Business leaders say they want Nashville's public schools held more accountable for improving literacy among students. In an annual report card from the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, they conclude there's been little — if any — improvement across the district.
Here's a direct quote from the chamber's report card this year.
"Over the past two decades, Metro Schools has launched various district reading and literacy initiatives, with no discernible impact on overall reading results."
In recent years, the district has added literacy coaches to work one on one with struggling readers. But the report card notes that some of these reading interventionists don't necessarily have the credentials for such an important job.
The chamber is asking that Metro Schools makes sure early grade teachers have "demonstrated expertise in literacy instruction." Business leaders also recommend that the district measure each school's overall performance specifically on helping poor readers.
"We have to do something big and bold to improve literacy, and we're going to make that happen," Mayor Megan Barry said at the report card's release on Monday.
Metro Schools has generally welcomed the yearly criticism from the Chamber, and new superintendent Shawn Joseph said, "nobody is going to push this district harder than I am."
But some school board members have grown increasingly defiant of the Chamber's suggestions. In an act of protest, both Will Pinkston and Amy Frogge did not attend the report card release.