Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Judge Orders Metro to Put Same Textbooks West Nashville Kids Have in the Hands of North Nashville Kids within 24 Hours

News 2 with the outrageous news that implicates the Metro School system in failing to live up to its commitment to spend more money on north Nashville schools in exchange for ending busing to west Nashville schools:



The Scene's Jeff Woods follows up with a breathless account of what happened in District Court:
The NAACP's lawyer, Larry Woods, took full advantage of the media attention.

"The Metro school board doesn't do anything but tell lies about this," Woods declared. "They want black children kept in north Nashville where white people don't have to see them or think about them."

.... If the city is spending $6 million a year to improve inner-city schools, a key ingredient in the rezoning plan, "then why don't we have textbooks for the sixth grade at John Early," Woods demanded to know. "Where's the extra resources they promised? They can't even get schoolbooks into north Nashville.

"I don't understand why every school board member didn't back their cars up to the Tennessee state schoolbook warehouse and deliver these books to these schools already."

Haynes granted both the NAACP's demands after an hour-long hearing in which Metro lawyers tried to dismiss the situation as an unfortunate, yet commonplace snafu. Metro lawyer Jim Charles blamed John Early's principal.

"She didn't order enough books," he told the judge, adding later "she didn't order them in a timely fashion."

He insisted Metro could deliver textbooks to the school by Friday. "Tonight would be a lot better," Woods snapped.

The judge was nonplussed. "Where is the book depository? You mean you can't get a bus to go out there or a car or a van to go out and get these books?" he asked before ordering the textbooks brought to the school within 24 hours.
That was a gutless, spineless defense by Metro lawyers in hanging the responsibility around the principal's neck. After school board chair and Chamber of Commerce darling David Fox guaranteed that John Early would be among the cluster of schools given first consideration in expenditures, it seems to me that Mr. Fox should have been on the front lines himself at school opening here in the north, making sure at the very least that no principal or teacher would obstruct his follow through or deliver such an embarrassing blow to his credibility.

Metro government is strong executive, which means that our chief cannot keep having his captains pass the buck to principals and MDHA directors for what are flaws in his own administration of government. Karl Dean promised during his 2007 campaign that generating a higher quality in Nashville schools would be among his highest priorities. Ultimately, he should be held personally responsible for these failures. Captaining a ship that cannot follow through with the simple act of getting north Nashville children the same textbooks west Nashville kids get reflects the same old broken patterns of the past, not to mention a growing number of broken campaign promises.

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