photograph by Iofoto | Drreamstime
The Memphis and Shelby County School merger has touched many lives this year, as administrators and the Board of Education work to unite the two systems so as to function as one. The merger creates a new Shelby County School (SCS) system, the largest in Tennessee and 15th largest in the nation. That’s a daunting reality. The district will be comparable in size to cities like Chicago and Los Angeles.
I’ve heard about the many meetings school board members have attended over the summer, trying to hammer out the procedural and policy questions that must be resolved before students and faculty return in August. This is new, unchartered territory.
As the reorganization took place, more than 1,000 teachers and staff members found themselves unemployed. Some were out of a job entirely; others had to reapply, regardless of their years of service.
Facing a future of uncertainty can be scary. But failure is not an option. Our future — the future of our kids and our community — is at stake.
That’s why I like the initiative Our Children. Our Success. It’s led by a coalition of nonprofit community partners who want to foster a positive outlook by emphasizing the shared ownership of public education and encouraging community members to mentor and tutor children. The coalition includes Boys & Girls Clubs; Church Health Center; Latino Memphis; Literacy Mid-South; New Direction Christian Church; The RISE Foundation; and Urban Youth Initiative.
Their aim will be to ensure that parents receive the information they need to help their children succeed. I am confident that, with the dedicated effort of school leadership, answers will soon be in place and the system we all envision will become a reality.
It starts by embracing the future and recognizing that, in the end, we must all pull together, for the sake of our children and for the future of Memphis and Shelby County.