polo outlet birch run letter to state board on Great Hearts surprises some
Mayor Karl Dean letter asking the Tennessee State Board of Education to approve Great Hearts Academies Nashville charter proposal and undo a decision of the local school board in his government has raised eyebrows among some Metro officials.
surprised that the mayor would send a letter asking the state to overturn a decision made by our local school board, At large Councilman Jerry Maynard told The City Paper.
Maynard, who opposes the controversial Great Hearts charter proposal, said the council doesn want the coming in and meddling in our business, and overturning policies that we pass, a principle of local autonomy he said should extend to the school board.
Leading up to Great Hearts Tuesday appeal hearing before the state board of education, Dean addressed a letter to the Gov. Bill Haslam appointed board that made it clear where he stands on the issue.
am writing to let you know my strong support for the charter application of Great Hearts Academies and to ask you to overturn the District Board denial of that application, Dean wrote in the July 16 letter.
The mayor added that the Phoenix based charter group, which has applied for an initial charter in West Nashville and five across the county, is the type of high quality choice that many Nashville families seek. raising concerns about Great Hearts commitment to diversity, the Metro school board voted to reject its proposal in May before denying it again on appeal last month. Great Hearts has now taken its fight to the state board, which is expected to vote on its appeal on July 27.
Dean, the head of Metro, has put himself in the unique spot of opposing action of a Metro board and entity, one that receives city dollars and legal counsel from the Metro Department of Law. Unlike other commissions that are mayoral appointed, however, Davidson County citizens elect the nine member school board.
At large Councilman Ronnie Steine said Dean letter me as odd. folks at the [Metro] school board are being so conscientious in terms of licensing charter schools, Steine said. strikes me as very odd that those of us that are elected to other offices don trust their process. I find it very strange.
would hope the folks of Great Hearts would continue to work with our school board to put together a proposal that meets their criteria, instead of this running around them, Steine added.
Dean, in recent years, has opposed moves by the Republican dominated state legislature to intervene in Metro affairs. After in 2011 Dean signed into law a bill that required Metro contractors to extend nondiscrimination polices to gay, lesbian and transgender workers, the General Assembly moved swiftly to nullify it.
A year later, Dean supported state legislation to undo that nullification. In , he argued the local law an important expression of Nashville being a welcoming place. He also said local ordinances deserve the respect of the state.
is not the time to abandon our belief in local government, he wrote.
In recommending the denial of Great Hearts, Metro Director of Schools Jesse Register administration has criticized what it dubs diversity the idea of placing its five schools in different parts of the county to achieve racial and socioeconomic diversity. Skeptical of Great Hearts busing plan, Metro school board member Ed Kindall has applied a different word to the proposal: segregation.
Great Hearts officials have rejected that assertion, arguing the 1.5 mile circumference around its proposed first school on White Bridge Road is racially diverse. Dean, meanwhile, believes the charter organization has satisfied diversity issues.
the district board denial of Great Hearts application seems to be centered on diversity concerns, Great Hearts has shown a clear commitment to diversity by offering to open five schools in different areas of Nashville, Dean wrote earlier this week.
Kindall, who has served on the Metro board since the mid 1980s, also used the word to describe the mayor letter to the state board.
you think about it, we represent the city on the board of education, and of course, he the leader of the city, he said. sort of like asking the state to overturn something the council did.
all the time I been a part of the board, I haven seen the mayor get involved so much in an issue like this, Kindall said.
on 7/20/12 at 9:03
I can’t really speak (yet) to the Great Hearts issue specifically but I do have a question regarding the comments by people quoted in the article that have to do with diversity. What is the standard for racial and socioeconomic diversity ? How do you know when it is achieved?
My youngest son went to Inglewood Elementary. I guess he was in the racial and socioeconomic minority. If I recall, it seems like about 70 75% of the kids there were on free or reduced lunch plans and most of the students were black. This fall he’ll be going to Stratford. From my visits to the school it doesn’t look like there is a lot of racial diversity, at least to me.
So what is this diversity they speak of and how do we know when we have it? My fear is that decisions are being made using some standard that isn’t defined and may not even exist. Can someone help me understand this?
on 7/20/12 at 9:30
Whether you’re for or against charters or Great Hearts, this is one of those times when a public official can do real damage by attacking the process to win on the issue.
The State of Tennessee has shown a greater and greater willingness to intervene in Nashville local governance issues. Everything from who we want to contract with to our local schools is being heavily dictated by a less representative body. (That’s why they make all politicians swear to uphold the laws of the government they join we don’t want representatives leading with a conflict of interest.)
When the local mayor asks a higher government to change the policy of his government there is a real problem. This is a power grab.
The Mayor already gets to deal with the top 3 most powerless council’s in the United States. When 40 people have to agree with each other its easy for the Mayor to divide and conquer. Hell, on the biggest issue the City Council faces he doesn’t even have to divide and conquer; if the Council doesn’t pass a budget that effectively mirrors the mayor’s budget by a certain date, the Mayor’s budget passes automatically.