An East Nashville parent group is apologizing for the “antagonistic” tone of a meeting held Sunday night at the East Park Community Center.
The organizer, East Nashville United, has opposed superintendent Jesse Register’s reorganization for the under-capacity and underperforming schools that feed into Stratford and Maplewood high schools. The plans may include closures, charter conversions and an open enrollment plan.
“[The tone of the meeting] shows that there are still a lot of questions to be answered, and there are a lot of people who are very passionate and have some concerns still,” Metro councilman Peter Westerholm of East Nashville said.
The standing room crowd erupted into shouts at times. Register once stood up to defend board member Elissa Kim. Parents accused her of having advance knowledge of the overhaul, pointing to an email they discovered mentioning her first name. The Tennessean reports that Register explained that the email was referring to a district consultant named Elisa, not Kim.
Despite the witch hunt-feel, as one person described it, parents like Randall Gilberd said there’s a shared goal to improve education, especially for children in poverty.
“The idea that they may go to a charter school or they may go to a turnaround school, all that stuff is literally semantics. Who cares? It’s either world-class or it’s failing, Gilberd said. “And right now it’s failing.”
A group of parents assembled by the district, which will review plans for East Nashville, meets for the first time Wednesday.
David Wright Smith contributed to this report.