Wednesday, December 20, 2006

They're all pro-education

Some statements from the Nashville mayoral candidates to consider. Yes, it's still early but I was curious to see how they stood at this point in time. CM At-Large Buck Dozier has certainly given the rest of the field some things to consider. He's exactly right--they'll all say they're 'pro-education' but what does that really mean? Buck's pretty clear, but the rest...

David Briley: "As your Mayor, I'll remain committed to building on the progress we've made in education. With continued proper funding and accountability, our children will get the quality education they need to succeed in today's global marketplace." David Briley's website

Bob Clement: "As a native Nashvillian, Bob Clement attended Metro public schools and graduated from Hillsboro High School. As the former president of Cumberland University, Bob Clement understands the challenges that principals, teachers, and students constantly face. He is committed to providing a QUALITY EDUCATION for all students. As Mayor, he will oppose efforts to drain money from public education and fight to make Nashville schools stronger. Educational opportunities are critically important for our students." Bob Clement's website

Karl Dean: On education, Dean said it is “the key to our identity…. As mayor, I pledge that I will be a tireless advocate for creative management of our school system. I will be a tireless advocate for adequate funding for our school system. I firmly believe that if we had schools that our children deserve, that we would not have to spend a penny on business recruitment. People would be flocking to Nashville. My goal is that people would move to Nashville for the schools — that’s what we’ll accomplish.” Nashville City Paper 12-20-2006

Note the David Fox in the article is NOT the David Fox currently on the school board.

Buck Dozier: [Who is getting more space because he's proposed more.] Read his 11 page statement calling for this mayoral race to be a referendum on education. This is from the City Paper of 12/15/06.

Laying out a preliminary eight-point plan for improving education in Nashville, which he called the The Athens Project, Dozier said he would use the mayor’s office as a bully pulpit to advocate for education reform and would strongly support school choice if elected.

And he would launch a 10-year capital campaign to create a $1 billion capital endowment for the public school system — with a goal of providing $75 million annually for “additional teachers, smaller class sizes, pre-K programs, music and art instruction” among other educational programs.

“Once upon a time, Nashville was regarded as the Athens of the South … We earned the title because Nashville was regarded back in the 1800s as a place of progressive thinkers, a place that was home to numerous institutions of higher learning, a place where, as in the times of Ancient Greece, thinking and learning were held in high regard,” Dozier said in a speech at the announcement, held in the Metro Council chamber downtown.

“Nashville is still home to numerous higher education institutions, and we have many progressive thinkers — but somehow we lost the title of Athens over time. What remains of this distinction are symbols that many citizens do not even recognize,” Dozier continued, saying he would fashion Nashville into the “Athens of Education in America.”

Dozier said he would commission an independent audit of the school system to determine how many dollars are flowing unnecessarily into the bureaucracy.

Dozier also said he would firmly support school choice — “A key success to learning starts with parental buy-in to their child’s education. One way I see to ensure greater buy-in is to give parents real options for schooling,” Dozier said.

Then, after the press conference, he elaborated: “I am 100 percent behind choice — charter schools, home schooling are some of the … aspects of choice in our community. … I welcome quality alternatives to public education — I don’t see them as a threat to public education at all; they actually enhance the learning environment in Nashville.”
Kenneth Eaton: "I will improve education by improving Technology in the schools . Improvements in computers and software, as well as more classes offering Technology training. This will improve our workforce's preparedness for this new movement to a Technology based economy." Kenneth Eaton's website

Howard Gentry: No specific comments from this candidate and nothing on his website.

David Pelton: “Education is the foundation from which everything else can grow. As my own children go through the public education system I want them and every other child in Nashville to have the tools they need to compete in a world economy. Great education will help reduce crime and attract business investment.” Dave Pelton's website

3 comments:

Tom said...

Dozier's plan is moderately detailed, but poorly written and blandly formatted. And the ALL CAPS- I wouldn't accept that from my 9th graders. If he wants to fight for the "Athens of the South," he's going to need a better editor and marketing team.

The whole "best practices" thing is the latest buzzword in education. Nothing that original there.

I like what he says about some of the schools being too big, but will the alternatives only be non-public schools?

Then, after the press conference, he elaborated: “I am 100 percent behind choice — charter schools, home schooling are some of the … aspects of choice in our community. … I welcome quality alternatives to public education — I don’t see them as a threat to public education at all; they actually enhance the learning environment in Nashville.”

How about more choices within public education? And I thought one of the points of charters was to be a threat- to serve up some competition.

Notice the subtle difference in these two statements:

"As Mayor, [Clement] will oppose efforts to drain money from public education and fight to make Nashville schools stronger."

And Briley: "With continued proper funding and accountability, our children will get the quality education they need to succeed in today's global marketplace."

IMHO, Clement's got the better line about funding- the essential mayoral priority on schools: not starting so many projects that you have to pare essential services or raise taxes to keep up. I like Briley better, but Clement's line is the one I look for. At least Briley's got the "accountability" statement in there.

I wish Gentry were trying a little harder, poor thing. He's such a nice guy.

Kay Brooks said...

I assumed, I've no way of knowing, that the all caps is because they threw up on the web the document they created for him to read from as he gave the speech. All caps is preferred by many speakers and it appears to me that they didn't take the time to retype it.

In my book Dozier gets credit for actually putting some things out there that we can at least discuss. No short PC statement. We may not like all his ideas but the discussion is necessary.

Clement's 'drain money from public education' line reminds me of those who abhor charter school and say they're draining money from public schools when they ARE public schools. I dare say that the bureaucracy drains more from actual education than any charter school.

Briley's right to balance funding and accountability. That lack of accountability is partly why the tax referendum failed so miserably. I maintain that folks are willing to pay for good schools if they can see that they actually are good. The BOE needs to provide much more information about the running of the schools to earn that trust.

Tom said...

they threw up on the web the document they created for him to read from as he gave the speech.

That makes sense. Still, they should clean it up for people to look at.

In my book Dozier gets credit for actually putting some things out there that we can at least discuss. No short PC statement. We may not like all his ideas but the discussion is necessary.

I agree. It drives me nuts the whole "I'm for schools" knee jerk statement. It means nothing and they shouldn't insult our intelligence.

Clement's 'drain money from public education' line reminds me of those who abhor charter school and say they're draining money from public schools when they ARE public schools. I dare say that the bureaucracy drains more from actual education than any charter school.

Maybe we're each reading this from our own "lens," but I took it to mean being careful about spending on semi(?)private projects like a convention center, sports teams' stuff, money the council appropriates for itself like the nonprofit "giveaways" that won't really make a difference except in difficulties making ends meet in the budget down the road. I know who they'll expect to get in front of the camera and beg for more money.