Standing Together for Strong Community Schools

Tennesseans invested in local public education.


Join Us. We Are Ready to Advocate for Public Education in 2014.

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The Tennessee General Assembly is back in session for 2014 and education legislation is front and center affecting all Tennesseans. We are back and ready to get to work educating legislators, parents, and citizens across the state about the dire consequences of legislation, pushed by special interest groups, that will negatively impact our public schools, teachers and tax dollars. We will also be sharing legislation that will help public education and return the parent and teacher voice to decision making. We have been quietly building our state network over the last half of 2013 and are looking to begin a new initiative. More and more people across Tennessee are speaking out against mismanaged, underfunded reform mandates.

So to renew our focus and bring commitment to a larger group of state-wide activists we have joined under a non-profit called Tennesseans Reclaiming Educational Excellence or TREE. We hope you will continue to support our effort to speak for public school parents, teachers and advocates. Please follow TREE as we work with the General Assembly to help educate on the perspective of the real impact on public school reform.

TREE has a broader focus beyond the state authorizer and voucher bills that ST4SCS focused on last year. Read about that focus HERE. We will also be sharing our email list with TREE and this ST4SCS site will stand as a reference point. We will begin putting our volunteer energy into TREE’s message. We look forward to working with TREE and all Tennesseans to be a voice that is “ROOTED IN FIGHTING FOR STRONG, EQUITABLE PUBLIC EDUCATION AND IS COMMITTED TO GROWING CHILD-CENTERED EDUCATION POLICY.”

Thank you for supporting us and encouraging us to grow our effort.

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Parent Advocates Ask Nashville to Plan Ahead

broad-school-closingLike the rest of the nation, we’ve been watching the education train wreck playing out in Chicago and Philadelphia.  We are holding our breath as similar scenarios loom for Tennessee cities like Memphis and Nashville.

Memphis is in the middle of a less than smooth merging of school districts with Shelby County, borne out of financial necessity as the Memphis district was facing a staggering budget shortfall.  Now in Nashville, as the costs for charters is rapidly increasing and outpacing the available revenue, the supporters of charter expansion are using new buzzwords “high quality seat”.  What seems to be following those buzzwords is usually something along the lines of “closing down schools” to make room for the charters that will provide the yet to be defined “HQ seat”.

As we hear these “reformers” nonchalantly toss around the idea of closing our public schools, a few questions come to mind.  If you share our concern for all the students in Nashville who are at the center of the current storm, you might also want to hear these “reformers” answer the following questions:

  • What is the 10 year plan for large urban districts like Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville?  What does that plan look like for suburban and rural districts?
  • What will the ratio of charter and traditional schools be in urban, suburban, and rural districts?
  • What metrics will be used to determine which traditional schools are closed? Shouldn’t we hear from the families and communities that would be affected by such closures?
  • When a child’s zoned school is closed, what are the options for a parent who does not want their child to attend a nearby charter school with extended hours and/or school on weekends?  Where will those students go and how will they get there?
  • How will districts pay for increased costs for busing students as neighborhood schools close?
  • Currently, students who are English Language Learners or who are moderately to severely disabled are not served to any significant level at charter schools in TN.  Where will they go to school if their zoned school is closed?  Will such students, who require a higher level of investment, be isolated?  Or will they be educated alongside their peers in charter schools, as they are now in traditional schools?
  • If a child is counseled out or forced out of a charter, what options do they have if their zoned school is closed?

These are some of the many questions that must be answered by those that believe, and have stated, that we need to start closing existing schools to finance charter schools.  The education of our children can not be based on a blithe assumption that “market forces” will sort everything out.  The voters and families of this town have the right to decide whether the “reform” vision is the one we want. Tennesseans, especially those in Nashville, need a truthful picture with specifics of what that vision is before that decision is meaningful or even possible.  If you come across anyone that is willing to answer these questions please send us their responses.

This is more than just about money.  It is about planning for the district’s future.  If you believe Nashville needs to answer these questions before approving any more charters please call your city council rep.

Read about the Charter Moratorium Proposed by City Council Rep. Steve Glover.

Read about School Board Rep. Will Pinkston’s MNPS Budget Concerns.

Find your Nashville Council Representative.


Educating On the Issues of A State Authorizer and Vouchers

Standing Together for Strong Community Schools is pleased with the response and reception we have received from around the State of Tennessee. We are uniting the voices of like-minded citizens and gathering information to help the legislature understand that implementing a state charter authorizer and vouchers removes local control and siphons off precious education dollars. These initiatives are not in the best interest of the children of TN. Please continue to check our website and “like” our Facebook page to find out ways you can ask our legislators to vote “NO” on both of these upcoming pieces of legislation. Please consider signing up for our mailing list to receive information on upcoming exclusive events and important alerts.

If you are undecided on these issues, here are some articles that might help.

READ ABOUT ISSUES ON THE CHARTER AUTHORIZER AND VOUCHERS

VOUCHERS AND SCHOOL FINANCE: SAVING THE STATEHOUSE $
“Vouchers would ultimately prevent a decrease in education costs.”

GROW SOME JUEVOS (EGGS) ON CHARTERS!
Cloaking Inequity – Julian Vasquez Heilig’s Education and Public Policy Blog

VOUCHERS WILL HURT PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Op-Ed from the Tennessean

STANFORD: WALL STREET GANG NOW OFFER EDUCATION CHOICES
About a quarter of the kids in the San Antonio School District Attend Charters…

NASHVILLE PARENTS PRESS FIGHT ON VOUCHERS, CHARTER AUHTORIZER
“Vouchers would just take money out of an already low-funded school system,” Patton said. “And it’s not a panacea. They’ve not necessarily been shown to raise student achievement.”

NEW GROUP FORMS TO FIGHT VOUCHERS, OPPOSE EDUCATION “SPECIAL INTERESTS”.
Standing Together for Strong Community Schools

VOUCHERS DON’T GET TO THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
“Rather than treating children like so many peas in a shell game, our leaders should focus on improving schools.”

RESEARCH EVIDENCE VS. SOARING IDEOLOGY: SCHOOL VOUCHERS AND ACHEIVEMENT
“It is very difficult to find rigorous scientific studies conclusively demonstrating that vouchers have a positive, empirically measurable impact on student achievement”