WITH UPDATE, 12-11-15
from House Democratic Caucus:
"(MEMPHIS)- State Representative Antonio Parkinson says an Achievement School District plan to take over Raleigh-Egypt Middle School is not a done deal yet. The ASD announced today it plans to takeover 4 Shelby County Schools: Caldwell-Guthrie Elementary School, Kirby Middle School, Raleigh-Egypt Middle School and Hillcrest High.
ORIGINAL STORY, 12-10-15
"Parkinson has been working with Raleigh-Egypt parents, teachers, administrators and community leaders to keep the school under local control. In a news conference yesterday, Representative Parkinson also said that after the results of a recent Vanderbilt study that questioned the effectiveness of direct ASD takeover of schools, that the ASD should not acquire any additional schools until it can provide better, more tangible results.
"Parkinson says: 'There are several options at our disposal that could keep Raleigh-Egypt Middle under local, SCS control. We are exploring all of those possibilities and will announce a plan of action very soon.' He added, 'This is not the end of the road.' Representative Parkinson said he also plans to address the ASD’s effectiveness and further expansion in the next legislative session in January."
On the eve of an expected announcement Friday by the state Achievement School District regarding an expected takeover by ASD of five additional Shelby County Schools institutions, state Rep. Antonio Parkinson and SDS board member Stephanie Love protested the possibility during the latest of several news conferences opposing further ASD expansion.
Thursday’s press conference was held at noon in North Memphis, in front of Corning Elementary School — a site chosen because Corning principal Alicia Baisy Dyer and ASD officials and proponents were inside extolling what they considered clear successes for ASD at a meeting of the Frayser Exchange Club.
Simultaneously Parkinson and Love were outside making a contrary point — citing a recent Vanderbilt University study which, they said, made it clear that SCS’ own Innovation Zone (I-Zone) model was achieving superior results to those of ASD and should be employed as the right agency for raising the level of student achievement in Shelby County.
“The ASD model has not worked,” Parkinson said, insisting that taxpayer dollars were being wasted as a result and arguing that state funds should, in the case of Shelby County, be channeled instead into the IZone program instead.
In characterizing ASD as a failure, Parkinson said at the very least state officials should “step back and re-evaluate its performance before taking in any more schools.” He said further that the program, by its nature, was violating the rights of communities and disrupting the existing local educational initiatives, like those now being pursued by SDS.
He said that legislative measures opposing further ASD expansion, up to and including the abolition of ASD itself, were under way and would be introduced during the forthcoming session of the General Assembly.