I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Friday, August 5, 2011

“Hostile Surrender”—Memphis Class Warfare with Kids in the Middle

I found this interesting story on MSNBC yesterday, about a large, failing inner-city school system forcing a merger with an equally funded yet very successful suburban school district.  Very interesting.  Luckily, this is taking place elsewhere, in Memphis Tennessee.  But is this the shape of things to come as budget pressures force more and more districts to the financial brink? Is this the shape of things to come when perceived disparities in quality erupt between equally funded yet vastly different school systems?   From MSNBC:
“Memphis district aims to disband to force wealthier suburban system to absorb its students
At the heart of it, the turbulence is about dollars and cents and the quality of education. Fearing possible threats to its funding, the failing inner-city Memphis City Schools, with 209 schools and 108,000 students, decided to force a merger with its smaller, more affluent neighbor — Shelby County Schools. To accomplish that, the district's board surrendered its charter in November. That unprecedented move, essentially undoing the creation of the Memphis district in 1869, was subsequently approved by the City Council and by the city’s voters in a referendum in March. But while the move might make sense economically, it has triggered a heated debate about the fairness of merging two districts with different levels of academic achievement. It has even stirred the ghosts of the city’s legacy of busing students to alleviate racial inequities in the school system.  Residents of suburban Shelby County — in which the city is located — did not have a vote, and the county Board of Education sued to block the merger. Its chairman, David Pickler, refers to the unfolding events as part of a “hostile surrender”

Full Story here

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