School board approves diversity plan in wake of charter school questions

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 11:13pm

School board members gave their blessing to a new diversity plan crafted in the aftermath of confusion over standards the district wanted to hold a charter school to.

The plan offers nonbinding goals for diversity by race and ethnicity, income level, native language and special needs to be applied and encouraged district-wide.

“We are a diverse school system. It’s important for us to embrace that fact,” said Jesse Register, the district’s director of schools.

Half of schools in the district currently meet the plan’s definition of diversity, according to Register. Of MNPS’s 133 schools, 67 meet the diversity goals, 52 enroll a student body with no one majority group and 54 schools have staff considered diverse.

The diversity plan calls for schools to have no single race or ethnicity make up more than 50 percent of their student body. It also calls for schools be home to at least two thirds low-income students, non-native English speakers or special needs students.

Register said no school will be closed for not meeting the diversity goals.

Diversity became an issue last fall as it was in denying Great Hearts Academies charter school application for transportation and diversity concerns.

How the policy will be exercised and communicated to charter schools applying to enter the school district next year is still to be decided, said Register.

17 Comments on this post:

By: JudgeRoyBean on 2/13/13 at 6:27

So help me understand. The plan is not binding for public schools, but may be binding for charter schools. I haven't made up my mind yet on the public/charter school debate but this sounds a little suspicious to me. What's the point of having the plan if it doesn't work for the schools that we have now?

By: MNPSParent on 2/13/13 at 6:40

This is the second time the City Paper has made this incorrect statement: "It also calls for schools be home to at least two thirds low-income students, non-native English speakers or special needs students." If you look at the plan, it calls for each school to have at least 2/3 the MNPS average for that grade level of each of those categories of students. So if MNPS middle schools average 12% special education students (I'm just making that number up, don't know the actual number), then this plan states that MNPS has a goal that individual middle schools should have at least 8% special ed enrollment. Please be careful with facts.

By: JeffF on 2/13/13 at 7:27

Oh good, quotas

By: BellevueBill on 2/13/13 at 8:09

This plan obviously reflects the desires of Davidson County parents with children in the public school system. If this were not true, the parents, particularly middle class parents, would move to adjacent counties. No one can say they are surprised by this.

By: Balo on 2/13/13 at 9:16

The absurd becomes more absurd.

I beg to differ from the comment of the Director. This is a school system for the children of Davidson County. The important fact is to educate each one and not place them in a group.

By: wasaw on 2/13/13 at 9:50

Isn't it awesome that Nashville has a great private school system that works? It works because politics are excluded. Paying parents decide what school they elect for their children and then write the check. They even pay twice because they're still paying their state and local taxes that supports the public system. They even provide their children transportation so that when a small sheet of ice is discovered at the most northern road in the county, their school continues to have class.

Strangely, we seldom hear anything from the private system. If you have an issue with your private school, if unresolved, you pull your children out and put them into another private school. I worked three jobs in order to keep my children in private school. Why would anyone want to run their children through a school system that's set up where the rooms are over loaded, and the teachers overworked? It's a system set up for failure. Has anyone else noticed that as soon as new Nashville schools are opened, they already have portable buildings? Why is this?

Public school directors work through revolving doors. As soon as Register's "smoke 'n mirrors" come to light, and test scores are revealed, he'll be run out of town. Another director will be hired and everything will be great again; that is until the next progress report is delivered. The only thing that can save public education is charter schools. They're the closest thing to private school.

Have you ever asked yourself what would occur in public school if all the Nashville private schools were to somehow close their doors? What would the public school system do with the thousands of new students? There aren't enough portables and teachers available to take on the load. Thank the LORD for Nashville private schools.

By: Specter47 on 2/13/13 at 10:14

Well, good ol' Jesse and his crew on the Board do it again. Judge Bean, you are right on, brother. So what's applicable to Charters is not applicable to traditional non-charter MNPS schools. I can think of a couple of dozen Metro Schools that do not meet these so-called "diversity" goals. Of course, they don't meet it because there are far to many black and Hispanic kids. There is a clear definition for "diversity". It means "fewer whites". Fewer white kids and fewer white teachers means better schools, right? Oh, wait a minute...that hasn't worked so far, so let's do it some more. I also think that this so-called "plan" needs to be published. Let's put it out there for all to see. Why wasn't it in this article?

By: pswindle on 2/13/13 at 2:16

The state should leave Metro's Board of Education alone and let them do their job. The state should stay out of Metro's decisions on Charter Schools. I would like for Haslam to get another Education Sec. That would solve many problems. Maybe, we would get rid of Rhee, too.

By: JeffF on 2/13/13 at 3:29

I am curious as to how Haslam, the education secretary, and Rhee are responsible for 40 years of degrading Metro schools. We have what, 30 schools, that are failing students and the communities? Please tell me when Haslam and the crew invented their time machine and wrecked the inner city neighborhood schools in our city? Hell Rhee isn't even in a decision making position and she is getting blamed.

By: Specter47 on 2/13/13 at 5:02

JeffF...dittos to you, man. Some doofus readers don't know the difference between the Federal United States SECRETARY of Education and the State of Tennessee COMMISSIONER of Education. Ol' PSWINDLE hates the Governor, the "Secretary", Michelle Rhee, the Speaker of the House, the Lt. Governor, and all Republicans. And remember, all of this Charter stuff is George Bush's fault.

By: govskeptic on 2/14/13 at 8:29

It's amazing the goofy statements posted here in defense of Metro's lousy history
of educating our public school students over the last 30+ yrs. Our mixtures of
qualified and unqualified School Board members, pandering to the TEA and MNEA,
Court interference, Resume building Superintendents good and bad, along with
the Progressive's wishes for quotas and political correctness at every turn, and
finally the attempts time and again to implement some new found way from some
highly paid consultant or goofy idea from Vandy on how to teach the masses has
brought us to 30 or more failing schools. The selection of teachers hired by our
also Politically Correct Personnel Dept. hasn't added anything to improve either.

Now, we have our well established "Education Establishment" fighting constantly
to keep everything the same along with the media boo hoo-ing every suggested
change by the Governor and Legislators. Huge correction of course long overdue.

By: budlight on 2/15/13 at 8:23

Jeff, how can the state be failing the students? Wouldn't the responsibility for children succeeding fall mainly on the parents? You know, like parents who are active in their children's lives in such things as doing homework, studying, attendance, and motivation. And things like parents going to PTO meetings and school functions.

I'm sorry for those who believe that the state and local government is responsible for their children's future. And what happens next? Is the fed or state gov-ment going to control our neighborhood diversity with such things as telling us how many of each race, language, and sex can live in a neighborhood?

By: budlight on 2/15/13 at 8:24

By the way, children who attend private schools probably have higher grades because their parents are more engaged and vested in their lives. (usually)

By: wasaw on 2/15/13 at 9:10

budlight, my thoughts exactly. I was hoping someone would read between my lines and pick up on my point. When a parent invest money, hard work, and effort into their children's education, the child WILL succeed.

Many parents of public education students expect the teachers to do all the work. They're too busy smoking their reefer, drinking their '92, and attempting to extract everything possible from the public trough; they fail to see that what their children need is their time.

By: C.A.Jones on 2/15/13 at 9:19

Pretty sure most of the Metro school board are still special needs students. It's so fun to watch the already crappy system get worse and worse at a staggering rate.

By: budlight on 2/15/13 at 11:35

wasaw I took a test to qualify for the U.S. Census Survey Job called a Field Rep. The test was 30 minutes; timed; and had math, reading comprehension, definitions and map reading (ie, following instructions). Everyone who passed got to interview immediately after the test. Everyone who failed (less than 20 out of 32 questions correct) were told they could come and take the test "as many times as they want to". Guess what. If a person failed it, it is because they cannot read, comprehend, add,subtract, multiply and divide, or follow a map and instructions.

The ones who failed were all under 30 (looked that way to me). I'm 66; finished with time to spare and scored 31 out of 32. Need I say more about what is going on? Parents are not doing their jobs. That, combined with dumbing down on what the kids are being taught.

Oh, yes, they know diversity means equal rights for black, white, hispanic, gay, straight and gun control. They know all that. But it can't get them a job. Oh, unless they are going out and spying on apartment complex for TN Fair Housing or Fed Fair Housing so they can be busted!

Oh well. Off to the Y; have a great day. I'm told, by the way, that the Census is hiring 50 new people for July; they will let us know in April if we got the job. More government jobs being created by the BIG government spender and staff!

By: jonw on 2/17/13 at 4:09

This is nothing more than a "poison pill" for charter schools by the Metro school board. MSB appears to only be interested in social engineering - - to hell with education.
Oh well, the charter schools will soon be approved by the state & quotas will be a dead issue.