“The governor asked me to serve, and I am happy to do that,” Levine said Wednesday. “It’s an issue that a lot of people are concerned about.”
Levine is one of nine members appointed by Lee to the Public Charter School Commission, which was created by legislation backed by the Republican governor earlier this year. Previously, the Tennessee Board of Education decided the outcome of appeals from charter school applicants.
He noted that parents and educators on both sides of the charter school debate are passionate about the issue.
“I feel the family of a child trapped in a failing school should have the opportunity to seek options,” Levine said.
He has served four years as a board member of Tennessee’s State Collaborative on Reforming Education, a nonpartisan advocacy and research group founded in 2009 by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. SCORE measures success by the academic growth and achievement of Tennessee’s students.
Levine has also served on an oversight board of higher education in Florida, where he and other members “applied metrics” to gauge the success of that state’s universities in several key areas. He plans to follow a similar tactic in addressing issues that come before the Public Charter School Commission.
“Students should graduate high school, and have the tools they need to be ready for college or to begin a career,” Levine said. “Those are my metrics.”
He said the commission was created “for oversight and and independent review” of charter school requests that have been rejected by local school boards. Levine said he sees his role as “quasi-judicial,” and will judge each case “based on its qualifications.”
Other members of the commission are Memphis Education Fund CEO Terence Patterson, former FedEx counsel Christine Richards, development firm founder and partner Derwin Sisnett, former Nashville school board member Mary Pierce, attorney and former state Board of Education member Wendy Tucker, private investment platform managing partner and Teach For America board member David Hanson, former state Rep. Eddie Smith and former Reagan administration White House communications director and ex-Chattanooga Times Free Press executive editor Tom Griscom.