Nashville Chamber Gives School Board A Low Grade In Presenting A Unified Front
Members of the Chamber's education report card committee toured Nashville's Isaac Litton Middle Prep. Credit: Emanuel O. Roland / Nashville Chamber of Commerce

Nashville Chamber Gives School Board A Low Grade In Presenting A Unified Front

Members of the Chamber's education report card committee toured Nashville's Isaac Litton Middle Prep. Credit: Emanuel O. Roland / Nashville Chamber of Commerce
Members of the Chamber’s education report card committee toured Nashville’s Isaac Litton Middle Prep. Credit: Emanuel O. Roland / Nashville Chamber of Commerce

Nashville’s business leaders have a message for the Metro school board: It needs to be more cohesive, especially on the issue of charter schools. The critique from the Chamber of Commerce was part of its annual review of the school system.

The report card did commend Metro schools for its success with English-language learners and for working with the city to let students use public transportation for free.

But Brian Shaw, one of the report card’s co-chairs, pressed a point: The nine-member school board should debate over issues, he said, but it needs to accept the final vote and move on.

“Some board members routinely criticize the school system through social media and news media between the meetings,” he said. “This creates the perception of dysfunction and lack of leadership.”

The review points to the conversation over charter schools, saying it takes up more time than it merits. The Chamber recommends hiring an outside consultant to help the board come to a consensus over big decisions.

Metro Schools superintendent Jesse Register didn’t take issue with the chamber’s report card. He said the board has some good people, but calls it “splintered.” Register is leaving his position next year, and he said he hopes the board will come together in choosing a new director.

At least one school board member reacted to the report on social media. Here’s a tweet from Will Pinkston:

 

See the Nashville Chamber’s full report card here.


Report Cards Of Years Past

The Chamber of Commerce reviews the Metro Nashville school system annually, and WPLN has reported on it for several years. Here were our takeaways from previous years’ report cards.

2013: Recommends closing schools that are too far-gone to fix or converting them to charters

2012: Recommends offering more assistance to charter schools, but calls on the state to adopt more stringent rules on them

2011: Applauds MNPS’ increasing graduation rate, criticizes its low ACT scores

2010: Recommends that the state hold a constitutional convention to address school funding issues

2009: Recommends relying on data more often to evaluate programs

Emily Siner

Emily Siner is an enterprise reporter at WPLN. She has worked at the Los Angeles Times and NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., and her written work was recently published in Slices Of Life, an anthology of literary feature writing. Born and raised in the Chicago area, she is a graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. On Twitter: @SinerSays
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