New education controversies arise as school year ends

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- You need a scorecard to count all the controversies this week.

Governor Haslam is under fire for delayed TCAP scores, while Superintendent Hopson is under fire for how he's handling substitute teachers, tenured teachers, and the handover to the suburbs.

Even teachers are under fire for how much sick time they're taking.

The Informed Sources team weighs in.


  • TNTeacher

    As one of your Educators of the Week, I can say with certainty that you’ve got some of your information incorrect. First, most “tenured” teachers are upset about losing jobs because they’re being replaced with teachers that have LOWER evaluation scores than they have. It’s about the equity as promised for teachers who have demonstrated competency that are being replaced by TFA teachers who have yet to set foot in a classroom to prove anything. Second, with the sick days, the district numbers probably include people on extended medical leave or professional leave. Teachers do not take sick days to enjoy “sunny weather” as proposed in this news cast. However, I have taken sick days this year because my body is made ill from the stress or poor building conditions in which I work. I have asthma, yet my air filter was NEVER changed during this school year. Please be responsible with your reporting.

    • Arguenot

      First I think most teachers are incredible, same with cops and firefighters, it is general a thankless job in Memphis.
      But, this report is saying the sick time usage is twice the national average. That right there is what needs to be considered, as other schools in other areas are run down, have mold, etc, yet this area is double the national average…while also being one of the worst in the nation educationally.
      Scary thing is, these schools teach for the TCAP test, teachers are forced to it, and still the scores in Memphis are horrific. Without the suburbs’ scores to off-set Memphis any longer, I see the State jumping in sooner rather than later.

  • JustRetired

    TNTeacher has it right. And just a quick comment about sick days… Most of the elementary school start times are 9:00, which means a 4:00 dismissal time. It’s very hard to get a doctor’s appointment after 4:00, so you either take sick time for any kind of appointment or you just miss out. Also, when dealing with young children, particularly, it’s very easy to catch everything they bring to school, particularly stomach bugs. I prefer my co-workers stay home with they have fever and/or are vomiting so as not to continue to spread those germs. Also, in the older buildings, there are so many issues with mold, dust, dirt, etc., that allergies are a big issue for both students and adults. It would have been nice if any one of you had asked a teacher about your concerns, so that you might actually have an informed source.

  • I own chris williams junior

    Why so excited?? … It’s the lousiest school system in the state, as well as one of the worst in the entire country.

    Not much is gonna change regardless of who is in charge, who is teaching or how much money is thrown at it!

  • VeteranTeacher

    I echo the sentiments of TNTeacher and JustRetired. These two seem to know more in their comments than all three of your so called “Informed Sources” know altogether. I want to respond to the issue of teacher sick days. Obviously, I cannot speak for every teacher, but the large majority of teachers ARE NOT taking sick leave so they can enjoy sunny days. Who is feeding you all this information? Also, there is more to data than just numbers. Disaggregate the information. Break it down to individual districts; individual schools. I guarantee you that if you break those numbers down to look at certain areas of the city, those numbers will be higher, and for good reason I am sure. Teachers are some of the hardest working professionals that I know who do not get the credit that we deserve. I, for one, work about 10 to12 hours daily during the school year – that only includes the work that I do at school. I arrive at school around 6:30, and don’t leave until 5:00 most days. Often, I am the last person in my building besides the cleaning crew. No one pays me extra to stay around all of those additional hours. Even after I get home, I am still working; checking emails, calling parents, and/or grading papers. So, when I do take a sick day, believe me, it is WELL needed. I cannot even count the number of missed doctor’s appointments I have had because I ‘couldn’t miss’ or ‘couldn’t’ get a sub. Just for the record, we are limited on the amount of days that we can miss, and if you want to earn extra incentive money, which some schools offer(TIF), you must stay within those days, so some teachers actually come to school sick. This is not healthy for anyone. Please do your research before reporting inaccurate information. Maybe next time you all will actually speak to some REAL informed sources – those in the ‘trenches’ daily – teachers!

  • Dr. JohnS

    Look we have gone through only 1 year and yes there are problems that need to be resolved. But the Memphis City System was pushed on Shelby County to keep the Federal Government from taking over. MCS was one of the worst run systems ever, the students were failing at almost every school. So gripe and complain, that is what Memphians do best. As for me, I will wait and see how it works out.

  • Thomas H. Evans

    On the Topic of plans for Riverside, Bike Lanes versus Restaurants and other Businesses along the river, your reporter Wayne had it exactly right. Is it just a fact that only people who move here from other parts of the country can see how badly Memphis has failed in the use of the property along the river? What the heck are Bike Lanes doing in that area except making the already traffic problem even more of a problem. However, I can see that the Mayor is planning on the “Bikers Vote” next year; he could care less about the rest of us who are going to vote him out of office.

  • Thomas H. Evans

    Spend some of that “Bike Lane” money on on our beat up roads. It’s a shame how badly our streets and roads are all beat up with “Patch Work” due to a total lack of attention to this matter. Bikers don’t ride in the bike lanes anyway. I see them all the time on Germantown Pkwy. and Wolf River/Humphreys riding in the streets holding up traffic when there is plenty of side walk room in this area, especially around Neshoba and Exeter. Some of these riders are doing this out of spite, just to dare you to hit them. I’m sure we are tired of replacing tires and getting our front ends adjusted due to these road conditions throughout this city.

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