Click here to view this week’s Focus.
School Board Incumbents Get a Failing Grade
By Steve Hunley, Publisher
We constantly hear from the school administration just how good our schools are. We are constantly inundated with self-promoting press releases bragging about graduation rates and the like. Yet there’s been dead silence about the most important data to be released about our schools. I am referring to the 2013 ACT Benchmarks.
This information scored Tennessee students on preparation rates in every category and accumulatively, meaning just how many of our students are prepared to go on to an institution of higher learning or join the workforce. Those numbers are positively frightening.
There are five seats on the Knox County Board of Education up for election this year: the First, Fourth, Six, Seventh and Ninth Districts.
First District incumbent Gloria Deathridge is facing challengers Robert Boyd and Marshall Walker. Fourth District incumbent Lynn Fugate is facing Sally Absher and Scott Clark. Sixth District board member Thomas Deakins is not seeking reelection. The candidates in the Sixth District are Brad Buchanan, Terry Hill, Sandra Rowcliffe and Tamara Shepherd. Patty Bounds is the only candidate running in the Seventh District as Kim Severance decided not to seek reelection. Ninth District incumbent Pam Trainor is being challenged by Amber Rountree,
While Superintendent of Schools Jim McIntyre and his minions on the Board brag about graduation rates, they are silent about preparation rates and for good reason.
In the First District only 3% of graduating students are prepared to go on to college or join the workforce.
Inside the Fourth District, only 23% of graduating students are prepared to go on to college or join the workforce.
Inside the Sixth District, 31% of Hardin Valley Academy students are prepared to go onto to college or join the workforce. 19% of graduating students at Karns High School are prepared to go onto college or join the workforce.
Inside the Seventh District, only 12% of graduating students at Powell are prepared to go on to college or join the workforce while only 19% of students at Halls High School are prepared to go onto college or join the workforce.
Inside the Ninth District, only 12% of South-Doyle students are prepared to go on to the college or join the workforce.
Overall in Knox County, only 21% of graduating students are prepared to go on to college or join the workforce. That means 79% are NOT prepared.
Superintendent McIntyre loves to brag about the graduation rate, yet what difference does it make if we graduate 100% of students while so few are prepared to go on and further their education or get a job? Frankly, the entire point of educating our children isn’t merely to get a high school diploma, but rather to go on and become a productive citizen. The school system is always wanting more money and higher taxes. Unless these youngsters actually get jobs, just who is going to pay the taxes?
Graduation rates are only a piece of the puzzle, yet they are meaningless without calculating just how many of our children are prepared to go on to college or get a job. McIntyre’s frequent exclamation, “There’s some extraordinary learning going on in our schools!” is a hollow boast. Obviously there’s not enough extraordinary learning going on in our schools.
There are consequences to failure, personally for people who make foolish or bad choices. There are also consequences to a society when we have failed to address the serious problem of preparation rates.
Both McIntyre and his rubber stamp Board of Education deserve an “F” for failure in preparation rates.
Yet these are the same people wanting more of your money in the form of higher and higher taxes.
Perhaps we should replace the incumbent board members and work with a new group of actual leaders.