by Steven Hale
Over at The City Paper, Metro school board member Will Pinkston has penned an op-ed on Nashville's ongoing education debate. He says it's time for a reboot.
As a member of the Nashville School Board and the board’s delegate to the MNPS charter review process, I believe now is the time to reboot the conversation. Yes, charters are part of the solution. But there’s a lot more to education reform.
Someone on the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Education Committee recently challenged me to help make way for more charter schools by “rightsizing” the school system’s operations — a business term typically associated with layoffs and facility closures. In a school system that’s expected to grow by 15 percent over the next decade, I don’t foresee workforce reductions. But like any big organization, MNPS needs to improve efficiencies. And we will.
Now, I’d like to challenge the charter movement to help rightsize the education conversation in Nashville. The reality is: If we truly care about improving public education, then placing all our bets on charters is misguided. Typically, charters set out to reform the system 100 kids at a time. Meanwhile, MNPS has 81,000 students and 6,000 teachers — the vast majority of whom are in existing schools that need and deserve our support. The public debate over charters has been healthy, to a point. But now it’s distracting from a broader set of efforts.