About 6 weeks ago, Dr. Jesse Register announced that he had plans for a Third Way for Metro schools in East Nashville. What this meant was not clear - giving rise to concern among East Nashville parents. At the time, I wrote that inclusiveness, transparency and objectivity should guide any changes to the East Nashville schools. I harbored no illusion that Dr. Register would read my post but I hoped that as the community expressed its concerns over his undefined plan he would take a step back, seek input, clarify his objectives and build some support for his Third Way. Such a response seemed obvious. Boy, was I wrong.
In my September post, I posed three questions for Dr. Register. I think we now have the answers:
1) Inclusiveness With whom did you consult before you made the decision to adopt this Third Way - parents, students, teachers, administrators, Council Members, Members of the Board of Education?
Answer: Lip service is good enough. Dr. Register announced a task force to look at East Nashville schools, never named its members or called a meeting. Now, it seems he will present his Third Way plan for East Nashville to the Board of Education in December.
2) Transparency As the leader of an organization with an operating budget approaching $800 million, I'm confident that this significant decision came after a written report that documents the decision making process. Could you make a copy of that report available to the public?
Answer: Ignore the law. When the public asked for information regarding his decision to adopt a Third Way, he refused to comply even with the obligations of State law much less be open with the community whose schools he intends to change.
3) Objectivity Since the experts with whom you consulted will be identified in the report provided in response to the second question above, please let us know how will you measure the success or failure of this decision.
Answer: Leave it to your imagination. When there's no plan known to the public, it's pretty hard to know how you will measure success. Using my imagination, I quickly found this third way study. Is this the plan he's talking about? Should we be thinking about measuring the success of a charter only district?
How can the Board of Education do any thing other than conclude Dr. Register is not the right person to make this decision?