A teacher in Memphis writes about how parents in her school reacted to the announcement that it would be taken over by the Achievement School District and turned into a charter school. Her school is poor but it has made steady growth and is not one of the lowest performing schools in the city. The media in Memphis, she says, is not reporting the genuine rage of the local black community:
First, see this article in my local paper about the state takeover of 10 more schools and the meetings about that takeover:
I am a teacher at one of those schools in Frayser, a neighborhood the Achievement School District (ASD) seems to have targeted since they took over three schools there last year. The article notes that 6 of the 10 schools taken over will be run by charter operators.
I attended the meeting last night at Pursuit of God in Frayser, an impoverished and predominantly black neighborhood. The crowd was angry that their children’s teachers were going to be fired and that their children would have to adapt to a whole new school. They spoke about the great current teachers in their schools. They wanted to know what was going to make these schools better, and there was no one from the ASD who could explain that.
There was also concern expressed by a 30-year veteran teacher and resident of Frayser that this was an attempt to segregate the poor black neighborhood of Frayser from the rest of the county in the upcoming merger of Memphis City and Shelby County School Systems.
The community at the meeting was very antagonistic to state takeover. I overheard an employee of the church comment, “We got a tough crowd tonight,” and the ASD people were clearly uncomfortable.
I expected an article in the local paper to mention the atmosphere at the meeting.
The media ran this segment: http://www.wmctv.com/story/20049306/tn-asd-getting-set-to-take-over-more-memphis-schools
And the paper did not report on the events of the meeting. The shot of the crowd was purposefully taken while most of them were in the other room getting refreshments. There was no other coverage of the meeting in the media.