"... his five-and-a-half years in Nashville actually make him the second most tenured director among urban districts nationwide. "That's pretty sad. It's likely that this may be part of the problem with so many school districts....lack of continuity at the very top. No system can make serious progress or keep it's standing when they're going through management upheaval on a regular basis.
On to the charter schools:
Meanwhile, the district’s own school enrollment and capacity figures show several school sites that could conceivably accommodate LEAD. Park Avenue Enhanced Option School, for example, had 17 empty classrooms as of late November.
“Well, I’m not going to sacrifice our needs and our resources for their space,” Garcia says of LEAD, adding that the city’s three charters suck up about $4 million in district money and that the school’s application never said it would need space from the district. [Emphasis added.](snip)Let's get this straight....we've got to get past the us v. them in the charter school conversations. These are MNPS students....they're are US. Every day that Dr. Garcia doesn't ensure that they are in safe facilities, he doesn't actively look out for their welfare or allows their needs to go unmet is a day he's in dereliction of his duties. Highland Heights is in shameful condition. We've got better spaces for these children. Quit being territorial and 'do it for the children'.
Garcia offered the Highland Heights building in East Nashville, part of which is currently being used by another charter school, KIPP Academy.
I do agree with Dr. Garcia about Smithson-Craighead Academy charter school. I will be surprised if it actually succeeds. I've no doubt these folks have poured their heart and just about as much effort as anyone can--but it's becoming obvious that it's not working. Their difficulties shouldn't be used to discourage other charters. We just need to make sure that charter's don't use this same educational plan in the future. Frankly, I think a good part of the problem is they're too close to the usual public school model.
And I completely agree with David Fox in the following:
The whole imbroglio has led school board member David Fox to propose that the board’s governance committee address the administration’s treatment of charter schools by adding to its list of “executive expectation” a line item basically saying the director should make a good-faith effort to work productively with charter schools. The committee will take up the proposal in coming months.They should do this immediately--though I realize that it's not likely to make an immediate impact on Garcia's contract. But it will ensure that the BOE is regularly looking at this issue and, I sincerely hope, making sure that these MNPS students get all they need too.
[*The Nashville Scene is an adult publication. If you click on the link above there is no telling what sort of advertisement you'll get to see. Also there is one profanity in the piece.]