Parents: Ignore Shiny Distractions, Focus On Student Progress and School Performance

“What parents really want to see are high-quality schools.”

The above quote is attributed to Jana Carlisle, Metro Schools’ Chief of Staff in a Tennessean article by Jason Gonzalez.  And if you listen, the same words can be heard in four-part harmony throughout Davidson County’s 525 square miles. 

I’ve talked with a number of parents in recent weeks who just want a school that will enhance their child’s greatness. And they care little about the kind of school it is. Yet, the subject of charter schools owns the airwaves and internets, whether they are being trashed by school board members or being blamed for the problems of traditional public schools by — ahem, school board members.

Parents: in the words of my ‘hood – don’t fall for the okey doke!

Shiny Objects With No Substance

Dr. Shawn Joseph, Nashville’s director of schools is now 13 months into his tenure and is naturally looking for things on which to hang his hat, successes. Unfortunately, I’m unable to tie any real outcomes to the current administration. That isn’t easy to write or admit after going to bat for the director last year after a most unfriendly welcome early in his tenure.

While I’m coming to grips with the truth, it’s equally troubling to witness accessorized distractions in the form of innovative ideas that are no more than a band-aid when a cure is sorely needed. For instance, according to this article, Metro Schools is dropping the plan to remove 5th grade from middle schools which currently holds grades five through eight. The article also looks at the twenty under-enrolled schools under the threat of closures.

When the director first introduced the rehashed idea of reconstructing middle school, I offered no energy, because we’ve done that. Twice in the last decade. It yields no tangible results.


Now we are reading about the possibility of closing schools. Really? School leaders are keen to the response of parading such propositions around for public consumption. Especially closing schools. Closing a school, even one that’s is not doing well by children academically and woefully under-capacity will create the worst kind of acrimony thereby creating the best kind of distraction.

I know you’re thinking I’m an old crazy lady who sits around the house with her cat and dog dreaming up wild conspiracy theories about education in Nashville. You would be right. But check this out anyway.

Stay Focused On What Matters

TNReady scores are out. We are waiting to get district and school-level results and we know already the state, on the whole, did poorly. Remember the chart distributed by the TNDOE celebrating End-of-Course “increases across all subjects?” It was a “creative” representation of student performance across the state setting the stage for the results we are seeing today. BOLO (be on the lookout).

As always, stay woke. Don’t get distracted by anything unrelated your child’s achievement because:

“What parents really want to see are high-quality schools.”



8 thoughts on “Parents: Ignore Shiny Distractions, Focus On Student Progress and School Performance

  1. Wellllll….what a sweet exchange! 🙂 LOL. I was just coming to say….yeah….a lot of hard truths in this blog. Thanks for it. Each paragraph had a new idea and twist. Agreeing with TC too. Really good one. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, my friend! Also, I hope all your Houston-based loved ones are good. Loved your role as a sort of satellite dispatch!


      1. Thank you. I’ve got a looonnnng way to reach your status in the community but I like the different points of view. Coffee sometime?


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