Thursday, September 21, 2006

Suffer not the little children

KIPP Academy has been one of two red-headed step children in the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools system. Despite the fact that these children are part of the public school system and are testing very well the administration seems to regularly snub them and give them the remainders. The lastest snub these children are suffering is that two months after they've begun their school year Superintendent Pedro Garcia is insisting that the children be pulled from the educational system that's working for them and be returned to their zoned schools now that those schools are no longer failing.

Liz Garrigan of the Nashville Scene reports that Pedro Garcia is failing to communicate with the school and is failing to follow the directions of the State Department of Education.

At its core, this conflict, which also applies to a group of students at Smithson-Craighead charter school that the system wants removed, illustrates a frustrating reality: that the Metro school administration, and at least a few members of the school board, resent charter schools and only grudgingly approved them in Nashville. There’s a kind of antagonism, rooted in a sort of territorial instinct, that pervades the relationship between public school educators and reform educators.
She's exactly right. Don't even begin to repeat the "Whatever it takes" motto of MNPS. Don't even repeat the new mantra of "Relevance, Rigor and Relationship'. Both are wasted breath in light of this development. This clearly demonstrates that the goal is not educating the children but protecting the system, the union jobs, and the power base.

Shame on Pedro Garcia and every school board member that doesn't hold his feet to the fire and his job on the line and require him to immediately let those children stay in their charter schools which are doing the job of educating them.

UPDATE: Liz Garrigan reports Pedro Garcia has backed off.

And, this afternoon, Garcia tells the Scene that the state board is echoing such a posture to Metro lawyers. As a result, the schools director says, he will call off the demand. He called Dowell earlier this afternoon to communicate that.

“Based on that interpretation, we’ll follow that,” Garcia says. “We were following our attorney’s interpretation.”

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