Friday, December 15

Doing Away With The Memphis Public School System; Can a Suburban System Fully Absorb a Cities School System Without Inheriting Its Problems?

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Normally when we hear about poor performing public school systems we talk about cities like Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, or even St. Louis. But what about Memphis, Tennessee?  In a little known news item that will fade into the night because of the excitement of the events in Egypt, Memphis may surrender their school charter.  This doesn’t mean that the city will not have any public schools or that they are looking at privatization.  What it means is that the schools will be under the property of the county, and not the city.

You already know who is against such a move.  Suburban residents of the county that Memphis resides in.  A few questions come to mind.  Would Memphis be an independent city, like the cities in Virginia?  If the county is going to absorb the school system, would they be willing to take on other functions of the city?  Would merging the two together bring it all down to the lowest common denominator, which at this point would be Memphis?

Bringing both systems together would create the 14th largest system in the country.  It will be interesting to see just how well a cities public school system, with its poor students, dysfunction, and problems, will do becoming part of a smaller suburban public school system, with wealthier students, and solutions, not problems.  This isn’t the first time this has happened in Tennessee, but it will be interesting to see if this passes through.

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