Thursday, August 13, 2009

The School Board Sucks

Tonight, I went to a meeting of the Rutherford County, TN school board.  It was a public meeting to discuss a new magnet school that would cover grades 6-12.  This in itself is great and much needed. Rutherford County currently has three magnet schools.  Two of them are grades K-8 and the one my daughter goes to is K-6.  The board, in its infinite wisdom had decided that they would make one of the k-8 schools K-5 due to the new school covering 6-12.  They decided that any of the kids at that school would be grandfathered into the new schools 6-8 program without having to test or meet the standards.  This would fill 50 of the 125 slots that the middle school would handle.  My daughters school, however would have to test to get in, plus meet the 3.0 and 80th percentile on state testing to even apply.  Not to mention all the kids that might want to go to the school from regular public schools in the county. 

Needless to say, the parents at my daughter's school (Discovery School at Reeves Rogers) were very upset about the grandfather clause and were contesting it.  The Parents at the school being contracted (McFadden School of Excellence)  were arguing that they signed on and picked that school because it was K-8.  They felt that their snowflakes might melt if asked to take a test and meet standards.  One parent actually argued that it would be psychologically harmful for the students to get rejected by not scoring well on the test.   Um, what about the other children.  I was okay with a compromise that would allow the children that were having the classes moved out from under them (the current 5th, 6th, and 7th graders) to be grandfathered in but thought that all future classes should have to test in. 

One of the board members actually proposed this and it went to vote only to fail 5-3.  With a former principal of McFadden that has two children in the school stating he could not support it.  The director of schools removed himself from the vote because his grandchild attends McFadden.  Actually, 5 people on the board have current or former ties to McFadden.  So, we lost. 

I approached the director of schools at a break and mentioned that it would only be a matter of years until Discovery School relinquishes their 6th grade program due to parents knowing that 75 slots would be open for 6th grade at the new school (Central Academic Magnet School). but the 7th grade would only have slots from people that left or couldn't cut it.  I approx that about 5 -10 slots will open for 7th and 8th grade each year.  Everyone will have to re-apply and re-test for the H.S. program.  With the 6th grade sentenced to death, it is only a matter of time before it dies.  I asked if when this happened, if any student who came in under the promise of K-6 school would be grandfathered into the new school as well.  I was told, flat out, no.  Double standard anyone? 

I harbor no ill will.  I believe that when my daughter reaches 5th grade she will test into the new school, but what if she or one of her friends test number 76 or higher?  They will be left out to dry because a child, that may not be as academically gifted, because they were grandfathered in by a school board that was, at the very least, biased.  I guess it won't be as psychologically harmful when I tell my daughter she didn't get in because a dumber kid didn't have to test to get in.   

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grrrace said...

You know, I have just started thinking about schooling and such for Mia (yes, I know I've still got 2 years to go) but it's seriously got me freaked out. All that bullshit you're writing about is just freaking me out more. I hope that things will work themselves out for your girls by the time they need to get in... By the way, I totally think that everyone should have to test in. What good will it do the idiots if they can't keep up? People are afraid of hurting their kids feelings? Really? They need to toughen their kids up. I HATE that people are afraid of "psychologically damaging" their kids. Rejection's a part of life. I'm not saying it's a GREAT part of life, but it helps to build character. GOSH, I'm all mad for you right now... I really hope that they get things right... maybe there will be another meeting and you can get some more people together... Will a petition help? Good luck, man.

Budd said...

This was the last meeting on the school. They wanted it locked down because it will open next fall.

grrrace said...

well, that blows.