"We believe that local control along with engagement from parents, community members and businesses to be the foundation of success for each county in Tennessee." ~ StrongCommunitySchools.com
As a proponent of public education and a parent of a student in public education for 15 years (special education beginning with preschool,) I support "Standing Together for Strong Community Schools (ST4SCS,) a grass-roots, nonpartisan coalition of parents, community members, businesses and their owners who value public education and are committed to strengthening and protecting Tennessee’s public schools."
I am relieved that after my daughter exits the local school system in three years--when she has completed her community based (job and life-skills training) education program for students with disAbilities--we will be finished with Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS). I believe the root of our poor, local system stems from our city's historic massive white flight to Williamson County and the creation of 60 private schools, many parochial. I wish that MNPS had a tenth of what Harpeth Hall, Montgomery Bell and Ensworth has invested in their gorgeous state-of-the-art infrastructures alone. I believe that families need options and if private is their choice, that is fine, but this extreme segregation of resources of all kinds has cost our city and its schools dearly. And, just because my daughter will exit the system does not mean we will not continue to be impacted by it. Like all citizens, our future is in the quality of education of its students-- those who will become service workers, professionals and healthcare workers, etc.
Frankly, the shit is about to hit the fan in our extreme conservative-dominated state legislature. Here's more from ST4SCS, but please note the two boldfaced items listed near the bottom of this "Journey with Grace" post. We, the citizens of Tennessee, are about to lose local control if our legislators and their special interests succeed:
"For too long, discussion of public education in Tennessee has been dominated by negativity and manipulated by well-funded special interests intent on dismantling our school systems, diverting public money from public schools, and limiting the voice of Tennessee citizens in shaping education policy through our local elected school boards. It is time for those who value and appreciate public education in Tennessee to celebrate our successes, become more informed on the various challenges our public schools face today, share ideas on supporting and improving our schools, and join forces to speak up on laws that impact our schools.
"We want improvement in Tennessee schools driven by the voices of Tennessee parents and citizens, not by the out of state special interests that poured over $250,000 into our last election cycle to advance their agenda. Two legislative ideas already being discussed for 2013 will negatively affect the stability and strength of our schools:
"1) A statewide charter school authorizer
"2) Diverting tax dollars to private schools through vouchers"