Monday, July 23, 2012

Buena Vista School has three years to fail

I'm not going to neighborhood association meetings due to a previous Executive Committee ambush. But the wife attended tonight. When she returned she conveyed news dropped there that Metro's Buena Vista School, a few blocks over from us, has 3 years to improve or it will be flipped charter.

My prediction: 97% African American/97% reduced lunch Buena Vista will be allowed to fail in the next three years. Then it will be flipped to a charter school (which can weed out and turn away students) more palatable to the nervous hipster parents gentrifying the area. Otherwise, nothing about a system in our community that creates a permanent, poorly educated underclass will change.

Look, MNPS has been criticized for its partnering with the Chamber of Commerce to exercise school reform as vocational training:

in recent years, some have questioned Metro’s commitment to intellectual rigor, particularly in criticizing The Academies of Nashville — the chamber of commerce-supported high-school model that bridges coursework with career-oriented themes through private business partnerships. Skeptics have labeled the program “vocational education.”

A charter school at Buena Vista will only be window dressing to attract the predominately white voting bloc at the Nashville Urban School Coalition. Otherwise, it will be as effective as vocational education. In the context of North Nashville's unequal access to education, "choice" will not amount to much more than paper or plastic (to paraphrase George Carlin).

MNPS is set up to fail North Nashville. A truly public school at Buena Vista will be the casualty. Mark my words.


  1. I think, perhaps, the school has already "failed," and it has 3 years to improve.

    In my view, the school has a few sets of people to rely on to improve:

    the Principal & teachers
    the parents
    the neighborhood

    Strike that last one from the list. MNPS is so unwieldly and large that I don't trust it to plan for and enact change except in the broadest of broad system-wide categories.

    The neighborhood (those without children at school) needs to become convinced to get involved.

    Parents of school-age children and school employees are the only ones with real skin in the game, and I think parents moreso than the employees (as the latter don't need to upend their lives to flee a failing school).

    I generally agree with the blog posts here that note that charter schools are a distraction and sap resources from neighborhood schools. But, if a charter school is what it takes to get parents involved, a charter school may be what is needed.

    Do charter schools necessarily turn away previously-zoned children? I would think they'd need to rezone some, but not all, kids to give the charter some flexibility.

  2. There is a thoughtful education discussion article in today's paper:

  3. I am an avid supporter of public education and public schools, and I think the push toward privatization through charterization is unconscionable, and should be stopped. But given that it won't, why are we not setting up charters within the system itself? A charter set up and run by group of innovative public school teachers would be at least as effective as those run by private interests, and I believe more, especially since we know from experience that the majority of charters provide an education only equal to or less than that provided in a traditional public school.

    Charters could be developed around learning styles, areas of interest, etc., just like private charters. And some of the rules and regulations of traditional public schools would be waived, like in private charters, though I don't believe those things actually are the hindrance to quality education that charter advocates espouse.

    The major difference in what I propose is that tax dollars would not be diverted from providing education to some company bottom line and profit margin. There wouldn't be money to be made.

    Public education is not a business, and profiteers should not be allowed to make it so. What little democracy that is left will die if they do.

  4. From the article noted above: Mary Catherine Bradshaw is a teacher at MLK Magnet High School who is currently attempting to launch a charter school.

    It seems to me that interest in charter schools and interest in stopping the advance of charters increased many-fold when charters went from being for just kids in failing schools to being for all kids (with an interim stop of being for any kid on free lunch).

    I understand the charter school business wanting to reel in kids not in failing schools; presumably their demographics have them coming from wealthier families (do charter school students pay anything out of pocket?).

    What I'd like to know if all this resistance to charter schools was around when it was the poor and under-served who were the targets of charter school enrollment?

  5. @above person: if they want a charter school buy or rent a building and after x amount of time they will begin to reap the benefits of their profiting don't uproot of force people to move to other areas or so call open a window of opportunity for the kids to go to other schools providing that the parents get their own kid to and from or the SCHOOL LOTTERY picks their child. my eyes were opened to what is going on in this city with this old charter school and rezoning crap. it is nothing more than modern day segregation and not as a whole by race but by social class but as a whole in like you said DEMOGRAPHICaly moving the poor or unwealthy presumably trouble probed or more likely to fail to other areas further away from where they originally were aka farther from the city. THESE fools are not interested in the education provided to children, that is not what it is about, nor why they are being allowed to be opened. What happens if the people running them mess up?? they close then what happens to them or the teachers when the public schools when they no longer need them or when charter schools have more of a choice or preference on who they hire. Someone was absolutely right when they say the parents need to get involved in their children's school,education, lives and all of that. parents are responsible for teaching their children on what to or not to do ( sadly some don't), get involved in what is going on or not (in their life and education) and take a stand and make or demand a change ( in their lives,education or whatever) in what is best for the children's live in the long run. let me tell you from personal experience GOOD LUCK AT THE BOARD OF EDUCATION if you have issues with the schools because without going down a chain of nobodies and various voice mails and unanswered calls or returns or if the person you do reach doesn't feel THE PARENTS CONCERNS OR ISSUES are of concern to them or doesn't meet a certain criteria then its is not going to matter or get resolved. And then how are parents or people suppose to or even know to get involved when they don't care, know, or or being blindsided by these bellyslider profit seekers or officials who do the stuff so smooth that their promises,statistics, and gameplans and secret agenda's are so smooth and hidden that you don't even see or what is going on until it is done or reality after the fact hits you. BETTER open your eyes people everything that looks good isn't always what it seems. look at who is running things, why they want to, what is their true agenda. I take this to heart for many reasons sorry so long, but if it were really about education and an equal one at that then they would start from the bottom( root problem) up. it is not going to be fixed by the no child left behind which was the fed govs way of saying if your school fails and it will then we wont fund them, the schools will close if you can't pay...and we know u can't because you depend on us so much in the first place...well we will take over the schools. nor will it be fixed by seperating the social classes,providing more to one school than another for whatever reason, especially when. it comes to learning material. do people know that and I can speak for the school Dupont that some schools and I'm willing to bet its only the predominantly under social classed, aren't up to date on books for example. how can a child be on the same educational level or atleast have the chance if their book issue is behind one if another at a BETTER presumably higher precentaged better social class. my child neverrrrrr I said neverrrrrr with all of the R's on purpose because that whole year her class was without an English book because the school couldn't afford new ones. wtf! now. either she didn't receive the same chance as the next to learn or some one had to share in the lack of as well having to share with them and being on a budget crunch she didn't receive copies from the book either.