JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Ballad Health CEO Alan Levine plans to apply a “metrics-based” approach to his service on a new state commission that will help oversee charter schools in Tennessee. The nine-member Public Charter School Commission will, among other duties, hear appeals from prospective charter schools whose applications have been denied at the local level — a role previously reserved for the Tennessee Board of Education.
“This is all about outcomes for children,” Levine, who was appointed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, said Thursday. “The objective is to have metrics that are objective, that measure student success and to me it doesn’t matter what the setting or venue is, the ultimate metric is, ‘are these kids graduating high school prepared for a career or for college,’ and it’s that simple.”
The commission begins hearing appeals starting in the 2020-2021 school year. The members have staggered three, four and five-year terms and Levine said he believes he’s serving a three-year term. He offered no opinion on whether the previous appeal method was insufficient or flawed.
“That’s something the legislature and the governor decide, and of course I respect the policy the legislature and the governor implement,” Levine said. “My job is to help implement it according to the law.”
“I look forward to hearing what the governor’s objectives are, and (those of) legislative leadership, what do they hope to see from us.”
Levine has served four years on Tennessee’s State Coalition on Reforming Education (SCORE) and also sits on the Florida Board of Governors over the state’s university system. He said that experience should benefit the commission, adding that Florida’s university system has earned high rankings thanks to the use of what he called objective metrics.
“How best do we help the child get from where they are today to their career, their ambitions, their aspirations … Charter schools are certainly one of the tools in the tool kit that Tennessee has identified as an opportunity.”
Asked whether he believed Tennessee needs more charter schools, Levine simply said, “I have no opinion on that right now.”