Friday, September 09, 2005

Friday 9/9/05

TSSAA and Katrina:

We've got reports of the numbers of children in Metro Nashville and Knox County , Bristol Bedford County, that are headed for our public school system, homeschoolers are stepping up and helping their own transition and I'm sure that private schools will also be impacted.

At a point where we are just getting out and beginning again it never occurred to me that sports participation was going to be a problem. But apparently it is--er--actually isn't.

[TSSAA Executive Director Ronnie] Carter said student-athletes who produce a change of address with their families will be eligible to participate in sports, if they are academically eligible. He said other cases must be dealt with individually through hardship rulings.

“I don’t think we’ll have to do be doing any investigation to see if they’re still keeping a residence in New Orleans,’’ Carter said. “That’s a bonafide change of resident, wherever they’re going. Move them through. Relieve them of any anxiety. From the Chattanoogan.
And at Greene County Online:

Of course if you're merely a Tennessee homeschooler--don't bother. There are no hardship rulings for you. One of the objections to homeschooler particpation has been that there are such a small number of slots and it isn't fair to give those to students that aren't attending the school. I'm all for compassion for those in these most trying of circumstances but they get one of those precious slots before taxpaying neighbors?

Sullivan County considering consolidation. Several previous efforts have failed:

A resolution sponsored by Commissioner Ralph Harr of Bristol requests the use of professional assistance for the study and would allocate up to $12,000 for the purpose.

The resolution will be discussed Wednesday and Thursday during county committee meetings.

Tennessee officials are examining the possibility of requiring one school system per county.

Well, at least they're honest about its purpose.

From WVLT comes this announcement which seems to come from the Patting Ourselves on the Back Society.

The Tennessee School Boards Association has chosen Johnson City Press education writer Sam Watson to receive its inaugural Horizon Award.

The award goes to one reporter in the state and recognizes a journalist who has developed a relationship with a local school board that benefits both.
Congrats, Sam.

But is the training helping children?

The TSBA is also handing out awards to two Cheatham County school board members.

“Tennessee is very progressive in the training of school board members,” [school board member Barry] Breen added. From The Ashland City Times.

How does participation " in numerous workshops, training sessions and conferences" actually translate into helping "further progress in Cheatham County schools" by way of increased test scores, tax money saved or other quantifiable changes?

Why so few transfers?

This needs some more examination. It's one thing to mandate these transfers from failing schools but if there are no options, no real choices, the mandate is meaningless.

In Knox County, 195 students - or 6.5 percent of those who were eligible - decided to transfer this year. Nationwide, the percentage hovers around 1 percent, according to the nonprofit, Washington, D.C.-based Center on Education Policy.


"I truly think we are following the intent of the law - to give parents the opportunity to get out of schools that are deemed high priority," [Bert] Lanauze [supervisor of the district's Title I department] said. "We will give you 100 percent opportunity to leave if you desire to leave." From KnoxNews.

Leaving and having somewhere to go are two entirely different things.

Great timing for Nashville Sales Tax vote?

Just in time for Tuesday's sales tax referendum vote comes hand wringing about soaring fuel costs for public schools and the influx of Katrina victims.

Metro schools district officials are tracking expenses directly related to the children who enrolled due to Hurricane Katrina in anticipation of some reimbursement from federal agencies. From Nashville City Paper.

And from the MNPS Press Release of 9/7/05:
The scarcity of diesel fuel in Davidson County has temporarily halted all field trips for students in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. The move was initiated as the MNPS fleet encountered empty pumps at some refueling points and increased prices everywhere.
This may be a blessing in disguise. Fewer field trips may actually translate into more concentration on core skills. Which is, after all, why they're in school. Maybe the Frist, the Adventure Science Center and other popular venues could create and expand traveling shows and bring all of that back into the schools. Having a few more folks from the community actually in the schools is a great way to inform the population about their actual condition and needs.

PTA money:

And speaking of tracking the money, let's not use the same accounting practices as this local PTA member did. Seems the state has discovered $140,000 missing. I'm also amazed that the PTA raised that much money in the first place. But to have not provided some serious accountability and oversight was a mistake no school should repeat. Do you know where you're PTA money is? If your PTA is offended at the questions, talk louder and to more people.

And speaking of fundraising:

The pro-income tax folks have raised over $202,000 dollars to spend on persuading voters that we need hand over more money to schools.

Businessman Orrin Ingram spearheaded the pro-tax-increase group’s fundraising campaign, which has marketed itself as rallying votes “for children and seniors.” Ingram donated $50,000 from Ingram Industries. His brother John Ingram’s company, Ingram Entertainment, gave $10,000. The Service Employees International Union, Local 205, gave more than $23,000 in cash and use of its phone-banking truck. Also on the list are businessmen Ben Rechter, Thomas Frist, Jack Bovender and Cal Turner, as well as former Vice Mayor Ronnie Steine and Metro housing/development head Phil Ryan. From The Tennessean.

Umm...maybe we ought to consider getting Mr. Ingram and that Granberry PTA group together and maybe, just maybe eliminate that costly $450,000 vote altogether?

Oh, and is it too much to ask how the Ingram children were educated?

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