Reset debate on improving Nashville public education

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“We must stop having narrow conversations designed to divide us over tactics and instead have an honest conversation about how to get greater results faster. We must all be open to different strategies that get us there and agree there is no one silver bullet. This issue is everyone’s business and should have everyone’s voice at the table.” — John R. Ingram

I never thought Nashville would be behind Memphis in anything other than the alphabet — and there only because N follows M.

But we are learning now from new research that:

  • Nearly 60 percent of Nashville students attend a school in the bottom quarter of all public schools in the state.
  • Memphis and Shelby County have moved faster to address underperforming schools than we have.
  • In some areas of our city, nearly all schools are in that bottom quarter of Tennessee schools — a frightening and terribly unfair situation.
  • And, perhaps most telling, not even 30 percent of our public school children score higher than 21 on the ACT — a basic threshold for college access and readiness. (The average ACT score of a freshman at the University of Tennessee is 25.)

I, for one, think our city is capable of much better than this.

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