This is what happens when politics outranks people.
A resolution introduced by board member Mary Pierce enforcing the board’s role in advocating for every student (and family) failed in dramatic form this week. The breakdown of the vote on the measure to support ALL families was, unfortunately, not surprising — 4 voting yes, 3 abstaining, 1 refused to vote and 1 absent. But what shocks the system is the message it sends to the families on the other end of the failed motion. A message best explained in a Cee-Lo Green song “although there’s a pain in my chest, I still wish you the best with a F— you.”
There’s not much to add to this story besides petty commentary and that, quite frankly, does nothing for the parents now officially alienated from the school district. However, I do feel the need to amplify one tiny part of the school board’s own policy mandating the elected body to “advocate for the organization and all of the students it serves.” The failed motion means only one thing for these families, the school board has abdicated its responsibility to serve charter school children and families. Holla!
So, I urge parents to reach out to board members. Express appreciation to the members voting on your behalf and to those who didn’t vote for you respectfully remind them that you’re still part of the family. Like it or not.
“The resolution is not about whether or not our board philosophically supports charter schools — individual members have made positions clear on the board floor and on social media,” Pierce said. “Rather, this is about our service as board members as advocates for the entire district and all the students it serves.”
Please read every word of this resolution.
A resolution declaring the Board of Education’s intent to reaffirm our commitment to our Governing Policy Three: Board Job Description with a specific focus on number Eight: Advocate for the organization and all of the students it serves.
WHEREAS, Metro Nashville Public Schools currently serve students in all of the following: traditional zoned district schools for students in grades K-12, open enrollment district schools, pre-kindergarten programs, magnet schools, non-traditional academies, alternative schools, homeschool programs and public charter schools; and
WHEREAS, MNPS educates nearly 88,000 students who come from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, many with diverse learning styles*; and
WHEREAS, MNPS public charter schools, authorized by the MNPS Board of Education, serve almost 10,000 students; and
WHEREAS, the cultural and socio-economic diversity within MNPS public charter schools closely reflects that of the entire district**; and
WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Nashville Davidson County Board of Public Education is committed to providing every student a high-quality education that promotes social and emotional learning and strives for increasing academic achievement; and
WHEREAS these core beliefs are reiterated in the commitment in Governing Policy Three that this Board will “advocate for the organization and all of the students it serves;” and
WHEREAS, the Board of Education has been addressed on numerous occasions by parents and others with children enrolled in one of our 28 MNPS Board approved charter schools by way of letters and public comments that they do not feel supported by the totality of the board; and
WHEREAS, these same parents have asked that the Board of Education treat them and their schools with the same courtesy and respect extended to parents and educators in zoned schools, magnet schools, and all other types of schools authorized by the Board of Education; and
WHEREAS, this board has consistently adopted standards that promote collaboration, including the first Annenberg Standard, which states that “Traditional district and charter schools should work together to ensure a coordinated approach that serves all children”; and
WHEREAS, we recognize that in every type of school our organization offers or authorizes, there will be concerns that should be addressed by the Director of Schools and district staff, and RS-2017-3
WHEREAS, at times, advocacy for students and families with concerns might appear to conflict with advocacy for MNPS, it is possible to do so without disparaging the schools, the employees or MNPS, and
WHEREAS, all of our students, and their families, regardless of the schools they attend, deserve to be treated in a respectful, inclusive manner;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Metro Nashville Board of Public Education:
- Recognizes that our MNPS public charter schools are part of the organization of MNPS and serve the same diverse populations as our other MNPS schools; and
- Commits to ensuring its schools remain safe and welcoming places for all students and their families regardless of the type of school they attend; and
- Commits to treating students, parents, staff and leaders of MNPS public charter schools with the same respect and civility extended to those in district run schools; and
- Commits to handling concerns, issues and sensitive information reported by families or staff from a district charter school in the same discreet, consistent and professional manner as those brought by families or staff from a district-run school; and
- Commits to high standards of personal accountability when giving public statements (social media posts, opinion editorials, statements on the board floor, etc.) to ensure the accuracy of information to the best of one’s ability; and
- Commits to leading as a productive, student-centered board focused on making every MNPS school excellent.
Adopted this 13th day of June 2017.