Monday, January 29, 2018

Another List Another Bottom

Once again Nashville hits a bottom 10 list and of course it is about the schools.  I just finished an article in The Washington Post  about supplemental positions in schools (Nurses, Custodians, Instructional Assistants/Translators, etc)and how they are underpaid which in turn makes many of these highly in demand and needed positions akin to a Walmart employee, relying on public assistance and multiple jobs just to make ends meet.

Here in the "It" City, what "It" is could be a matter of debate,  and I have my own definition and it does not mean Amazon is coming here.  But that is for another blog post.

Public Education across the state lacks, in Williamson County, supposedly one of the most "richest" counties in the Country (sure okay let's see the numbers there) is struggling to fund schools and build new ones.  This has led to the debate that Brentwood a town in said county wanting to separate and create an independent school district in order to adequately support the school system the residents demand.

Here in Davidson County our school district is the entire county which includes all school in Nashville and in turn towns outside the city limits that encompasses the growing county thanks to the growth in Nashville. In other words we need a two district system, county and city in which to adequately address needs, service their communities and make policies and have funding that supports schools.   I also want to point out that in Davidson our elected school board also oversees Charter schools and they too are on the list of failing schools,  but they are not accountable to the actual City nor State as they fall into a grey whole of weirdness thanks to Legislators who love this faux system of racial and economic segregation that these schools provide.

So when I read the list I was familiar with many of the schools and had experienced first hand the situations that exist in all of them.   One on the list was the first school I ever subbed at and the few times I returned I just felt bad for all involved.  The last time was for a Teacher who had left after allegedly slamming a door on a student's hand.     I was surprised that another school that had been in the news of late for increased violence was not, go figure.  Oh wait they have a faux cohort of advanced kids tucked away in there as they feed into the two highly acclaimed Magnets here.   Trust me many of said "magnets" are broken but if you have enough kids that can alter the test scores enough to push a bump up you avoid the list.  That is how this is rigged and why data can be misleading.

The other flag was that many of  these are schools currently on the substitute alternative school list via Education Solution Services Supported Schools Those are the schools that are now outsourced to a private agency to place subs.  ESS has a million dollar contract to place subs and in turn make 20 dollars an hour over the standard sub wage billed out.  Frankly I  would be willing to go any of these schools if they paid me the same as hazard pay versus paying an agency to do the same.  I bet the quality of placements are top notch there given the lack of training, experience or licensing needs. Sure put idiots into high risk situations and I bet that works out!

Substitutes are the bus boys of schools and fall into an even more lower paid category - the daily temp worker.  We are not paid when Schools are closed as they were for a week over a snow day schedule (again Nashville the city itself not affected but as they bus most of the kids across the city and county and bus drivers also the lower paid on the rung will not drive due to safety reasons as only major roadways were they clear); Nor are we paid/working when school is out for any scheduled planning/training days nor holidays and closures for the summer.  Full time contracted staff are paid for 10 months (yes 10 months idiots who think they have summer off but they can collect pay over a 12 month cycle if they choose) as well as have sick leave and personal days.  But  there is little incentive to remain a Substitute without a second income and frankly there is no incentive period. 

When I write about my experiences in said schools, I don't name the schools that I have been to as there is nothing to gain from such; however,  I have written about most of them and they are a matter of a "Google"  away from finding out all kinds of good stuff  and information for the diligent.  I just talk about my experiences on that day, in that situation, and that school as a means of venting and of course noting my observations.  I also know that I will find and see more as I cross the district, the city and the county.  Uh, now I don't have to do that  thanks to this list!   **(But for the record some I will as I know the school, the kids and I know how to handle myself, the dog you know as they say)

Imagine you are working at one of these schools or your family is attending one. How would you feel being at the bottom? Then we have the feeder issue.  Some of the elementary schools feed directly into the same middle schools and then into the same high schools so there is a trajectory in which to follow that can lend to tracing the problems, having a staff that works as a cohesive team to build relationships to identify and resolve problems and in turn fix them early on.  Then we have some that are missing links and why is that?  In other words kids who move from a non/flagged elementary into a not/flagged middle school then what?  Or kids who move from a flagged middle school into a not flagged high school?  It gets confusing kids and means putting those special collars you use for dogs on kids I guess.

Well kids this is Nashville and they love their lists, this one, however, not so much.  Will anything change?  Nope


2017 Cusp list


Twenty-one Nashville schools were listed in the bottom 5 percent of all in the state in terms of academics during the 2016-17 year. In addition, the city's two Achievement School District-run charters — LEAD Public Schools' Neely's Bend and Brick Church middle — are also in the bottom 5 percent. 
  • Napier Elementary
  • The Cohn Learning Center
  • Kirkpatrick Elementary
  • Joelton Middle
  • Cumberland Elementary
  • Warner Elementary
  • Maplewood High
  • Wright Middle
  • Haynes Middle
  • Tom Joy Elementary
  • Jere Baxter Middle
  • Alex Green Elementary
  • Neely's Bend Middle
  • Bellshire Elementary
  • Madison Middle
  • Amqui Elementary
  • Robert E. Lilliard Elementary
  • Moses McKissack Middle
  • Pearl-Cohn High
  • McMurray Middle
  • Paragon Mills Elementary
As well, 20 Nashville schools were included in the bottom 5 to 10 percent of all schools in the state.
  • Whites Creek High
  • Rosebank Elementary
  • Antioch Middle
  • Gra-Mar Middle
  • Buena Vista Elementary
  • Caldwell Elementary
  • Robert Churchwell Elementary
  • Shwab Elementary
  • Smithson Craighead Academy
  • Stratford STEM Magnet School
  • Charlotte Park Elementary
  • John F. Kennedy Middle
  • Margaret Allen Middle
  • Goodlettsville Middle
  • Rocketship Nashville Northeast Elementary
  • Neely's Bend Elementary
  • McGavock Elementary
  • East Nashville Middle
  • Tusculum Elementary
  • Glencliff High
** Since I wrote this today two of the schools on this list found two students with guns on campus. The District seem to be proud that they found said guns as if that is something to be proud of. I frequently remind myself about how locked up the schools are and that I wonder if they are doing it to keep us safe or locking us in to ensure we are not.  Again, I have long said I have never felt safe in many of the schools and I have been to both and this does not surprise me in the least.

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