Sunday, September 14, 2014

(Update) Register calls for school shake-up, advocates choice at School Board meeting of 9/9/14.

The School Board produces great agendas including most of the handouts that the Board gets. To view your own copy of this 35-page agenda follow this link. This meeting is a little less than 2 hours long.

The first order of business is electing the new chair and vice chair. Dr. Gentry is elected Chair, the other candidate being Jill Speering. Elissa Kim is elected Vice Chair in an uncontested election.

The Director's Report where Dr. Register presents his bold plan for improving Nashville's "priority Schools" starts at time stamp 59:31 in the video. Priority Schools are failing schools that are under threat of being taken over by the State if they do not improve. Priority Schools are schools that rank in the bottom 5% of all Tennessee public schools. Register analyzes the state report pointing out the good and the bad in the report. He calls for a goal of eliminating all priority schools in Nashville within the next three years. There is a period of Q and A with the board. The discussion ends at time stamp 1:46:09.

He says we must have three strategies to turn around failing schools: Great leaders, great teachers, and innovation and collaboration. He says to get great teachers in priority schools we need to consider incentives to attract teachers to the those schools.  He calls for developing transition and conversion strategies and an East Nashville Corridor Strategy which would make the East Nashville corridor an all-choice zone where parents could sent their child to any school of their choice and where some schools are closed or consolidated. We cannot continue business as usual, he says.

One of the highlights of this meeting is comments by Elissa Kim. She is so enthusiastic and animated that it is contagious. She says that one school had an incredible 33 points of academic growth this year and that this should chance one's conception of what is possible. She says Cameron went from a failing school to an award school. See 1:26:13 - 1:30:02.

Resistance to the plan is voiced by Amy Fogge and Will Pinkston.

In my view, the plan laid out by Register is exactly the right course of action. Unfortunately it appears some on the board would rather provide excuses for why schools fail rather than change the way we do things.

To read the Tennessean article reporting on this meeting see: Jesse Register calls for swift shake-up at struggling schoolsThe schools most vocal supporter of School Choice, Elissa Kim, praised the plan while anti-choice zealot Amy Frogge and her two allies, Will Pinkston and Jill Speering, were critical.

Since this meeting, Dr. Register's plan has created a lot of discussion. Below are other recent news articles and editorials generated by Register's proposal.

Metro Schools Director Jesse Register answers questions from The Tennessean

Register Calls for Closing, Chartering, Mandating Choice for East Nashville schools

An editorial by Mayor Karl Dean: 'All hands on deck' only way to transform schools

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