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Wed Apr 3, 2013, 12:02 PM

Crucible of Change in Memphis as State Takes On Failing Schools

MEMPHIS — Not far off a scruffy boulevard lined with dollar stores and payday loan shops in a neighborhood of run-down brick bungalows, Corning Achievement Elementary School here is a pristine refuge, with gleaming tile floors and signs in classrooms proclaiming “Whatever it takes.”

In this Mississippi River town marked by pockets of entrenched poverty, some of the worst schools in the state are in the midst of a radical experiment in reinventing public education.

Last fall, Tennessee began removing schools with the lowest student test scores and graduation rates from the oversight of local school boards and pooling them in a special state-run district. Memphis, where the vast majority of public school students are black and from poor families, is ground zero: 80 percent of the bottom-ranked schools in the state are here.

Tennessee’s Achievement School District, founded as part of the state’s effort to qualify for the Obama administration’s Race to the Top grant, is one of a small handful of state-run districts intended to rejuvenate chronically struggling schools. Louisiana’s Recovery School District, created in 2003, is the best-known forerunner, and this year Michigan also set up a state district for failing schools. In February, Virginia legislators passed a measure to set up a similar statewide district.


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Reply Crucible of Change in Memphis as State Takes On Failing Schools (Original post)
groovedaddy Apr 2013 OP
elleng Apr 2013 #1
Starry Messenger Apr 2013 #2

Response to groovedaddy (Original post)

Wed Apr 3, 2013, 03:04 PM

1. 'Outside the school, signs celebrate rising scores on interim tests

the students took in August and January. “Second and 3rd grade Prepsters scored higher than 98% of the norm!” one banner read.

Many parents say these scores have come at a cost. At one explosive community meeting in December, parents complained that children had suffered repeated bathroom accidents under strict new disciplinary policies. Others fumed that teachers were taking shoes from students caught fiddling with them.'

On the other hand, and another story,

'Mr. Verdino sent an e-mail to prospective parents in which he claimed that Eye-Level’s Korean method, which pairs one teacher up with only a few students, is more effective than Kumon’s Japanese learning strategy, where the student-to-teacher ratio is much higher. Further, he wrote, Kumon requires too much rote memorization, and not enough critical thinking.'

Centers See New Faces Seeking Test Prep.

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Response to groovedaddy (Original post)

Wed Apr 3, 2013, 03:50 PM

2. Isn't TN the state where they are proposing legislation to start docking welfare for parents

who have students who aren't doing well in school? It's sad to read about the entrenched poverty that exists.

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