Saturday, July 23, 2005

More bits and pieces from the backlog.

It’s not fair! More pouting from school districts over money. This time instead of the small districts whining it’s the big districts.

Davidson County and Memphis City together account for roughly 50 percent of the ELL students in Tennessee.


More than 80 percent of students in Memphis City are at-risk, according to Lillard, as are more than 20 percent of students in Shelby County schools.

From the Nashville City Paper

And all this might actually be worth the time and effort IF money were really the answer. It’s not. It’s a tough job, I’ll grant that. But many poor, urban, immigrant flooded schools have proved that it can be done without all the money in the world. Life is not fair. Let's accept that and move on.

Can we agree that there are finite funds? So instead of putting those funds in a classroom we have this discussion about spending $30K communicating with (no not parents or taxpayers) other politicians.

Metro Schools is trying to take a lead in communicating with the public officials responsible for policy that impacts how the system functions and what requirements it must fulfill.


However, she [Metro Council education chair Lynn Williams] said, it is important for Nashville’s schools to have a presence on Capitol Hill to make sure the school system is protected, particularly regarding state funding.

From the Nashville City Paper.

I think they’re communicating with the wrong folks. Let’s take that $30K and reinstate the All Schools event, let’s get that customer service office up and running well, let’s institute a system for communicating with parents that reflects the 20th century better than a crumpled note in a backpack under the gym shorts. Once parents understand what is going on and have them on board they’ll do the work of making sure that legislators and councilmen understand what is needed.

Taking Care of Business:

Using that catchphrase as his theme for a kick-off session that continues today, Schools [Metro Nashville] Director Pedro Garcia urged his administrators to make sure teachers are teaching and students are learning.


"Taking care of business means being visible in the classrooms every single day. Taking care of business means you've got to evaluate your teachers. Get your strategic plan ready to go.

"Invite your parents in. Invite the city council into your school," he said. "Let them see what you do, what happens in your school every day. I believe if we take care of little details and be tough every day, we'll have a great year. I'm looking forward to it."


"If you want to stop discipline problems in school, then do not allow a kid to get away with anything," Garcia said. "Sometimes it's easier to just look the other way when somebody wears the wrong clothes. Sometimes teachers look the other way when somebody does something in the hallway they know is inappropriate. The reality is, if we follow the broken window policy, we nail every single person. You don't let anybody get away with anything. You deal with the smallest infractions, upfront and right away."

From The Tennessean

I’m not expert, and I’m only wrangling four children, but what I do know is that consistency is important. If you tell a child what you expect and then don’t follow up when they fail to meet that—what you’ve taught them is that it doesn’t really matter at all. When you make excuses for them, don’t expect the best from them, don’t help them to see their value by investing in THEM you’ve taught them that they don’t really matter. They’re not stupid. THIS lesson they pick up very quickly. I hope these principals manage to pick up what Dr. Garcia is putting down and follow through with gusto.

Thought that the numbering of students in Denver was an anomaly? Apparently not. From the St. Louis Today comes this additional information.

"All states in the country are in the process of putting in place a student identification system," said Leigh Ann Grant-Engle, data manager for Missouri's education department.

I don’t recall hearing of this sort of plan in Tennessee. If you do—please speak up.

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