Friday, November 15, 2013

School Board meeting of Nov. 12th with commentary and time stamp notation. Ellisa Kim takes a bold stand for academic excellence.

Ellisa Kim takes a bold stand for academic excellence. Resist the attack on Charters.

The Anti-Charter Policy Resolution

At time stamp 53:00 the discussion begins on the topic of  "Recommended Approval of Resolution Establishing a Strategy for Deploying Charter Schools in Metro Schools."  Board Member Will Pinkston is critical of "the critics and their attack machine." He makes the argument that Metro's Schools budget problems are due to charter schools taking all of the increases in revenue. The recommendation of Pinkston, approved by the Board, is that in 2014 new charter schools will only be allowed in area where overcrowding exist or in areas where the regular public school has been declared a failing school for the last three years. To read the resolution download this PDF file:  MNPS Charter Resolution Packet.

School Board member Dr Sharon Gentry (see time stamp 1:13:43) makes the obvious point that it the resolution before the board is more concerned with fiscal impact and capacity issues than with academic excellence.

Board Member Elissha Kim (see 1:24)argues that the resolution is so narrowly drawn that it does not consider all funding priorities based on student achievement and that there are some things that are simply "factually not right" in the resolution. Our own data, she says, conflicts with the numbers listed in the resolution. The revenue shortage of $23 million is "just a made up number" she says. Four of Metros eleven best schools would not exist if this resolution was already in place she says. We should look at the full $740 million budget and establish priorities she argues.

The resolution is insignificantly watered down to include general language that says academics will also be considered in approving charter school. The resolution passes with only Elissha Kim voting "no." I am proud of Ms Kim and wish we had more like her on the School Board. She made a diligent effort to make excellence in education a major consideration in establishing funding priorities and to derail the attack on charter schools, but unfortunately was unsuccessful. 

Below is a summary of the rest of the School Board meeting:

This school board meeting is two hour and four minutes long.  To get your own copy of the 58-page agenda click on this link and click, "11.12.13  Regular Meeting."

I only skimmed parts of this meeting, but several people spoke about the possible changes to Stratford high and about the closing of under capacity schools in East Nashville during the "public comments segment." Public Comments starts at time stamp 5:00 and ends at 48: 00.  Below are a list of those who were on the agenda to speak. My comments are highlighted  below.
A. Councilman Anthony Davis – Potential Closure of Stratford High School
B. Logan Ashworth – Stratford High’s Transformation (A Stratford Student leader)
C. Vera Davis – Involvement with Stratford High’s Transformation (She speaks passionately)
D. Bob Bogen – The Great Voucher Fraud (Bogen is former head of the MNEA teachers union and a former candidate for school board. He obviously does not like school choice.)
E. Ameeka Burnett – Teachers Mistreating/Mishandling Students
F. Thomas Weber – Charter Schools
G. Chelle Baldwin – Valuing School Community
H. Henry Dobbins – Stratford High Transformation
I. Michael Steele – Stratford High Transformation
J. Pastor Glenda Sutton – Stratford High Transformation
K. Venus Wooten – Closing under capacity schools in East Nashville
L. Maggie Thomas - Closing under capacity schools in East Nashville
M. Leigh Ann Johnson - Closing under capacity schools in East Nashville
N. John Gregory - Stratford High Transformation
O. Cindy Walker – MLK Expansion Proposal
P. Victoria Pao - MLK Expansion Proposal
Q. Cesar Muedas – Communicating Strategy to get buy-in from parents
The Board approves changes at MLK and the use of fund balances to fund an early buy-out retirement incentive program and new technology investments.

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