TSD Memphis

Sat04192014

News

Merging school systems: the survey says

The Tri-State Defender decided to pickup the street buzz via a walkup survey of citizens around Cordova High School. by Tony Jones
Special to the Tri-State Defender

It’s uncertain if appeals and/or other bumps may yet obstruct the path that U.S. Dist. Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays’ ruling earlier this week seemed to clear toward consolidation of Memphis and Shelby County public schools.

What is certain is that people are talking about the issue of a schools merger. So, the Tri-State Defender decided to pickup the street buzz via a walkup survey of citizens around Cordova High School on Wednesday.

And while not “scientific,” the inquiry reflected citizens and parents with kids in the public schools who were largely concerned that “the mess be straightened out,” that a solid public school system requiring excellent standards for all kids be the new education system’s goals, and that any new system’s books deliver the quality of information needed.

Here’s a sampling of the street buzz:

“It makes sense to me because there are empty schools, some are without air conditioning. Put the kids where they can get the best use of the facilities and the teachers.”
– Kathie Crain, Lakeland



“Cost savings is my main concern.”
– Tapan Dash, Cordova



“It’s been separated for too long. There is going to be a lot of resistance because it’s been separate for too long. The school board members, the teachers and the communities, even though we are supposed to be equal, we’re separate in a lot of ways. You’re going to see how really separate we are when they try to consolidate these kids, Some parents are going to try to keep them separate. That’s where the problems are going to come in, you see it now with all the charter schools people are trying to create.”
– Tommie Kirk, parent, Cordova High



“I’m from Jackson, (Tenn.), where our school system was consolidated several years ago. You have to learn to move forward and that was the lesson that we learned there. We had one part of town that was suburban and white and the other that was black and urban. People fought it and there was a lot of conflict and it brought up a lot of issues, but in the end it improved the schools. In the end they divided up the schools so there was an equal ratio of whites and blacks in the schools, now everybody has an equal chance to get a good education. I think it will be the same for schools here.”
– Rosaland Rogers, parent, Cordova High



“I think it’s great because we can quit spending so much money on buses. We should go back to neighborhood schools. I live in Bartlett and my neighborhood has a lot of different races and we all get along just fine. Just like the school here, look at the kids, you have all cultures standing right there getting along.”
Karen Lavarias,
Cordova High parent



“It’s long overdue. When I look at people I don’t see color, I see behavior. If you’re bad, I don’t hang out with you. If you’re academically on point and a positive person, we can hang out. There are a few at our school that look at race, but very few.”
Katie Lavarias,
senior class president


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