Friday, December 14, 2007

Another committee

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean's Project For Student Success team certainly seems an impressive list of people at first. I haven't finished linking to their associations/memberships but it's obvious to see too many of them have already had opportunity to voice their opinions about what should be done--and here we are. I don't believe they're going to bring much new to the table and so I doubt they'll make any real impact. Maybe the magic is in the shuffling of the deck, but I doubt it. I look toward 2008 and see that Garcia has one foot out of the door and BOE elections are upcoming and so 5/9ths of the board is in limbo until after August elections and the state DOE is in the house and realize that this group can study and conclude all they want but there isn't a driver on this bus.

The only way we're going to improve our schools is to take them back from the "professionals". A couple of weeks ago the mayor meet with community leaders at the library and he emphasized the necessity of neighborhood groups being involved in schools. He encouraged the groups to have one person as a designated contact person for their local school. I couldn't agree more. Neighbors, taxpayers, parents, voters being in these schools on a regular basis, hearing first hand testimonies about what is going on and how it impacts children will motivate people to hold the system accountable and create real change that can be seen rather quickly.

Bruce Barry of the Nashville Scene [adult site] has some good comments. Why are Garcia and Warden on this list? As a courtesy? The time for courtesy is past, I'm afraid.

Let's hope they can be effective via e-mail because I also have my doubts that you can get this large a group together very often, if at all.

Project for Student Success Team members: I've started to include links to more info on them and [notes] need to head out. I'll finish this weekend. Feel free to include your own links and observations about these folks.

Carla Aaron, executive director of Child Safety for Tennessee Department of Children’s Services
Yousuf Ahmad, student at Hillsboro High and chair of Mayor’s Youth Council
Alene Arnold, parent [Hillsboro Cluster parent and member 2007 Chamber Report Card Committee]
Hal Balthrop, parent
Jim Bearden, CEO of Gresham Smith & Partners
Camilla Benbow, dean of Vanderbilt University
Mary Bufwack, CEO, United Neighborhood Health Services [board member Tennessee Justice Center]
Hal Cato, executive director of Oasis Center
Robert Churchwell, assistant principal of Gra-Mar Middle
Steve Cook, vice president of Dell Computers
Rodger Dinwiddie, executive director of Center for Youth Issues – STARS [also on Alignment Nasvhille Board of Directors]
Rev. Rueben Dockery of Bethel Family Church and BFC Missions [previous BFC charter school application was denied]
Randy Dowell, principal of KIPP Academy
Vincent Durnan, director of University School of Nashville
Marsha Edwards, executive director of Martha O’Bryan Center [also on Operating Board for Alignment Nashville]
Kim Finch, principal of Stratford High
Committee Vice-Chair: Bob Fisher, president of Belmont University [Board of Directors Alignment Nashville, Board of Directors Nashville Chamber of Commerce, PENCIL Foundation and NAPE]
Elizabeth Fox, community activist [heavy poster on the Nashville PTO Talk list]
Darrell Freeman, president and CEO of Zycron Inc. [Board of Directors Nashville Chamber of Commerce]
Allison Halbrook, teacher at Maplewood High
MNPS Director of Schools Dr. Pedro Garcia
Adrian A. Granderson, president and CEO of 100 Black Men of Middle TN
Judge Betty Green, Metro Juvenile Court
Journey Johnson, president and CEO, YMCA of Middle TN
Melvin Johnson, president of Tennessee State University [Frist Center Board of Trustees]
Julie Lamb, community activist in Bellevue/Hillwood area [formerly head of the MNPS Parents Adisory Council and ran unsuccessfully against CM Eric Crafton of Bellevue]
Rev. Clint Lewis of Mt. Hopewell MB Church [Chamber of Commerce Report Card Committee]
Brenda Morrow, director of Edgehill Family Resource Center [Alignment Nashville Adolescent Sexual Responsibility Committee, MNPS Strategic Plan committee member]
Cesar Muedas, parent [former president of Committee of Latino Parents]
Committee Vice-Chair: Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors [former Nashville councilman-at-large, member Tennessee Alliance for Early Education, Director Vanderbilt Child and Family Center]
Michael Nettles, senior vice president of Educational Testing Service
Eric Polk, recent MNPS graduate
Cara Robertson, parent
Ralph Schulz, CEO of Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce [formerly the Adventure Science Center]
Chief Ronal Serpas, Metro Nashville Police Department
Julie Simone, teacher at H.G. Hill Middle
Ashley Stevenson, student at Overton High
George H. Van Allen, president of Nashville State Community College
MNPS BOE Chair Marsha Warden , chair of Metro Board of Education [up for reelection in August]
Roy Wilson, director of Metro Parks & Recreation


Buckley said...

Yes, there is one gentleman on the committee who was also on the Strategic Plan Committee; he is the director of a non-profit. I do not know him but have heard good things. However, it should be noted, the very year he served on this committee, MNPS payments to his non-profit jumped from $30,000 to $298,000. At the same time, class sizes rose. Those of us who meet with and see students on a daily basis have less time to counsel our students. We have less time to "touch base" with them individually and encourage their academic, social and emotional success. Many counselors in the system, who are great, simply do not have the same contact with kids. We teachers are counselors, instructors, coaches, etc. I'm sorry but the truth is these extra services make it more likely students will fall through the cracks. The money for them displace funds for regular classroom teachers, they are not in addition to.

But can we truly have total trust that these non-profit leaders, who I am sure are sincere in their efforts, can we truly trust that they go into this process open minded about the best way to spend mnps's limited resources?

I've got $20 that says one proposal out of the group is a new kind of counselor. Any takers?

Buckley said...

BTW, thanks for all the links!

din819go said...

Thanks for correcting who Elizabeth Fox is -- she is a realtor who I doubt has much knowledge on what is going on in the public schools. It will be interesting to see what the committee does if anything