Friday, August 24, 2007

Living in fear of being held accountable

We all live in fear of being held accountable for paying our taxes. A letter from the IRS  will produce more anxiety and fear than almost any other piece of mail. Paying your property taxes means the difference between having a roof over your head and living on the street. Taxpayers are held to a higher level of accountability than ANY government agency or politician. That  is why it is so maddening when we find that school administrators are taking our taxpayer money and then lying to us about what that money is accomplishing.

Smart City Memphis does another great job of highlighting the failure of Memphis City Schools...Year after Year after Year.


After all, to be judged as proficient in reading in Tennessee classrooms, an eighth grader has to answer only 40 percent of the questions right. In 2004, it was 43 percent, and in 2003, it was 51 percent. Last time, we got one of our children's report cards, that test score was a solid "F" no matter who calculated it.

Supt. Carol Johnson was masterful in her use of safe harbors, a strategy made possible under No Child Left Behind and she was only taking advantage of the provisions of the sweeping federal law. Admitting on the front end that we are seriously oversimplifying the definition of safe harbor, in essence, it gives districts a way to include schools that really aren't making AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) – but are making strides – into the list of "good standing" schools.

There are 41 of these safe harbor schools at Memphis City Schools. Or put another way, of those 128 schools touted in news release for setting a new record in "schools in good standing," 41 of them actually are not making AYP.