Saturday, August 9, 2008

Media Manipulation: Metro Nashville Public Schools

Educated Decision or Media Manipulation? (The Nashville City Paper, July 17, 2008)

If I didn't know better, I would think that the local media is supporting the ridiculous decision to transfer MNPS principals from one failing metro school to the next after reading "State reorganization moves on to school principal assignments," July 9, 2008.

I find it deeply disturbing that the media (and the community) have failed to recognize this for what it is: a desperate attempt to convince the community that we are actively working to improve the quality of education in our public schools.

This last minute attempt to restructure neighborhood schools will most likely do more harm than good to the community at large. The high rate of student mobility in Metro (approximately 40% per year) is compounded by the constant shifting of district-wide changes to school personnel by transferring teachers, administrators, and support staff on a regular basis.

Everything we know about the sociology of education in urban schools shows us that there is a strong correlation between parental involvement and student performance.

One thing that makes magnet, lottery, charter, parochial, and private schools so good is the fact that parents, teachers, students and administrators fight to get in, and fight to stay there.

Successful schools are an extension of the community at large, where everyone works together to create a common set of experiences; creating an environment that encourages parental involvement and community participation.

If Metro continues to alienate educators by disemboweling the organizational structure within public schools, we may just lose the few experienced and dedicated teachers we still have left to surrounding districts, cities, and states.

By failing to examine the issue in further detail, the press and our community leaders are failing in their mission to provide the community with the information they need to participate in the political process that is MNPS. The media have a responsibility to examine and provide the community with the information they need to make informed policy decisions.

Elyssa Durant, Ed.M.
Nashville, Tennessee

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Posted: Thursday, July 17, 2008 1:47 am