Jan 29 2011

#MCS Following the Media – 11/28/11

Posted by Steve Ross in MCS Media

Yesterday, Jackson Baker of the Memphis Flyer published a series of videos from the multitude of Town Hall meetings held on Thursday. Some of the comments in those videos are more interesting than others. I’ll leave it up to you to draw your conclusions.

In other news, the state ordered SCS to contract with its first Charter School. It’s interesting to me that SCS has avoided the specter of Charter Schools up till now, especially considering that many people in the county system support the idea of Charter Schools generally. Actually, it’s telling. Perhaps, despite the rhetoric that Charter Schools are a positive reform policy idea, the leaders of the county system recognize that Charter Schools may have a negative impact on public education generally. I don’t know, just throwing that out there.

Finally, State Sen. Beverly Marrero speaks out about the specter of the state inserting itself in a local issue. From my perspective, legislators should beware of this action. It may be Shelby County today, but if the state intervenes in this issue now, how long will it be before the state decides something in their home districts, wherever they may be, has displeased the state and warrants intervention? I wonder how these legislators would feel about it if their voters were being threatened with disenfranchisement.

Enjoy the weekend. It promises to be beautiful out there.

VIDEO: Herenton, Others Weigh in at Meetings on School Merger
State education board orders Shelby County Schools to OK charter school application
Lawmakers weigh in on MCS charter surrender debate
Opposing Sides In MCS Charter Debate Meet In Town Hall Meeting
Do Black People Think Alike?
Merger Concerns Voiced at Town Hall Meeting
MCS Board Member Debates Students’ Merger Debate
State Votes to Keep Charter Schools
Could City Taxes Go Down If City Schools Go Out Of Business?
State Orders Shelby County Schools to Approve Charter School
Not all on Memphis City School board in favor of losing charter
Editorial: Ramsey gets in the act
Memphis schools debate is local issue, Marrero says

Jan 28 2011

#MCS Following the Media – 1/27/11

Posted by Steve Ross in MCS Media

So yesterday I said that the media fervor was slowing down. Looks like I spoke too soon. Today brings us a bevy of articles from all over the spectrum, including a first national look from the New York Times.

Yep, we’re big time now.

Lots of reports about the various and sundry forums and town meetings started the day. By the end of the day we heard from a State Senator representing the most northeastern section of the state, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey.

All that is chronicled below, but perhaps the most interesting article that I read yesterday came from the Tri-State Defender.

In that article, Memphis City Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash addresses one of the biggest problems facing the City Schools – economic segregation.

“The problem here – and I have never seen anything like it anywhere else in my life – is that Memphis has the worst case of economic segregation I have ever seen. You have an $87 billion economy here and less than one percent of that is directed to the black community,” said Cash.

“People might not like me saying it and they might want me to leave after saying it, but it’s the truth and the problem. The Memphis City Schools is a microcosm of that system. Those who say they don’t want our children because they don’t want the problems, do nothing to help solve the problems that they themselves have caused. They don’t love our children. And these kids see it. They are not stupid.

“You speak of role models, well here’s the model you’re giving them to follow: economic segregation. And the model ain’t good.”

Wow. Finally someone is addressing one of the key issues facing the area.

I’ve got a lot more to say about that, but now’s not the time or the place. More on this and other things later this weekend.

Have a good one.

Memphis City Schools expands student progress tracking
Same tune, no harmony in Memphis-Shelby County schools merger debate
No new expense for Shelby County Schools in merger with Memphis
Still the Big Story
Thursday forums: Call it consolidation-apalooza!
Will my kids attend the same school under a city-county merger?
School debate hinges on larger questions
Supt. Cash calls out economic segregation
Senate Speaker Ramsey wants to block or delay schools referendum

Central Library Site of Latest Schools Forum

School Referendum at Center of Recent Forums
Mayor Warns Off Legislative Efforts to Obstruct MCS Referendum as “Contemptible” – Video
Wharton, Haslam React to Referendum Delay Talk
Private schools preparing for possible boom as charter vote approaches
Parents, teachers want answers at charter surrender town hall
Mayor Wharton Defends Referendum Vote to Legislature
Merger Raises Differences In Sports And Arts
Haslam Seeks Answers to Education and Job Creation Questions in Memphis, Shelby County
Herenton Highlights North Memphis Townhall Turned Rally
Lt. Governor Ramsey moves to block or delay charter referendum
School Board Member Says He’s “Appalled” By Lawmaker’s Plan to Stop School Consolidation Vote
Showdown over schools: Herenton supports merger proposal
Memphis suburbs weigh options in school conflict, including separate systems
Collierville Looking At Creating Municipal School District

Memphis to Vote on Transferring School System to County

Housekeeping note: Up to this point I’ve been using the traditional end of the day, 11:59pm to denote the end of the day, with a couple of minutes of pad for good measure. My thought process was, if it’s really that important, they’ll publish early. I can think of two or three instances where I’ve diverged from this, usually by accident. For the most part, this has worked. Unfortunately, that may or may not be representative of the news cycle. Of course the TV stations publish on their sites when they want to, and often, confusingly, multiple times (I’m talking to you WMC). The Daily News publishes their feeds at 4 or 5 pm for the next day. Tri-state and Memphis Business publish their feeds weekly. The Flyer publishes on demand as well as weekly, and the CA sticks to more of a midnighty schedule unless its breaking.

In order to get all the news of the day, I’ve decided I’m going to have to stretch a little into the next day. I’ve picked 4am, because by then the paper delivery guys are working, and if any reporters are up, chances are they’re not writing, they’re either on a bender or taking care of a cranky baby. Last thing I want to do is irritate someone’s repetitive use injury ;-).

Hopefully this will be more representative of yesterday’s news today.

Sharing is caring.

Jan 27 2011

#MCS Following the Media – 1/26/11

Posted by Steve Ross in MCS Media

Another day, another debate.

Media coverage has slowed considerably, probably due to the absolute lack of answers to the remaining questions. Opponents of the merger have and will continue to use these questions as a means to scare and confuse voters. This was evident both last night at the WMC Debate and Tuesday at the WREG debate. The key is, they don’t know the answers either, so any threats at this point are baseless propaganda that does nothing but show their true intentions…to maintain separation at any and all cost.

There are some community forums going on tonight:

Snowden School cafeteria from 6-7:30
Hollywood Community Center from 5:30 to 7. Featuring former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton.
St. Paul Baptist Church, 2124 E. Holmes 6-8, featuring Dr. Marcus Pohlmann

In the mean time, we’re in wait and see mode. If you’ve been following this thing since the beginning, you understand why we are where we are. Based on that knowledge, even the uncertainty of “wait and see” is better than the likely circumstances of doing nothing.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to put together a timeline of events since the emergence of Commissioner Jones’ resolution back in November by Monday. This is one thing that may help folks just joining the party catch up.

No guarantees. I haven’t even watched the whole State of the Union or the various and sundry “responses” yet, so clearly I’m pretty far behind. Still, if I can get that out, or find one that’s actually comprehensive I think it will be helpful in informing people going forward.

Hopson Provides MCS Legal Counsel
Leadership Academy Luncheon Will Focus on Urban Education
Cash Reform Agenda Clashes With Referendum
Willie Herenton to speak at school consolidation talk Thursday evening
Whalum: Show Me The Money & Teen Pregnancy Numbers
City and county school officials try to explain what’s next in debate

WREG Debate
WMC Debate

Jan 26 2011

#MCS Following the Media – 1/25/11

Posted by Steve Ross in MCS Media

Debate!, FORUM, lively discussion… Whatever you want to call it, it happened last night, right before the State of the Union Address, which made for a whole night of politics.

I wasn’t able to sit down and listen to the whole thing. Life intervened. If you missed it too, you can watch it here.

Based on the snippets I heard walking in and out of the room, there wasn’t any real ground breaking or earth shattering new information. I’ll watch the thing today in preparation for the WMC debate tonight from 7-8 featuring Tomeka Hart and David Pickler.

There’s also a forum featuring City Councilman Jim Strickland, County Commissioner Melvin Burgess, and MCS Board member Jeff Warren, to he held at Snowden School on Thursday.

These are just the most publicized of a whole bunch of community meetings about the MCS situation that are happening all over the City, and will likely continue through election day.

Who knows? Maybe this is just the kind of thing we needed to get us all talking to each other again. Since I moved here in ’04 I’ve seen pockets of neighborhood involvement, but nothing particularly widespread. Maybe the upside of all this is that will foster that kind of long-term dialogue.

In the mean time, I’ll be working on a post about the debate last night itself, with hopes of getting it out this afternoon.

Family Sorrow For Biggest Defender of MCS Charter Surrender
School Board Member Proposes Consolidation Blueprint
Kriner Cash: Merger Won’t Help
Jeff Warren Makes Another Try at an MCS-SCS Compromise
The School Debate Goes Prime Time
Come here to chat tonight during the schools consolidation debate
Memphis School Merger Planning In High Gear As Vote Nears
Whalum wants city to pay schools before charter surrender vote
School Compromise Goes to MCS Board Next Month
Watch streaming video of the school consolidation debate
Merger May Boost Private School Rolls
City School Superintendent Says Consolidation Doesn’t Help Education
Voters Look for Answers On Consolidation
Interview: Rev. Dwight Montgomery
School Charter Showdown Debate
MCS Superintendent Says Consolidation Won’t Help Memphis Students
Showdown over schools: Debate fails to dislodge discord

Jan 25 2011

#MCS – Following the Media – 1/22/11 through 1/24/11

Posted by Steve Ross in MCS Media

Yawn… Long weekend. And really nothing new.

Whalum still doesn’t take Bill Gates at his word. Gatewood is still defending her honor from attacks from County Commissioner Terry Roland. The State Legislature is still on vacay. Memphis still owes MCS however much money we owe them. And Jeff Warren is still desperately seeking to pass something…anything. Whether it’s binding or not.

Until something significant changes, this is the way it will likely stay at least until the Legislature comes back into session.

Yesterday, County Commissioner Sidney Chism opined that the state won’t interfere in the election. That doesn’t mean the legislature won’t pass something, that means he believes the Governor won’t sign it. That said, the lack of a signature doesn’t mean it won’t become law. In fact, if the Governor sits on his hands for ten days after receipt of the passed bill, it becomes law automatically. If he actively vetoes it, a simple majority of both houses of the State Legislature can override that veto. So, if the Governor really doesn’t want to weigh in on the issue, what are the chances of him actively vetoing the legislation?

Oh, our passive aggressive state government.

I’ve had some people contact me to float the theory that the bill proposed by Sen. Mark Norris was part of some botched attempt at carrot/stick diplomacy. Call me crazy, but I never saw the carrot. If anything, Sen. Norris’ bill did do one thing, confirm the beliefs of those who voted for surrender that the newly minted Republican majority in the State Legislature is both unpredictable and untrustworthy. In fact, State Rep. GA Hardaway all but predicted this very outcome. Way to instill trust guys.

It was reported last week that the County Commission was preparing to set districts for the newly unified Shelby County School District. To that end, an opinion was sought and received on the statutory authority of the Commission to redraw the districts. The opinion states that the County Commission may reapportion the Shelby county Board of Education in accordance with Federal and State law. Furthermore, rather than calling a new election, the Commission has the authority to appoint new members to the newly constituted Board until such time as the normal electoral cycle would cause a new election. The opinion does not speak to the size of the newly constituted board, but under the quoted state law, there seem to be no size prohibitions.

So, that’s gonna happen, and probably sooner rather than later.

For now, enjoy the quiet before the storm. There are going to be some televised debates and this and that, but unless you’re just really in to watching people rehash what’s happened over the past two months, or need to get up to speed, I don’t see that much new information coming out of them. Of course, if it’s even so much as phrased differently, it will be reported as new.

The real action will likely come after the vote, when the courts get involved, and as County Commissioner Chism notes, they will. More of the details will be decided in court than anywhere else. How long those decisions drag out is largely dependent on how far the plaintiffs want to go in the appeals process. All of this will depend on who decides to file first and for what reason. If you think it’s complicated now, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Thus ends the broken record portion of this post.

All in all, the speed of reporting on this seems to have slowed considerably. There just isn’t that much new to report, and much of the rehashing has been done to death. Of course, sweeps is in February, so don’t be surprised at what you may see. If the misleading reporting about the pregnancy rate at Frayser High is any indication, there’s likely to be a good deal of screw ups in the next month that never get corrected.

Buyer beware.

January 22, 2011

Whalum Skeptical of Gates Foundation Grant’s Safety
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Be ‘Em!: City Schools and County Schools Prepare to Trade Places
Memphis School Board Member Fires Back at Her Accusers
Town Hall Meeting Addresses Concerns about MCS Charter Surrender

January 23, 2011

Showdown over schools: So much unsaid in Memphis vote on charter
City Council’s Debt To MCS Likely Still Owed
Study offers glimpse at possible impact of school consolidation
Gatewood Denies Her Charter Vote was ‘Bought’

January 24, 2011

Televised debates will help explain referendum issues
Questionable future of optional schools does not deter hopeful parents
Memphis City Schools board member Jeff Warren to offer up another option
Germantown residents examine possibility of creating city school district
City, County Schools Leaders Address Critical Issues
Millington Mayor Sounds Off on Merger
School Board Hears ‘Umbrella’ Proposal
Memphis School Teachers Concerned About Jobs and Benefits if Merger Happens
County Commission Chairman Predicts No Troubles From Nashville On Schools
School charter plan tests lukewarm waters
Warren Rolls Out More Detailed Compromise For Feb. 28 Board Vote