... does not make their views therefore irrelevant to public discussion/policy concerns
For the record, the Barry offspring graduated from private school.
The Frogge offspring is still an undecided question.
I'm all for the district offering a meaningful, pure, high quality academic track in every school. The fact that they don't leaves those who want/need it languishing, if they aren't lucky lottery winners. And now that the lottery isn't enough any more for even a chance at a seat, it just leaves deserving students languishing.
I certainly agree, the magnet schools don't get all the brightest children. They are filled these days with average and even below-average children, if incoming test scores are to be believed. The caliber of student coming in each year is a noticeable drop in capabilities from those who came before. This is a direct result of the drop in qualifying requirements to get a seat.
If the district offered meaningful, challenging pure academic tracks in all their schools, the demand for the academic magnet escape hatch would go away on its very own. Instead, the district offers the Academies, branded and marketed and packaged up, while the data results still tank. As if people will overlook outcomes and go for the shiny packaging.
"Exactly how would the end of magnets hurt the overall education picture in Nashville?"
Not at all, if we don't care at all about trying to meet the needs of our high-performing students, if we don't care at all about challenging them, if we don't care at all about offering them coursework appropriate to the capabilities.
"The academic magnets are good schools because they have good students."
Actually, not so much, any more. District policy year by year lowers the qualifying standard, so now the seats are filled more and more every year with just average and even below-average students who have guaranteed automatic seats, while higher better qualified students are locked out, finding themselves on lottery wait lists. Part of the district-designed gutting from the inside-out.
Again, this helps to solve the Achievement Gap, as the high-performing students will be bored, discouraged, and stunted, and so the gap will be easier to close. But, it is a criminal thing to do.
Here's one thing that's not working. The academic magnets are being gutted from the inside out, as they are being compelled to adopt one-size-fits-all bad policy that in effect sabotages the very practices that have made them successful. They have dropped in the national rankings, and the drop will continue until the fall is so far gone it is beyond repair. Upon Dr. Register's arrival to MNPS he was fond of stating outright that he did not believe in academic magnets, and he has followed through on that belief by undermining them in their mission every chance he gets. So the few schools we have in the district that have been shining successes, schools one would think they would look to for successful practices to implement district-wide, they are instead forcing those schools to abandon their proven successful practices so that ultimately all the schools, including the academic magnets, will look pretty much all the same. Fixes the Achievement Gap problem, but disregards entirely the needs of our best and brightest.
What *sharp elbows* said.
People are clearly voting with their feet that The Academies are not the answer they are looking for. Hello? MNPS? Is anybody paying attention? Or are you so busy with your branding activities that you think shiny packaging is enough?
"MNPS officials say they must do a better job of informing the public about the city's schools.
"'Much of what leads parents to leave our district is a question of perception,' says MNPS spokesman Joe Bass."
The people who are leaving the system for private schools or moving to other counties are the same ones who are savvy enough to take a look at data and think about what it means. Give them solid, meaningful, transparent data that clearly shows (without shifty spin) that students are achieving success, excelling, acquiring an education necessary for life/career/college success, and the MNPS Perception Problem is solved. New shiny packaging will only go so far, and it certainly does not go nearly far enough if the delivered product continues to be flawed. These are the parents who just want straight-up academics, that's pretty much all. Offering, instead, talk about "branding," is just ... insulting. MNPS: you have basically just shown them the door.
"Dealing" with students who live in poverty in a meaningful and helpful and promising way is a vastly bigger endeavor than just the teacher's job. It requires a community wide effort and investment in their lives, a holistic effort. To imagine that their teachers can wear all the hats on their behalf and address the multitude of needs is to sign on to a lost cause.
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