“We requested the superintendent to explore the option of how we can put a moratorium on the ASD,” said School Board member Stephanie Love, who brought the resolution forward.
The state Department of Education confirmed with WREG that the ASD’s ability to operate is protected by state law.
“A local district does not have the authority to issue a moratorium but can certainly work to improve their schools to avoid ASD eligibility,” a spokesperson said.
Love said the board knows the district cannot impose a moratorium itself, but board members want the superintendent to make a change somehow, possibly at the state level.
Love pointed to a recent Vanderbilt study that showed gains in the district-run iZone and not much difference between ASD schools and other schools in the bottom 5 percent of the state.
“If we have an intervention that’s working, which is the iZone, why are we fighting for money when we know that the iZone has outperformed the ASD?” Love said.
Malika Anderson, the incoming superintendent of the ASD, said her district has only existed three years. The Vanderbilt results did not surprise her, because she said it would take at least five years to see results.
She said the ASD will not stop in Shelby County.
“We need to work together to serve the needs of students across this city, not fight over adult issues,” Anderson said.
Wednesday, a parent group, called Memphis Lift, gathered at Fairley High School, a school run by a charter for the ASD, to oppose the school board’s resolution.
“We stand against those comments. You know we do not believe that our children are an experiment. We do not believe that ASD is experimenting with our children,” one parent said.
The group said it supports parents, not either side in the iZone versus ASD debate.
Both the superintendent of the ASD and the superintendent of the iZone have said they support each other’s turnaround efforts in the community.
Last week, the ASD announced its charter operators will take over Caldwell-Guthrie Elementary, Hillcrest High, Kirby Middle, and Raleigh-Egypt Middle Schools.
The iZone announced Wednesday it will takeover Mitchell High, Westwood High, and Douglass High Schools.