This letter to the Nashville Editor was emailed to me by my friend, Stephen Morris. Please read and comment , if you wish!
Mr. David Plazas,
I first want to wish you and your family a Happy New Year.
The subject of my article this week is really personal, since two of our grandchildren are presently attending school right here in Nashville. When our sons were of school age, my wife and I were very active in Great Neck’s nationally ranked Public School System, on NY’s Long Island. I was a two-term president of the Great Neck North High School PTA and my wife, who was a NYC teacher, even ran for our local School Board.
The Tennessean, our most influential newspaper, must be at the forefront in any attempt to improve our kid’s education. And from everything I have seen so far, Nashville’s public schools really need a radical improvement.
Dr. Stephen Morris DDS
Nashville is viewed around the country as a modern, sophisticated and safe town, with fantastic culture, great universities, wonderful sport’s teams and sumptuous cuisine. “Music City” is extremely business-friendly and has an educated and religiously-based population. But everyone seems to know about our secret, which is not a “secret” anymore. If you are a young couple with children and moving to Nashville, you better find a way to get your kids into the one or two “decent public schools”, or else send them to a private school instead. And there are dozens and dozens of nationally ranked private schools right here to choose from. However, finding the money, (tuition can start at $8,000 a year), may require you to sign away your retirement. The 2016 Educational Report Card, an analysis by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, recently uncovered how really bad our public schools are. They are a national disgrace.
If you are a parent with school age kids, and you are on blood pressure medications, perhaps you should sit down before you read the following. ok? Here goes:
Only 36% of our 4th grade students and 41% of our 8th grade students are NOT falling behind in their reading scores. That means that almost 2/3 of all public school students are already exhibiting severe reading deficiencies. That’s outrageous. Do I have to repeat that? Two thirds. Jumping into action, our “brilliant” educators tried a solution. Instead of top-to-bottom changes,they hired “literary coaches” and “reading interventionists”. Who thought of that one? That’s like Vanderbilt treating its cancer patients with physical therapy!
As if you couldn’t guess, there was no improvement at all. Their 2016 ACT scores (academic proficiency) and graduation rates remain horrifically low. Third graders who are not reading at grade level are four times more likely to drop out of high school. Metro schools only have a 81% graduation rate! That’s outrageous. But much worse, if that’s at all possible, in a search for a better education for their children, many of our wealthy, educated and culturally advantaged families are moving to Williamson County or not sending their kids to our public schools at all. This has resulted in a segregated school system where our “privileged class” attends private schools, while everyone else goes the public route.
Stop calling this “a literacy problem”. It’s way beyond that. Both my wife and I are successful graduates of NYC’s fabulous public school system of the 1950’s. I’ve seen what happens to a city, when their public schools system deteriorates. Nashville, has the money, resources and the know-how to fix this problem. We should be ashamed of ourself if we let even one more year go by, before we fire those who are incapable of solving this problem and bring in new people with educational ideas that really work.
Dr Stephen Morris DDS
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