Allison Simpson: “I’m Tired”

The headline struck me: “Metro Nashville schools plan could increase funding at some schools and make cuts at 49 others.”

I never would’ve imagined turning on my computer and seeing the above headline. As if our school system didn’t have enough issues, we are now losing funding. The district received over $33 million in Title I funds last year, but for the upcoming school year we will lose $7.5 million in state funds. Why is this and where did the $33 million go that we received last year?

I wish I was able to say that the money was used to improve literacy, but that’s not true considering research is showing one in three third-graders exit third grade on reading level. Additionally, one in six third-graders not reading proficiently fail to graduate from high school.

What are you spending our money on? Are we paying those in the central office too much? Would any of you all be willing to sacrifice half your salary so that our children don’t have to suffer? Because at the rate we’re going, we’ll be having a conversation next year about how many more prisons we’re going to be building because our students aren’t workforce ready and they are dropping out of school at an alarming rate.

Metro Nashville Public Schools, you have betrayed my trust and until you earn it back I will not attend another meeting you invite me to or complete another survey. I will not waste my time giving my input when my input is not valued. As a parent, I’m angry, I’m terrified and I feel blindsided.

What will be your formula for determining which schools win and which schools lose? Will you look into the eyes of some of our neediest students and tell them just when you thought you were going to win, you lose? How will you communicate to parents that their school is losing funding? What will this mean? What does this look like? I have questions that need answers. Will parents be at the table when these decisions are being made? Will you call us? You certainly call us when you need a few of our students to perform in front of funders to get you more money (but nobody wants to talk about that). What does economically disadvantaged even mean? Sounds to me like you’re robbing Peter to pay Paul and I don’t want any parts of that.

You promised more opportunities for parent input, you put a band-aid on that and gave us a few opportunities here and there, but when we told you what we needed it went in one ear and out the other. You promised to be more transparent….and we know that was a lie because here we are again just now finding out that we are flat broke.

To my parents, we have to stay woke, we have to take matters into our own hands and demand answers, we deserve them. I plan to write, call and text my school board member and my city council member and whoever else I need to. If I have to take off work and meet them outside their offices to hear me then I will.

Dear MNPS, I need answers and I need them now.

Allison Simpson is a working mother of two beautiful daughters. As a local education advocate, she dedicates her time to push for a change in the system so that all families would have equal access to a quality education.

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