Monday, May 12, 2008

Pot meet Kettle


The Tennessean is doing a three part series on Metro Schools. A complaint in this morning's edition is that Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and even the head of the Metro Council's Education Committee, Metro Nashville Councilman Mike Jameson (East Nashville) send their children to private schools. Personally, I think that as long as it takes their tax money and their vote to run the system they have full standing in how it's run. Obviously, Ms. Umberger of the TEA ascribes to the 'you don't have a legitimate voice unless you've got skin in the game' point of view. She may want to rethink that.

This from a segment of the series today:

Cheryl Umberger with the Tennessee Education Association, the teachers union, was more critical of city leaders who opt out of public schools:

"Teachers are very sensitive when the people in charge of making major decisions that govern their school system don't invest in that school system by sending their own children there.

Taxpayers are also very sensitive when the very people who work in the school system say it's not good enough for their own children.

Public school teachers in urban districts send their own children to private schools at a greater level than do other people. From the Thomas Fordham Institute we learn that of the top 50 cities Nashville ranks 38th in the number of teachers that do not enroll their children in the government schools. That's 28.6% of Nashville teachers don't enroll them in MNPS vs. 7.2% of the rest of the population. That's just over 7% more than the national average.

I'll never insist that any child be required to stay in a system that doesn't work for them or their family--a teacher's child included. However, my suggestion is that the teachers in the government schools lead by example and walk the walk before they demand it of others.

1 comment:

Nashteach said...

the teachers in the government schools lead by example and walk the walk before they demand it of others.

Well, fair enough, but if 28.6% do not, that means 71.4% do, so it's hardly fair to make the assertion above that public school teachers do not. And you can give the "all families" figure, but what is it compared to families with college educations? As the page you linked asserts:

"The Fordham study makes clear that--in the absence of publicly funded school choice--the ability to take advantage of such an "opportunity" is a function of income. For example, only 10.3 percent of families with incomes less than $42,000 choose a private school for their children, compared to 35.6 percent of families with incomes exceeding $84,000."

Two-teacher family? Yep, $84,000 seems about right. So the question would be, do teachers choose private school at a higher rate than those families making an equivalent income? I doubt the "7% more" figure is true the case. Further, "the top 50 cities Nashville ranks 38th in the number of teachers that do not enroll their children in the government schools." That's below average.

But, yes, the middle class have all but left public schools in Nashville and something needs to be done about it. "Pot and Kettle" games won't help.

And yes, my kid goes to public school and we are very pleased with it.