Sunday, July 24, 2011

Robertson County Schools / City of Springfield: Questions & Comments

Here are some comments that appeared in my posts regarding the Robertson County Schools here and here.
I thought I would take the opportunity to speak to those comments here for the benefit of all my readers.

I've run the "under-performing magnate school" idea by a number of educators from both inside and outside our system, and have been met with a near unanimous answer - the board would be sued by those parents who do not wish their child to be labeled as an under achiever. I believe Dr. Farmer commented to that fact at the meeting. Those same educators also are in fair agreement that the "label" is not offensive to the children, but rather viewed by the parents as derogatory ("Don't you label MY child!"). Your thoughts, Jonathan, from the lawyer's corner?

I am not so sure.
I do not profess to be an expert on this issue, mind you, but what was proposed by Board Member Converse greatly resembles that form and function of a charter school. Now, with that being said, the concerns you cite came to mind, but I do not want to exclude it immediately.
I am encouraged by the out-of-the-box thinking on the issue. The Board of Education is acknowledging this issue, and proceeding accordingly. What came of the discussion was the proposal to create a task-force to evaluate the viability of those and other options.
I am not quite sure what the City of Springfield’s expectations are on this issue if this is dismissed so quickly.
As far as labeling goes, I do not think we can concern ourselves as much about hurt feelings when they reality of our schools is so dire.
Who is the winner in a lawsuit????
I tell my clients frequently that lawyers are generally the only true winners. Now, with that being said, if you are not getting what you are reasonably asking for “at the table” and you have no alternative, you must move forward with what you must do.
I believe that something does need to be done, but it seems that with whatever comes up, schools or anything else, Mr. Hubbard wants to turn it into something racial. Mr. Mason usually has no opinion except to say that he agrees with Mr. Hubbard.

There also seems to be other problems at Springfield Middle besides overcrowding. Apparently their test scores haven't been where they need to be, maybe they need a change of administration at the school. When I went to school, we were overcrowded as well, but we still learned and still did well on State and Federal testing.

A great percentage of our county budget goes to the school system. Most anytime they request something, they get it. They need to be not only held accountable for the funds they receive, but for the job they are doing. Test scores seem to be better when Mr. Ellis was superintendent. Perhaps our school board needs to examine the possiblity of a new superintendent.
Re: “…Mr. Hubbard wants to turn it into something racial…”  – It is so disappointing when folks on both sides of an issue immediately do this. Though race is a component of the discussion, I do not see race being a motivation here. Obviously, and unfortunately,  it is for some.
Re: “…maybe they need a change of administration…” – We have discussed this before. The administration has recently been changed. And, it was changed for the better. The folks at SMS have been doing the best with what they have been given. At some point, Robertson County is going to have to embrace a different solution than things that have been tried in the past.
Re: “…most anytime they request something, they get it….” – You are honing in on a talking point that I have repeatedly said. Over the past 5-10 years, there is not much, if anything, that Robertson County Schools have not been given, and we still face the same problems. The time is now to do something – much have been given, and much is deserved. And, I do not want to sound overly critical. I believe they realize that now. They are finally engaging in these discussions. There are no easy answers, but the very fact that the discussion is continuing is significant.


  1. When will the community at large stop holding teachers and administrators of the schools reponsible for children that are failing, and instead hold parents responsible? Just take a drive down South Main Street and along Central Avenue at night, and see what these "wonderful" parents are out doing. If the parents can't be moved to do something about improving not only themselves, but their children's lives, why should the teachers be held accountable for the lack of parenting? The majority of Springfield School parents just don't give a crap, unless they can make money off of it or use it to their advantage.

  2. Allow me to give teachers and parents a break for a minute. "No Child Left Behind" is a failure and a fraud because _the children_ have no risk, no "skin" in this process. What makes the child (who may well have no concept being a child) want to succeed or excel?

    Repeal "No Child Left Behind"

  3. There is absolutely no way you can hold a parent accountable. What will you do? Fine a poor single mother for each D or F? Lock up a missing father who is engaged in his interest in drugs, alchohol, etc.?

    You work with what you have, and all we have is the classroom and the teachers, etc.

  4. I believe it does "take a village" to raise a child. The bottom line is we cannot make parents be parents. Those of us who care have GOT to step up to the plate and offer our talents and time if at all possible. There is no reason that we all couldn't do a little to help out in this situation. We cannot continue to put the blame on the educators. They cannot possibly do it all.