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When YES Prep Says ‘No’

When YES Prep Says ‘No’_5fbee124c71bd.jpeg
Achievement School District Charter Schools Memphis Tennessee YES Prep

When YES Prep Says ‘No’

When YES Prep Says ‘No’

Fighting to improve education through school turnarounds is not a job for everyone, as YES Prep recently learned. Last week, the charter management group suddenly announced its intent to pull out from the Achievement School District (ASD) in Tennessee.

YES Prep was set to run a school in Memphis this fall, which is instead being closed as a result of YES Prep leaving. The charter group cited a lack of “community support” as a central reason for its decision to leave—yet, as the ASD points out, other operators in the state are sticking it out in the name of doing what is best for students. According to the ASD’s statement:

Not everyone is cut out for this work. We applaud YES Prep’s success with underserved communities in new, open enrollment charter schools. But their decision today makes clear that YES Prep is not prepared to take on the urgent, more difficult work of turning around neighborhood schools in Memphis…

Moving schools to the top 25 percent is a collective effort…As we build on the solid foundation we have built over the last three years and anticipate our third-year results this summer, we look forward to a bright future in Memphis.

The responses have come from other operators, local media, and education experts, and have been supportive of the ASD, the work that it sets out to do, critical of the way YES Prep has handled this decision, and concerned about what happens next for the impacted students.

Memphis and Houston papers, as well as the Center for Reinventing Public Education, have picked up the story, with several questioning the impact that this sudden change may have on charter policy in both Tennessee and Texas.

It is truly unfortunate that a charter group with a track record of success has decided against working with the Tennessee students who need them. But perhaps it’s better to make this decision now, rather than learning the hard way (and halfway through the year) that they weren’t up to the job.

The ASD is a critical component in improving education in Tennessee and only those who are ready and dedicated to taking on the important task of turning around schools should stay put.

Photo by *_Abhi_*, CC-licensed.

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