Jon Alfuth over at Bluff City Ed has an update on the ASD and its actions in Memphis and in Nashville.
Alfuth’s report includes information on the teacher group organizing against ASD takevovers and concerns expressed by Shelby County Schools Superintenent Dorsey Hopson.
Most troubling is the notes about Chris Barbic’s remarks asserting the ASD could take all 85 schools on the priority list and noting that the ASD has been essentially playing nice up to this point.
Here’s the excerpt:
The most interesting and worrisome part of the last article for me are two quotes from Chris Barbic, the ASD’s Superintendent. First, Roberts quotes him as saying
“I think its important to remind everyone that a lot of things we are doing are by choice. If we wanted to, we could take over all 85 schools next year (bold added by me for emphasis).”
Second, he also states that they don’t have to do a matching process but that they have chosen to do so, and laments that they are being “beaten up” for what they are doing. He also says that they (presumably the community) “would be beating us up for not doing it (the matching process).”
These quotes trouble me because they perpetuate the message Memphians have been getting that “we (the ASD) have the power, and you should be thankful that we’re including you.” While I don’t know what else was said in the interview, it worries me that this is the type of rhetorical language that we’re seeing in the wake of a strong anti-ASD outpouring. Barbic does qualify his first quote by stating that they’ve chosen to work with SCS instead of pursing the total takeover course of action, but the lead sentence makes it clear who really has the decision making power.
In the end, the ASD opposition is all about who has the power to improve our schools, and quotes like this don’t do anything to alleviate the idea growing locally that the ASD is engaged in a hostile takeover of Memphis.
I tend to agree with Jon that the challenge to the ASD is essentially about power. Parents, teachers, and even SCS leaders feel like they lack the power to make decisions about the schools.
For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport