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Comment Archives: stories: News: Cover Story

Re: “As students and parents opt out of their zoned schools, will the system entice them to find their way back?

Thank-you for an excellent article Andrea.

Another case study would be the family of a fifth grader who has just moved to Williamson County. The Vanderbilt study you cited shows a bump in attrition in the fourth grade: could some of these be Meigs lottery losers or those who choose to remove themselves without even taking a chance on the lottery? You would have to ask.

You have noted that parents exercising choice in East Nashville have partially emptied some of the schools there. There is so much free space that MNPS could create another academic magnet middle and high school with no new construction. I suggest converting Gra-Mar MS and Maplewood HS. (q.v. http://goo.gl/akj0Vm ).

The arguments against creating another academic magnet typically cite diversity, transportation and starving the cluster high schools of honors and AP classes, never what is best for the student. The diversity argument is the most insidious: a single, secret complainant to the EEOC says Hume-Fogg fails to meet the MNPS diversity guidelines. I'll wager that the complainant simply wants a spot for their eligible child, wouldn't we all? Your article points out that Nashville itself fails to meet the MNPS diversity criteria and it will until many, many more wealthy white families move to Williamson County. Hume-Fogg looks just like Nashville; they are just luckier in lotteries I guess.

You have an exciting year ahead of you: the magnet school lotteries, the East Nashville choice plan, the hiring of a new schools director and the Mayoral election. Stay on top of public education Andrea. Thanks for being there for us.

4 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Roy Wellington on 12/19/2014 at 10:17 PM

Re: “As students and parents opt out of their zoned schools, will the system entice them to find their way back?

"The beauty of living in an urban envirornment is that we are privileged to mingle with people from all walks of life."

Go mingle in a housing project in the early A.M.

6 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Modern Elmo on 12/19/2014 at 9:52 PM
Posted by Modern Elmo on 12/19/2014 at 9:50 PM

Re: “Is Orthodox Jewish gun dealer Bill Bernstein an obnoxious right-wing agitator or a lovable curmudgeon? Either way, he's a progressive's worst nightmare.

I have lived next door to the Bernsteins for years. And the comments about Bill being a racist ( I am white & my husband is black while other close neighbors are Greek and S. Korean) are quite comical. It truly goes to prove that people make judgement calls based on pictures, handles, avatars and quotes. This family, though shy in the beginning, is very kind, hardworking & selfless. We couldnt ask for better neighbors.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Shawnee on 12/19/2014 at 2:44 PM

Re: “As students and parents opt out of their zoned schools, will the system entice them to find their way back?

To be fair, the article and facts presented brought it up. I just highlighted it to show at people are, basicallY, the same all over.

6 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Diatribean$ on 12/19/2014 at 7:26 AM

Re: “As students and parents opt out of their zoned schools, will the system entice them to find their way back?

Diatribean$, I'm glad you brought up the point about "diversity cheerleaders in East Nashville self-segregating". I'm an East Nashville parent and former teacher who chose to send my child to Lockeland Design Center 5 years ago, partly because, at the time, diversity existed there. The former principal used to go to Cayce Homes to recruit minority students, and it worked. The current principal is known to have made at least one comment about LDC being "East Nashville's best kept secret", and she told one of the only black teachers there a couple of years ago that she didn't fit "the look" of LDC. That veteran teacher of 20 years has since been forced to transfer. I have grown increasingly disappointed about the lack of diversity at LDC over the past 5 years (although I love and support the teachers). It's now time for my child to attend middle school next year, and we have chosen East Middle, our pathway school, partly because of the diversity the school offers. I don't want my child to go to an isolated, mainly white school like so many in Williamson Co. The beauty of living in an urban envirornment is that we are privileged to mingle with people from all walks of life. Students of differing races/cultures/religions/socio-economics/political viewpoints can learn so much from each other, especially to be understanding and accepting of one another.

13 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by EastParent on 12/18/2014 at 9:45 PM

Re: “As students and parents opt out of their zoned schools, will the system entice them to find their way back?

What TennesseeJed Said ... especially if one thinks about the district approach to slamming the one-size-fits-all policies on the academic magnets, in effect sabotaging and undermining them in their attempts to fulfill their unique missions. Because it is so spot-on, I will quote for emphasis: "It is difficult for [even the academic magnet] schools in MNPS to challenge students due to system policies. If a student refuses to take an exam, you must give that student a 50, not a zero. [If a student cheats outright, you must give that student a 50, not a zero.] [There is pressure on teachers to not] count off points for late work; students have the ability to turn in work days or weeks late with no consequence. Students [expect] to retake tests for which they chose not to prepare the first time they were given. None of these things make students 'college and career ready', and indeed lead to institutional grade inflation. These policies can be a great thing in the right class, in the right school, in the right situation [if they are used sparingly with teacher discretion]. But putting blanket policies like this system wide with no variation is typical of MNPS and makes the idea of a 'challenging' curriculum nearly impossible. ... MNPS [academic magnet] schools have their hands tied by blanket policies."

4 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by keepingMyHeadLow on 12/18/2014 at 7:21 PM

Re: “As students and parents opt out of their zoned schools, will the system entice them to find their way back?

Let me rephrase my initial post - that would be quite an indictment of those teachers and the leadership in that particular school, not MNPS as a whole.

I have to think that most children in MNPS who need more of a challenge can find it with a teacher or two inside their own buildings, especially if their parents are as engaged as the one noted in the Brandon mini-story.

10 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Diatribean$ on 12/18/2014 at 1:45 PM

Re: “As students and parents opt out of their zoned schools, will the system entice them to find their way back?

Diatribean$, on a closer read, I think you are correct. My first read of the story left me with the impression in my first comment, with those statements being so close to the remarks about parents leaving JT Moore.

13 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by parent on 12/18/2014 at 1:15 PM

Re: “As students and parents opt out of their zoned schools, will the system entice them to find their way back?

Parent, thou protest too much. There are zero quotes attributed to JT Moore parents, and one throwaway line about not liking a principal which could be about any school.

The point about the JT Moore story is that, despite the best intentions of parents to stay in the zoned pathway, stuff happens and people drop out, they do so for different and varying reasons, and they recognize that they have strayed from their original intent and that it puts strains on neighborly relationships. Nevertheless, you've got to do what you've got to do for your family. That is a story that can be heard in different pathways throughout MNPS (and you see it a bit earlier in the story when you find out that the diversity cheerleaders in East Nashville self-segregate as much as those titans of industry in West Nashville).

14 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Diatribean$ on 12/18/2014 at 1:05 PM

Re: “As students and parents opt out of their zoned schools, will the system entice them to find their way back?

There is a major omission in what was otherwise a good article. The comments you cite from former JT Moore parents who left the school are in reference to a former principal and alleged actions of a that former principal, not the current administration of the school. JT Moore's current principal, Dr. Gary Hughes, is beloved by parents, students, and the neighborhood, has overseen an increase in enrollment, and is one of the school's major selling points. By leaving the impression that the principal drives parents away, without specifying that the principal referenced is no longer there, you've done a huge disservice to an excellent administrator and thriving middle school.

17 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by parent on 12/18/2014 at 12:30 PM

Re: “As students and parents opt out of their zoned schools, will the system entice them to find their way back?

Well, the quoted statement specifically refers to a student doing well and who needs more work and you are giving examples of different kinds of kids. I agree that there is some teaching to the lowest-common-denominator, and I acknowledge that that can be warranted.

I also know that public education is intended to serve all students. Presumably, those in charge at Brandon's school at the time attended school past the 6th grade. With the knowledge they gained beyond that grade, they should have been able to devise some way to challenge him. The "curriculum" need not have challenged Brandon on the whole; as a student with special needs, those needs should have been evaluated and attended to. Where was the teacher or administrator to take an interest in an exceptional student getting swept up in wave of mediocrity?

Finally:

I don't believe that more than one teacher suggested that he should attend another school in order to be challenged. That was the point of my original post. If multiple teachers in a school tell a kid to ***look elsewhere for someplace to learn*** - that is unbelievable. If true, terrible.

11 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Diatribean$ on 12/18/2014 at 11:10 AM

Re: “As students and parents opt out of their zoned schools, will the system entice them to find their way back?

It is difficult for schools in MNPS to challenge students due to system policies. If a student refuses to take an exam, you must give that student a 50, not a zero. Teachers cannot count off points for late work; students have the ability to turn in work days or weeks late with no consequence. Students must be given a chance to retake tests for which they chose not to prepare the first time they were given. None of these things make students 'college and career ready', and indeed lead to institutional grade inflation. These policies can be a great thing in the right class, in the right school, in the right situation. But putting blanket policies like this system wide with no variation is typical of MNPS and makes the idea of a 'challenging' curriculum nearly impossible. Indeed, it's these very things that put MNPS schools at a competitive disadvantage with charters. Charters can be flexible; MNPS schools have their hands tied by blanket policies.

11 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by TennesseeJed on 12/18/2014 at 10:45 AM

Re: “As students and parents opt out of their zoned schools, will the system entice them to find their way back?

Thank you for this article.


This is quite an indictment of MNPS, if true:

"Brandon's teachers suggested that maybe he should go to a school that would challenge him more."

13 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Diatribean$ on 12/18/2014 at 9:13 AM

Re: “Murfreesboro was outsmarted by a bucket, a man humped an ATM, plus more strange and downright stupid behavior from 2014

my classmate's ex-wife makes $67 every hour on the computer . She has been laid off for 5 months but last month her pay was $21614 just working on the computer for a few hours. more info here ,,,, <<<

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by KeriVWomack on 12/17/2014 at 1:16 AM

Re: “Murfreesboro was outsmarted by a bucket, a man humped an ATM, plus more strange and downright stupid behavior from 2014

Where is the Amp in this year's hit parade of Boners?

Possibly not mentioned because the Scene's staff is too friendly with the nice folks at McNeely Piggott & Fox, who devoted so much time and energy to trying to sell this turkey of a transit plan to skeptical Nashvillians?

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by insolent bystander on 12/16/2014 at 10:56 AM

Re: “What a three-year public records fight revealed about the TSSAA’s financial aid rules and the school that broke them

If assisting financially a family who wishes their child to get a better education is a violation of principle than so is feeding kids from needy families at a public school a free breakfast. It's pretty clear that in MBA's case it was not only students who happened to be athletes that received financial help. And it also suggests that financial assistance was not provided as a means of recruiting the kid - rather just helping an already enrolled student attending to stay at the school, or an employee of the school afford the tab. The comment above from the student who was an artist, and his knowledge of a friend who was a musician receiving similar help to that of a student who participated in athletics is telltale enough of the philosophy of the school to help needy students attend the school. The ink and attention paid to the issue, and the TSSAA regs and battles in the past to separate the pubic from the private schools' level playing field is atrocious. Look at all the kids receiving some type of financial assistance at the public schools whether in the form of school lunches, clothing, transportation and the like. Then look at the students at private schools receiving aid who may be on athletic teams but second and third team players, or players in the life sports of golf, tennis, etc., but certainly not Division I recruits nor national calibre talents. You would see how foolish is this entire argument. And truthfully, it wouldn't be any argument at all if state championships in basketball and football hadn't been involved. Should MBA have some type of sanctions for not following the paperwork requirements of TSSAA, well maybe - but preventing a third string varsity football player from having the experience because his parents received financial aid (and yes, read the regs and you'd see how ridiculous they are - a limited number of kids receiving financial aid allowed on the team for instance) just doesn't make sense. If the athletic program is truly in place in the State to offer its young men and women a learning experience and not so much emphasis on winning and money taken at the gate and perhaps now by TSSAA from tv media, then this would be a non-issue. Forgotten at the root of this issue is the good of the student. It's time that was put back at the front of the picture

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by dcb1941 on 12/15/2014 at 9:31 AM

Re: “How three women got through the holidays while behind bars

This is what the true meaning of Christmas is! Until you've had something taken away, you don't really appreciate it! I know these women are so thankful and I'm thankful there are still kind hearted people in this world.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Lisa Taylor on 12/13/2014 at 2:40 PM

Re: “Murfreesboro was outsmarted by a bucket, a man humped an ATM, plus more strange and downright stupid behavior from 2014

"My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can't believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do."

Whoa, bruh. You definitely don't work at The Tennessean.

On a serious note, hats off to the Nashville Scene for rubbing the debacle that was the Newsroom of the Future (shudder) in the faces of the 1100 Broadway toadies in much the same way a person rubs pooped-on carpet in the face of a puppy. Bad Gannett! Bad, bad Gannett!

If it weren't for the Scene - and the Tennessean reporters leaking info about what was going on in that cesspool of moronic and evil behavior - no one in Nashville would have known about the goat-fucking that was happening inside the Old Gray Lady. Good on you, Scene! And bad on the Tennessean for treating your city and your employees like you did. You're already paying the price. Is there a major U.S. city with a less trusted, less liked and more derided and despised newspaper than Nashville? Show of hands? Anyone? I contend that people never really liked the Tennessean, but they tolerated it. After 2014, people in all walks of life now treat The Tennessean like a punchline or, worse, with pity - and it is a truly pitiful, sorry laughingstock excuse for a newspaper. And the best is yet to come. When the Newsroom of the Future 2.0 rolls around in 2015 with more bizarre ideas ("Forget the Picasso Project! We'll have the Jackson Pollack Project! We'll just drip news all over everything!") and more layoffs that management will refuse to call layoffs, people will may look back to 2014 as a banner year for The Tennessean.

Um, maybe not.

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by The Ombudsweiserman on 12/13/2014 at 2:28 PM

Re: “Murfreesboro was outsmarted by a bucket, a man humped an ATM, plus more strange and downright stupid behavior from 2014

My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can't believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do,
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WWW.s­w­i­p­e­b­o­s­s.C­O­M
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0 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by andrewajohnson on 12/13/2014 at 1:15 PM

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