The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce released its annual Report Card on Metro Schools yesterday. The group made 5 policy recommendations, including asking the MNPS School Board to wait until after the new Mayor is elected in August of 2015 before finalizing a Director of Schools.
Here are the recommendations from the Chamber press release:
- The Nashville Chamber’s Education Report Card Committee should annually monitor the implementation of MNPS’ strategic plan through 2018.
- MNPS’ pay supplement system should be reformed to financially reward teachers who assume a leadership position at their school.
- MNPS should highlight issues which impede school-level autonomy to identify needed policy or statute changes.
- The Metro Nashville Board of Education should take action to recommit itself to policy governance and professional development in order to establish steps toward developing consensus moving forward.
- The school board should hire a new director of schools after the election of a new mayor in 2015.
Here’s how Report Card committee members explained the suggested delay on a Director choice until after the Mayor’s election:
“The director of schools reports to the Metro Nashville Board of Education,” said Committee Co-chair Brian Shaw. “But our committee felt it will be critically important for both the educational leadership and the political leadership of our community have strong working relationships, and the upcoming election for mayor and Metro Council is critical to that.”
“The school board has a tremendous amount of work to do to get to the point where they are ready to hire a new director, so we understand the need to go ahead and begin the search process soon,” said committee Co-chair Jackson Miller. “We believe knowing who our next mayor is before the finalists are identified eliminates a big question mark in the minds of the quality candidates we are trying to recruit.”
The Metro Nashville Education Association weighed-in on the Report Card, essentially agreeing with the core recommendations but adding that teacher input is needed going forward and that funding for teacher pay must be a priority. The MNEA agrees that a new Director should not be hired until the new mayor has been elected.
Here’s what MNEA had to say, from their press release:
- In addition to the annual monitoring by the Chamber’s Report Card committee, the success of MNPS’ strategic plan, Education 2018, a plan to become the highest performing urban school district in the United States, will be dependent on the support of all of Nashville, especially its students, teachers, and leaders.
- MNEA has long supported more pay for teachers who assume leadership responsibilities. However, its implementation will be contingent upon the district making it a funding priority.
- Both nationally and internationally, highly success schools exist where there is teacher autonomy. Yet experience tells us that in the absence of an accountability structure and/or the will to create one, school-level, or principal autonomy, will lead to chaos and injustice.
- In 2002 the MNPS Board of Education adopted policy governance. No member of the current board served during 2002, nor did any member vote to adopt this form of governance. The current elected board should either recommit to policy governance or choose a form of governance that best serves their needs, and most importantly, best serves the needs of Nashville’s students.
- The hiring of the next MNPS Director of Schools should not occur without input from Nashville’s students, parents, teachers, and new mayor.
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