I posted this on the facebook page and will "out" myself by sharing it here as well. Friends, it is time to stop the finger pointing and start healing our community. We can not solve this debate here but we can all commit to moving forward and building a better community for our children's future.
As a native Memphian and current Germantown resident, I can only say this is an "over a beer discussion" and I doubt I can get you to see this from my perspective. But, here it goes! I do not hate Memphis. I hate the politics of Memphis. I hate that Memphis now controls my children's schools without my vote. I hate the apathy I see in my friends who still live in Memphis. I hate that 90% of white children in Memphis go to private schools. I hate that the way Memphis is expanding is by taking over school systems and communities without input and votes from the people being hijacked. I read nearly every comment about the school take-over and do not see Memphis "bashing". I see loads of name calling and finger pointing at the Suburbs but mostly facts from our side. "We didn't dump you; you left" - You are correct. We sold our East Memphis home and bought a less expensive home in Germantown. But, 11% of the voters in Memphis choose to attempt to take over my children's school system. I am trying to leave but as a "spurned lover", Memphis keeps chasing me.
My husband and I take our children to concerts at the Shell. We drive into Midtown to go to dinner at some of our favorite restaurants. (Now, I am craving Ethiopian!) We go to nearly every Rock and romp, Mud Island, CMOM, Beale Street, Cooper Young, late night at E&H.
Though many of us have chosen to live in a suburb, we still want Memphis to succeed. But, those who love Memphis enough to stay have to decide they are going to be part of Memphis succeeding and "quit worrying" about us out here in the suburbs.
We are a completely separate city and have had municipal districts on our city plan since the early 1990's. It is not ethical or fair that Memphis has been able to come in and begin to destroy my children's school without my vote. We are at 100% and yet, we are losing 8 staff members next year.
We will continue to support the legislature which is protecting us from Memphis domination.
Show us how we can help the needy children in Memphis but do not expect me to sit idly by while you steal from my children.
Thanks, Pop! I am just at the end of my rope!! I am so tired of being attacked for being opposed to this takeover of our schools. This whole process has hurt my feelings so many times and the fact that a journalist could see fit to throw gas on the fire is astounding. Show me the data, research, precedent that supports any idea that this will be the slightest bit successful. I will make the same offer to JB that I made to Neifeh - let's have a cup or coffee (or beer) and give me the chance to defend my position. But, be ready to defend yours. I may be a White Suburbanite but I am not a push-over and I have done my research.
The argument I have used with many of our Memphis friends is this - don't worry about my kids, show me how this will help those children who need help the most. My children will go to college or answer to me SO, they are college bound. What about the children failed by 12 hour days in TN funded child care who can not say their ABC's the first day of kindergarten? How will this mega-district get them through high school better than the failed MCS? What are you doing to ensure they can reach their full potential? Stop wasting your energy hating those of us in the suburbs and start focusing on holding the elected officials in Memphis responsible for their failings.
"If you invite white suburbanites to your party, don't be surprised when they act like white suburbanites."
We were not "invited" to this party. We have been kidnaped, hijacked, and held against our will. There is no "positive case" for this mega-district. All research has shown that costs sky rocket and services to the most needy of students suffer.
"Sometimes it makes sense to hire the white person, and sometimes it makes sense to hire the black person" - When does it make sense to hire the BEST person? Sorry to be a "white suburbanite" but my expectation is that people do their ding-dang job. Black or white, show me who is the best person to serve these children.
I am sorry you hate us. Sorry you can not see from my side of the table how it feels to not have a voice and to be hated for trying to find one. All that aside, show the people in all of Shelby county how this takeover will help any children. Show us how it will be more cost effective so that those costs savings can be transferred to help the students. Stop hating us and make your case for this mega-district. Why should we stay?
Wow, I have been called a lot of things in my life but "pro-optional/MCS" is new to me. Sorry if I gave anyone the impression that I was pro-optional as I laid out points to how I believe it has utterly destroyed the MCS system. If by some weird act of nature, Germantown does not have MSD's in 2013, my children will go to "Our lady of the kitchen table". Given their track record, I do not believe that the mega-district will work with 70% MCS control. Call me cynical.
And again, thank you FTC for your direct but respectful comments. I can debate the issue but can not stomach the hostile tone people take when they are anonymous. It is a multi-faceted situation but I am comfortable with the path I plan to take.
OK, that is probably the most I have ever had to say to defend my own honor. Go MUNIS!
I fully understand how these children become NMF and semi-finalists and I do believe that the opportunity to take advanced classes fundamentally prepares them to score higher on the SAT and to have a better academic resume. If children at all of MCS's schools have access to Advanced Placement classes, why are we not seeing better achievement on this "uniform scale"? And while MCS can say that they offer AP at all of the High schools, the majority of children prepared to take and succeed in the AP classes have been funneled to White Station.
And, I am not concerned about the distance to an optional school in the NEW Mega-system. The distance in the CURRENT MCS system is failing MCS children today. If a child lives in Midtown, Frayser or Whitehaven, how do they get to White Station? The statistics show that White Station is the only school producing these scholars so what if that gifted student can not physically get to White Station? Doesn't she deserve the same chance to go to an amazing school and win a scholarship? SCS offers the same opportunities at each school and is doing it for $2,300 less per student. Why is the optional program not being seen as failing the MCS students TODAY? Why would I entrust my children to the MCS leaders who are turning such a blind eye to so many children they currently serve?
One of my primary concerns with the Mega-board is the 70% control by Memphis. Show me a school board with 8 members (one from Memphis, each of the individual municipalities, and one from the unincorporated areas) and we can start to talk about making progress toward a "unified" system. As it stands now, I believe we will simply see a Mega-Board controlled by the same old MCS members.
However, I do not have to be concerned about how the Mega-district will eventually work and what programs they will continue as my children will never attend a Mega-district controlled school. I believe in the Municipal school model and I will vote yes for Germantown's MSD.
@FTC and GR
I see the "optional program/NMF argument from a different perspective.
#1 - The optional program in MCS pulls the best and brightest to a few schools. When they pull the overachieving students to one school, they also take the parent support of those students. Who is left to be the PTA presidents or room moms? No one. My child is an average student (though bright and perfect!) but he strives to not be out-done but the truly gifted kids in his class. If those kids were at a different school in an Optional program, who sets the high bar standard? So, my personal argument against the Optional Program VS SCS/every school program would be that removing the best and brightest to one school weakens the entire system.
#2 - What if a child is gifted but they have 2 parents working 2 jobs each, no transportation and they have to be home by 5 to meet little siblings from day care. She has to have her own transportation to and from school. So either, the parents are late to and from work or she has to find a way to a school that may be all the way across Memphis. In the current SCS, she would have the exact same classes at her neighborhood school. In the current MCS model, she must either abandon her family obligations and find a way to get to WSHS perhaps by spending 3 hours a day on a MATA bus or to go to her neighborhood school and not be able to take the same courses. So, why would we, in the suburbs, believe that the new Mega-board, which will be 70% MCS run, will do anything different than the failed MCS model of optional schools? Every child should have the chance to succeed not just the ones whose parents camp out and "win" them a spot in a good school. A child should not be punished by not having the chance to succeed because his parents can not or will not drive him to East Memphis.
#3 - If bright children taking AP classes at Central, Ridgeway (has the IP program), Melrose or East had the same opportunities as WSHS students, we would see the same percentage of AP students being nominated to be NMFs. So the fact that there are AP classes in "every" MCS HS but only WSHS is producing NMFs, confirms that there is disparity in the current MCS system. But yet, they sing the praises of the Optional program and WSHS at every turn. And, while MCS may "offer" AP at all their schools, MCS requires 15 students in the class while SCS requires 5. The continued commitment to the Optional program is one of the major issues I have with the Mega-board being run by 70% MCS representatives.
@Howiedowin - If you have something to contribute or would like to specifically address one of the points FTC has made, please enlighten us. If you can not defend your position in an educated fashion, knock it off. The name calling only serves to make you look ridiculous.
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By Richard Alley
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