Saturday, March 31, 2007

Funding AND Accountability

Metro at large candidate Megan Barry (and wife of Nashville Scene's Bruce Barry a vehement anti-SSA spokesman) broadcast via e-mail a fund raising invitation which contained this paragraph:

"The usual line about public education in Nashville is that we’re making progress because our test scores are increasing. Although there are many bright spots, the fact of the matter is that our public schools continue to be plagued with issues of funding, accountability, and morale. Student scores on state tests are rising, but against national achievement benchmarks we show meager academic progress, and graduation rates are unacceptably low. The Council’s role is to fund the school system, and although money won’t solve every problem, our public schools cannot improve without adequate resources. I will be a forceful advocate for public education; one who believes that funding and accountability go hand-in-hand." (emphasis in the original)

I'm very glad to see her recognize publicly the difference between state test scores and national ones. That gets overlooked too often in the puffy PR.

What will it take?

There are several ways that MNPS parents can get involved in monitoring and impacting the system. As this SSA discussion has revealed--it's wise to get involved early and stay in the loop. I've attended a couple of the Parent Advisory Council meetings and I'm really glad to see that they're taking a few minutes to take stock of their mission and effectiveness.

Their mission, as stated on the MNPS website is:

The role of the parents on the PAC is to share ideas and concerns from their Cluster Parent Groups and then to communicate the responses and other information back to their cluster parent groups. In addition, during the PAC meetings clusters share information with each other so that schools and clusters in different parts of the city can benefit from solutions and successes from elsewhere in the city
I see they haven't uploaded agendas or minutes for quite some time. That's unfortunate. That makes it harder for folks to get up to speed. Anyway the PAC has made the following announcement:

At the next PAC meeting on Monday 4/2/07 at 6:30pm (for the 3/29 meeting). The largest block of time will be spent on the discussion of the PAC. The Goal of the PAC was to help improve communications between the Administration and MNPS parents. Please think about these questions and ask fellow parents the same questions. I need the responses emailed to me or you may bring them to the meeting.

The Questions:
"What will it take for you to become involved in your child's education?"
"What will it take for you to become involved in your child's school?"
"What will it take for you to become involved in the PAC?"

If you're unsure who your PAC representative is you can find that information here.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


The City Paper reports this morning that a new parent group opposing SSA has suddenly been formed.

MPASS [Metro Parents Against Standard School attire] and its 25-plus members hope to reach out to school board members in the coming weeks through e-mail and written letters.
My questions to them is---where have y'all been during this year long process?

Member Ashley Crownover is quoted as saying:
“One of the things that we’re really hoping for is that we can step back and it would be wonderful if this process, which we feel has not been as good as it could be, could just be halted for a moment and we could take a break, a little time for some rational, considered discussion,” Crownover said.
While I applaud parental involvement--the timing is way off. These 25 parents missed the boat. They've had an entire year to communicate with their BOE member, attend public meetings in local schools and at PAC and BOE meetings and voice their concerns and ask their questions, write letters to the editor and generally encourage 'rational, considered discussion.'

Sure the process hasn't been as good as it could have been. Perhaps that's because some folks are just now realizing that they should have spoken up sooner and participated in the discussion 3, 6, 9 or 12 months ago. I'm inclined to say--too bad, so sad. At some point the process has to come to an end. April 10 still gives these 25 parents two weeks to watch the old BOE videos with the SSA committee presentations (start here) and read the formal report (here) and do their research and make their case individually to BOE members. But come April 10 the BOE ought to take a vote--up or down, then and there.

Leading MNEA where?

For the second time in six months, that I can recall, MNEA VP Erick Huth has taken an unnecessarily harsh attitude in his interactions with the MNPS BOE.

Last October when BOE Chair Marsha Warden asked the question that was on the minds of lots of Nashvillians when the union voted down the NAPE incentive pay program:

BOE Chair Marsha Warden wrote MNEA negotiator Eric Huth the day after the vote (Saturday).

Marsha Warden asks:
I am disappointed and curious. How is it that the MNEA voted this measure down? How could it be perceived as being harmful to the interests of teachers in Metro Schools? (emphasis added)
And Huth responds on Sunday:
MNEA has fulfilled the duties proscribed under the EPNA, and I shall not question the results. (snip) One might consider that in any election (including, but not limited to the national election of 2000) that the democratic process is not always smooth, but it is what it is. One's hopes, dreams, wishes, aspirations, and desires do not trump the democratic process. (snip) You may also wish to consider the extent to which your questions interfere with MNEA's representational rights. The ice is thin.
Instead of answering her question, and that of the taxpayers, parents and voters of this city, he instead pushed back very rudely and aggressively and pretty much told her (and us) that it wasn't any of our business and further included a veiled threat.

And today we read in this morning's City Paper that Erick Huth, who is running for the position of president of the union, again overreacted and immediately accused the BOE Chair of interfering with the union by saying:
“My initial thought on the subject was the board was attempting to get involved with something that really was not any of its affair,” Huth said. “I reviewed the bargaining act and I actually sought legal advice on the matter. I was assured since the board had provided the invitation to both of us, they did not violate the [law].”
Do MNEA members really want someone at their helm whose 'immediate thought' is something negative about the BOE's intentions? Someone that cannot recognize honest attempts at communication? Someone who cannot recognize that having a public discussion of public schools could benefit the membership (and the children)? Who doesn't understand the correct legal interpretation of the 'bargaining act'?

If these reports are accurate, in neither instance did Erick Huth respond by asking BOE Chair Marsha Warden if she knew her words could be misunderstood to mean what was his immediate, and wrong, perception. We all know individual teachers who are hard working and selfless in the classroom but when the voice for the entire group of teachers is Erick Huth's strident and uncooperative one--what good is going to come of that?

Teachers are getting their ballots now and have until Tuesday, April 10 at 5:00 p.m. to return them.

Perhaps it was best, for his candidacy, that Erick Huth didn't get a few minutes of free public air time.

UPDATE: Read Nathan Moore's take on the issue. His keyboard has got to be red hot.

He sums up by saying:
It is despicable that the board refused to hear anyone, despite a good faith effort to hear everyone. Huth made a mockery of a more open election, and the school board by its inexplicable vote showed itself the organizational invertebrate we have come to expect. If there was a question who has the upper hand in running the school system, it has been answered.
And Nathan's "Imperfect Attendance" headline reminds me that Erick Huth has missed a LOT of days in the classroom because of his MNEA work.

Monday, March 26, 2007


Three weeks ago we were all thankful that the CMA had generously donated $400,000 for musical instruments for Metro Schools from proceeds of their fan fair event aka CMA Music Festival. This week we learn that via Mayor Purcell's proposed budget:

The Country Music Association would receive $1 million in hotel/motel tax revenues to help pay for the CMA Music Festival and the CMA Awards. Tennessean
That worked out well didn't it? You guys need to space these paybacks further apart. My short term memory is still pretty good.

Previous post:

Musical wish list

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Graffitied Garcia

It's a hoot. This week's Nashville Scene* has a interesting cover story about MNPS Superintendent Pedro Garcia the cover art is a must see--and I can't find a copy of that on their website to link to. You'll have to go to your local library, grocer or coffee shop to check out the graffitied head shot of him and get a good laugh. While you've got it in your hand tear out pages 23-28 and read those at your leisure. But don't let that funny cover fool you...there's definitely some downer material contained in this article. Highlights include
"... 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)

Garcia offered the Highland Heights building in East Nashville, part of which is currently being used by another charter school, KIPP Academy.
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'.

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.]

SSA by more than 2:1

Fresh from the MNPS public relations office is the press release showing overwhelming support across the district from parents surveyed last week about Standard School Attire. Blue is adopt standard attire. Yellow is keep current policy. Burgandy is no preference. From the press release:

MNPS survey shows strong support for Standard Attire

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 22, 2007) – Results of an MNPS survey conducted last week show parents and staff support a switch to Standard School Attire district-wide by a nearly two to one margin.
More than 18,000 people responded to the survey, which was a nonscientific poll using the district’s call-home telephone system. Of those responding, 61.4% asked the district to adopt Standard School Attire, while 31.4% favored the current dress policy and 7.2% had no preference. An analysis of the results by high school cluster also revealed a majority support for Standard School Attire in every cluster. [Emphasis added.]
It's apparent to me that those that were so vehemently against SSA were out of touch with other parents in the district. While they and, I'm sure, their closest associates in their school, were solidly against it--regular folks who have to deal with the daily hassle of ensuring their children are appropriately dressed preferred less choice for the children and more freedom for parents.

It's now up to the BOE to listen to their constituents and vote this in regardless of threats from a few high schoolers who will attempt to throw temper tantrums to get their way, regardless of the threat to leave the system by some parents (who'll likely find stricter policies in private schools) and regardless of the lack of 'empirical' evidence that SSA doesn't guarantee higher scores or lower discipline rates. Superintendent Garcia is right: "School is important" and requiring students to dress for success is just one part of an entire process to ensure their success.

UPDATE: MNPS Spokesman Woody McMillan tells me that the magnet schools were included in the cluster their building is in. Also there is no breakdown by school available. What information is available can be found at

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Pam Garrett resigns

Metropolitan Nashville Board of Education member Pam Garret, representing District 3 has reisgned. District Three covers Joelton, Whites Creek, Neely's Bend, Madison and Goodlettsville. The next step is for the Metro Council to accept nominations and vote on a replacement until the next general election. At that election the voters will choose a replacement to serve until the next usual rotation in 2008.

Here's her letter of resignation as supplied by MNPS this evening.

Pamela B. Garrett
P. O. Box 158554
Nashville, TN 37215

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Dear Board Colleagues, District Administration, Staff and all Nashville Education Stakeholders:

I am writing to tender my resignation from the Metropolitan Nashville Board of Education effective immediately. I leave my post as District 3 Representative to take the position of Executive Director of The Nashville Alliance for Public Education.

Please know that this has been a difficult decision for me because the work of this Board has been my first commitment and obligation for the past seven years. My heart and passion is with the work of this district, and I particularly thank the voters of District 3 for allowing me to serve.

I now feel very privileged to make my avocation my full-time vocation. The work of the Alliance will allow me to continue to support our school district and serve children. An added benefit of this opportunity is that I will not be far away from the many folks whom I have come to respect and admire for what they do for our students everyday.

My very best wishes to you for continued success, and I look forward to working with you in a new capacity.


Pamela B. Garrett

MNPS Press Release:

Garrett Resigns District 3 Board Seat; Will Continue Working For Children

As Executive Director of Nashville Alliance For Public Education

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 14, 2007) Metro Nashville Board of Public Education member Pam Garrett has announced she will resign her District 3 seat to become Executive Director of the Nashville Alliance for Public Education. Her last day of service as a Board member will be today.

"Serving as Executive Director of the Nashville Alliance for Public Education will allow me to continue working for children and Metro Nashville Public Schools," Garrett said. "I am extremely proud of the tremendous progress our schools have made in recent years, and I view my new role with the Nashville Alliance for Public Education as a way to drive additional improvements."

Board Chair Marsha Warden expressed thanks to Garrett for her service as a Board member, and commended the Alliance Board for selecting "such a tremendously dedicated person to lead one of our city's most important efforts to help children."

"Having succeeded Ms. Garrett as Chair of the Board of Education, I know what an incredible job she has done in helping lead our district," Warden said. "She has always put children first, and I know she will continue that when directing the Alliance. While I will certainly miss her service on our Board, I am thankful the leadership of the Nashville Alliance selected such a wise, caring person to direct its efforts."

Garrett is currently in her second four-year term as a member of the Board of Education. It is expected that a replacement Board member will be named by the Metro Council soon; that person will serve as District 3 Board member until the Aug. 2 election. Garrett will replace Kay Simmons, who announced her resignation in December 2006.

"My goal, when the Alliance was formed, was to work to make this organization one which would bring together the community in support of our schools,” Simmons said. “I am proud this has happened and I am excited about its next stage of growth under Pam's leadership.”

The Nashville Alliance for Public Education, established in 2002 by a group of corporate and civic leaders, is dedicated to the goal of improving public education in Nashville, Tennessee. Working in partnership with the Metro Nashville Board of Public Education and the Director of Schools, the Alliance identifies areas of need and impact, and then channels private community resources toward programs that accelerate progress in public schools. Its mission is to build broader and deeper community engagement in public education, and to encourage individuals, businesses and neighborhoods to take ownership of public schools and invest in improvements that can have immediate impact on student achievement.

and then from the NAPE via MNPS:

The following is a separate news release from the Nashville Alliance For Public Education:

Kay Simmons, Executive Director of the Nashville Alliance for Public Education, will officially turn over the reigns of leadership April 15, 2007 to Pam Garrett, former Board member of the Metro Nashville Board of Public Education. Ms. Simmons announced her resignation in December of 2006, but agreed to stay on with the Alliance until a new executive director was named and they had the opportunity to work together for a smooth transition.

“I’m very pleased with the tremendous contributions the Alliance has made to public schools during Ms. Simmons’ tenure,” James Beard, President of the Board of the Nashville Alliance said. “The Alliance has garnered support from a broad base of the community, enabling the schools to improve programs and help students achieve. I’m confident Ms. Garrett will find many friends and partners as she succeeds Ms. Simmons and works to continue building the Alliance and its foundation of benefactors.”

Ms. Simmons joined the Nashville Alliance in September 2003 during its first full year of operations. Since its inception, the Alliance has raised more than $8 million for Metro Nashville Public Schools.

“It has been personally and professionally satisfying to see the growing impact of our efforts,” Ms. Simmons said. “We raised $570,000 from 160 donors in 2003-2004, and in 2005-2006 we ended the year with more than 2,500 donors and more than $5 million in gifts and pledges. I am particularly proud of the partnerships we formed with MNPS to transform the old Eakin School into the Martin Professional Development Center and our plans to renovate Julia Green School with private dollars. These are wonderful examples of private investments and community ownership of our schools.”

Ms. Simmons was appointed executive director of the Nashville Alliance for Public Education in September 2003. Prior to coming to the Alliance to establish the organization, Kay was vice president of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. Kay has more than thirty years of experience in non-profit management and development including service as Director of Institutional Advancement for Montgomery Bell Academy, Assistant Dean for Development for Vanderbilt Law School, Director of Development and Interim Headmaster for University School of Nashville, Director of External Programs for Vanderbilt Law School, and Associate Director of Development for Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. She has been a fundraising consultant for numerous institutions including the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and the Nashville Public Library. Kay currently serves as President of Greenways for Nashville. She has served on the Education Committee of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, and the Vestry of Christ Church Cathedral.

When Ms. Simmons leaves the Alliance in April, she will partner with Kent Communications, an organization that focuses on strategic planning and communication pieces for non-profits.

Let them wear khaki

Bruce Barry (husband of Metro Council at Large Candidate Megan Barry) opines in today's Nashville Scene that Standard School Attire is akin to the Emperor's New Clothes. There's nothing there. I completely disagree with him. I do think that sloppy dress encourages sloppy attitudes. I'll offer as Exhibit 1 the very online page his opinion appears on where a young woman is wearing what is not that far away from what is becoming by default 'standard school attire'.

Educators and administrators have enough to do without having to explain to clueless children and their amazingly clueless parents that bare skin in certain areas and phrases across portions of bodies is distracting to others and demeaning to the wearer. And that "dressing for success" is a truism. We're not talking about enveloping everyone in burkas here--we're talking about plain, serviceable and inexpensive clothing.

Bruce spends a lot of time on negative ink but doesn't mention the testimony of the Isaac Litton Principal who maintains that nothing other than attire was changed in her school and the results were dramatic. First person evidence gets a lot more weight with me than iffy studies elsewhere.

He also doesn't mention the fact that the parents on the committee came with their own minds made up as evidenced by their presentation in January and actually did their point of view a great disservice with their aggressive attitude.

It's interesting to me that this SSA debate has revealed, again, a level of class warfare that is always simmering just below the surface of the 'public' education debates.

Previous Posts:

Teacher Union legislative report

Each week during the legislative session the Tennessee Education Association provides an overview of legislation they support and oppose. Don't wait to read these. They haven't archived these in the past.

Choice: Last week's included solid objection to charter and virtual schools along with vouchers and help for private pre-K programs. Obviously they are eager to protect their educational monopoly regardless of whether these options are good for children.

Money for Classrooms--Not: Requiring 65% of the BEP money actually get to the classroom is objectionable to this union because it could impact 'support services'. I hope that teachers on the front line, in those classrooms, (many of whom are union members) go back to this union leadership and remind them that the classroom is where the bulk of this money belongs.

Feeding Children: Further TEA objects to reducing the sales tax on food. These very same union leaders will likely also demand expansion of school breakfast and lunch programs recognizing that some families cannot afford to feed their children and good nutrition is essential to the learning process. But we cannot allow those families that extra 1/2 cent to help them do the job themselves. Please, folks, we're currently running a budget surplus of over $115 million. Money isn't the problem. It's where the money goes that's the biggest problem. Let's leave more at home--the first and best 'support service'.

Lottery Bank of Tennessee:

And they want to carve out their own little lottery niche:

Legislation has been introduced which will provide financial assistance to individuals preparing to be teachers in the areas of mathematics or science. SB 223/HB 450 would require that the Tennessee Student Association Corporation (TSAC) administer a loan-scholarship program for students training to become mathematics or science teachers.
Do we really want the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (that's student assistance) enabling these fledgling adults to get into debt? Why is a lottery scholarship not sufficient? Oh, yeah, that's right, it's akin to pay for performance.

Gov. Bredesen has already suggested in his State of the State address that lottery funds be used for loans to local school districts. I'll remind you that the excess funds are artificially created by not fully funding scholarships for students.
This session, I will ask the General Assembly to pass legislation to enable us to set up a state-wide bond pool which will give individual school districts access to capital at the lowest possible cost—the lowest possible transaction cost and the lowest possible interest cost. This will particularly help smaller rural districts.

In order to give that pool the credit it needs to borrow as inexpensively as possible, I will ask you to transfer $100 million from the lottery reserves—about a quarter of the total—to this bond pool for use in enhancing credit; getting the best possible bond rating and interest rate.
And the referenced legislation allows TSAC to use funds from sources other than the lottery losings to provide these loans. Do we really want the TSAC to become a banking entity? I don't.

Debt is a dangerous and unforgiving master. The State of Tennessee should not become one of its partners.

Equal Pay for Equal Work?: And don't even talk about tying pay to performance.

It's a sad list.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Heads up: TeenScreen at Hume Fogg

TeenScreen is scheduled for Hume Fogg High School this Tuesday and Wednesday March 13 & 14. Concerned and interested parents will want to read the information packet very carefully and do some research on their own about the program before returning those permission forms.

Previous posts: (last entry).

UPDATE: Yes, the Tennessee Voices for Children group is sponsoring this effort as I suspected would be the case in last Wednesday's post.

Here's the material and permission slip going home with students (page one of this .pdf was the fax cover sheet from Hume Fogg). I wouldn't call this informed consent at all--but then again, I'm just a parent, not a medical professional.

They offer parents the opportunity to review the materials. Hopefully, on an actual parent copy they give you actual contact information to do this. With something as controversial as TeenScreen I'd think that to be a very good idea.

There is reference to a student 'assent' form, a copy of which isn't provided.

They deny that this is funded by the pharmaceutical companies. Well, since they just got $2.8 million from the Feds--I guess they can use that pharma money for lights and computers instead.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Musical wish list

Good news in this morning's Tennessean. The County Music Association has committed to providing substantial donations to Metro Schools. This is great and I'm always glad to hear the community step up and meet an important need. This $400,000 is a great start.

In the meantime Inglewood's Isaac Litton Middle School's band instrument wish list could use a similar gracious patron. They provided me this fairly specific list but I know they'll be thankful for suitable substitutions.

2 ea 3/4 Holton Tubas
1 ea Kawai ES4 (88key) Piano Keyboard
1 ea Amplifier for keyboard (KMA 65X)
5 ea Conn Trumpets
5 ea Selmer Clarinets
5 ea Armstrong Flutes
5 ea Conn Trombones
2 ea Conn Single French Horns
2 ea Holton double French Horns
2 ea King Baritone Horns
2 ea Selmer Alto Saxophones
2 ea Selmer Tenor Saxophones
2 ea Concern Snare Drums
1 ea Ludwig Concern Bass Drum
1 set Ludwig Orchestral Bells
1 ea Ludwig Xlophone
1 ea Ludwig Marimba
The total here is about $23,000.

You can direct your tax deductible donation to:
Isaac Litton Middle School
4601 Hedgewood Drive
Nashville, TN 37216
Thanks for whatever help you can provide.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Tennessee gets an F

from the US Chamber of Commerce in the category "Truth in Advertising About Student Proficiency". We also get an F for postsecondary and workforce readiness. Aren't workforce and postsecondary education readiness the whole reason for a public education system?

Check out their very colorful and clear chart of all the states and where Tennessee stands on their report card. Roll your cursor toward the right hand side and then click on Tennessee's bar to lock the view.

We're number 12 from the bottom. Overall we're below average according to the US Chamber of Commerce.


John H. asked in the comments in the post below:

Kay - are you suggesting that someone in Tennessee Voices for Children is considering using the 'Teen Screen' program, or just hoping that they wouldn't consider such a thing?

Yes, Teen Screen has already been conducted by Tennessee Voices for Children in MNPS. Here's the Teen Screen brochure I picked up while at the BOE this past summer. It says that 170 Hillwood students were surveyed in the winter of 2002. The graphic shows the sponsors and the brochures says that the effort was coordinated by NAMI Nashville, Inc. (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill).

According to the brochure 36 of the original 170 students were referred to case management. "One student in crisis was transported immediately to the hospital, and another was evaluated and received immediate treatment."

The brochure says the screening is conducted in approximately 2-3 hours in four phases: a paper screening, a computerized Voice DISC survey, a mental health clinician reviews the DISC report and interviews the student, and then if treatment is indicated, a case manager will refer to local facilities with a TeenScreen follow-up for three months.

And as you can see from this second graphic, according to them, MNPS is recommending this program be included in the Wellness Curriculum for 9th and 10th grade students.

According to TeenScreen as late as 2005 the Tennessee Department of Mental Health was the recipient of a grant for this program.

This anti-TeenScreen website lists Glencliff, Hillwood, Hunters Lane and Stratford as having participated in this program. These are confirmed by a Tennessee Voices newsletter on page 6 of this .pdf.

Tn Department of Health newsletter dated May/June 2002 in .pdf page 4 reports the Hillwood information.

Let me say clearly, that I picked up this brochure from a hall display at the Central Office this past summer while on the BOE. Other than including that 2002 date for the Hillwood study it is undated and I do not know the status of this program for MNPS at this time.

UPDATE: TeenScreen was dumped in Kenosha, Wi on Tuesday in favor of something called "Signs of Suicide". Another program which has ties to the pharmaceutical industry according to this site.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Charter's work--very well

From Business Tennessee of March 2007:

A recent study of Tennessee charter schools conducted by a University of Memphis professor (and principal investigator for the statewide evaluation program) reveals that these public schools operated independently of local school boards and their educational philosophies are working in Tennessee.

Steven M. Ross, director of the Center for Research in Educational Policy at U of M charted the academic progress (among other criteria) of children enrolled in second-year charter schools in Tennessee, comparing their academic data to highly similar individual students attending traditional public schools in Tennessee. The results? According to Ross’ student-to-student comparisons, charter school students and their parents are experiencing a significant, statistically measurable academic advantage over their peers in traditional public schools. The data paints a considerably different picture than national studies overly reliant on mere test score discrepancies between charter students and the general population. (emphasis added)
I've found the University of Memphis' Center for Research in Education Policy (CREP) research page but I'm not exactly sure which of these is the one referred to in this Business Tennessee opinion piece. I've emailed Dr. Ross asking for a copy or the URL.

Business Tennessee goes on to opine:
Arguably, the infusion of more free market options into our state’s educational system would markedly improve the business friendliness of every community in the state. And based on our educational rankings to date, what has Tennessee got to lose?
I whole heartedly agree. I regularly get email from people who, for business reasons, are moving to the area. Tennessee is surrounded by 8 other states and these people frequently have the option of living in other states even if their job is in Tennessee. These people are researching the best education options for their children and tell me that they will decide where to live based, largely, on the education freedom and choices available. Let's give them another good reason to locate in Tennessee.

UPDATE: 3/1/07 2:59 p.m. This from Dr. Ross of CREP:
The study is commissioned for and owned by TN DOE. So, we turn it into them, but aren’t privileged to release copies.
I've left a message for Tn DOE Communications Director Rachel Woods asking how I could obtain a copy.