Parents questioned the state's decision to replace principals at some Metro schools and demanded they be given more say in actions at a meeting with the state official now in charge of the school system.
Parent Advisory Council members met Thursday night with Connie Smith, the state Department of Education's director of accountability, who has taken virtual control of Metro Nashville Public Schools after the system failed to meet testing requirements.
The meeting, attended by about 35 parents and administrators, began with Smith's explanation of her plan, which included 68 new principal and assistant principal assignments announced Tuesday. New administrators at the meeting introduced themselves.
"Some were popular principals, some were great disciplinarians," Smith said of principals she replaced. "But you have to have order in a school and you have to have academics.
"When you have four or five years where you're leaving kids behind, you ought to do the professional thing and remove yourself rather than have the state take you out. We want kid-centric principals, not egocentric."
Smith said the staffing decisions were based on data patterns, test scores, constituency surveys and teacher feedback.
Smith got a bit teary-eyed when she said the district faced a difficult task in
increasing performance in advance of Gov. Phil Bredesen's stringent 2009-10
"I can't sleep at night because we're frantically trying to put in place an infrastructure that helps these schools," Smith said. "When you get a test score that's the autopsy, what I want is a little wellness check on the front end rather than waiting until the end of the year."
Stratford parent Richard Tennent said he had received e-mails from parents who were not in attendance and said he was surprised "no one had pounded the table in
"The principal moves infuriated and terrified people and some thought the decisions were terrible. Who are these new people and why were they selected?" asked Tennent.
Smith said she expected this "fear factor," adding that while parents may have liked the old principals, they should not have liked the test scores. Smith said each new principal had been recommended in a consensus of at least six people in the school system.
"Every case is different so I can't give you a cookie-cutter answer. Turnaround principals don't grow on trees," she said...
Monday, July 21, 2008
This from the Nashville Tennesseean:
Parents question Metro principal changes
Some feel disenfranchised because
they weren't included in state's selection process.