East Nashville United PAC rejects MNPS school overhaul
Calls on director to scratch proposal, engage community

Stratford High School (Photo: eastnashvilleblog.com)

Stratford High School (Photo: eastnashvilleblog.com)

A diverse group of Metro School families and East Nashville residents has announced the formation of a Political Action Committee (PAC) in response to the recent announcement of a plan to upend public education in East Nashville.

The formation of the East Nashville United PAC reflects the community’s widespread commitment to public schools. East Nashville United is raising money to support a campaign to reject the initiative that was unveiled by Metro School’s Director Jesse Register last week.

“We ask that Dr. Register tear up his plan and start from scratch,” said Christine Pulle, a parent at Ross Early Learning Center. “What we demand is a community driven plan created by listening and responding to the needs of our diverse schools and neighborhoods. We are excited and thankful for this opportunity, but also caution that the only viable options come after engaging the community.”

Last Tuesday before the Metro School Board, Register announced a plan to close schools in the Stratford and Maplewood clusters and create an open choice zone throughout these areas. The plan also targeted the area’s “priority” schools, which rank among the bottom five percent in performance in the state. Register’s announcement, which included no additional support for priority schools, caught local families, teachers and school principals by surprise.

“None of us were ever asked about our school and what we needed,” said Jai Sanders, a parent at Inglewood Elementary, which despite improving test scores over the past two years, may still be shut down. “We do not want to be swept up in a top down plan that doesn’t reflect the input of the community.”

The newly formed PAC is mobilizing families and teachers at every single school in the Stratford and Maplewood clusters so the full community can participate in any process that shapes public education.

“Collectively, we will become advocates for the solutions that work, as determined by the parents, teachers and school leaders from each school. These are our schools and we will not rest until everyone’s voice is heard in a transparent, open and community driven process. There really is no other way,” said Judith Byrd, a parent of three children at Lockland Design Center.

In addition to talking with Register, East Nashville United will also look to meet with the Metro School Board and Metro Council along with Nashville Mayor Karl Dean so all stakeholders can recognize the importance of developing a school­by­school plan.

“Created without the consensus of local families and teachers, Dr. Register’s proposal has failed to engender confidence and trust. East Nashville United calls for him to withdraw it and begin by listening to our communities,” Byrd said.

Christine Pulle will serve as treasurer of the PAC. The group has also started an online petition drive.