During a wide-ranging and lengthy interview with Blake Farmer on Nashville Public Radio, Dr. Shawn Joseph discussed topics that are often the subject of intense debate in the Nashville education community.
Rather than pledging allegiance to a particular “side” in that debate, Dr. Joseph suggested a third option “up the middle” that is focused on school quality for all children, regardless of school type.
From the interview:
“In Tennessee, we have a very narrow conversation about charter schools. There is this reformer notion, and there is this non-reformer notion. And I think if we really want excellence in Nashville, there’s a third option that we need to explore and that’s right up the middle where we’re not paying attention to where children are educated. We’re really focusing on quality for all.”
Joseph says he thinks “choice is a great thing.” But he also says parents should expect a “quality option” in every neighborhood.
“If we’re going to move this city forward, we’re going to have to quit being extreme,” he says. “I’ve never seen any extremist be successful. It won’t happen in Nashville. It hasn’t happened anywhere nationally.”
“We’re feeding the notion that we’ve got to give you something special for you to consider us. I think what we have to do is put the excellence on neighborhood schools on display and let people see the quality you can get in your public school and get beyond this superficial notion of name.”
The full interview is available online and is definitely worth listening to. Visit WPLN.org to hear it.