There You Go Again, Hamilton County Schools Critics

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Hamilton County Schools "Nabobs of Negativity” are at it again. Despite the fact that the recent TVAAS growth scores for the Hamilton County Schools show credible gains in almost every category, the same old folks refuse to acknowledge it and insist on focusing on the negatives without putting them in context, constructing straw men to knock down and ignoring inconvenient positives. They assert that “deep reforms are overdue,” and mercilessly criticize current policy, but they never offer any ideas of their own as to what form that reform should take. They even adopt the convenient meme that has become so popular with certain groups and individuals today and decry any reporting that does not fit their doom and gloom narrative as “fake news.”

Since that is the case, please allow me to put these things in context, expose a straw man and stress the positive aspects of the TVAAS report. Although the school system registered the lowest possible composite score of ‘1’, on a scale of 1 to 5, last year, and had not earned higher than a ‘2’ rating since the 2013-2014 school year, our schools scored a ‘3’ composite rating this year and improved in every category but the one that the critics have chosen to base their negative sniping on. The ratings are as follows:

Overall        Literacy        Numeracy       Literacy /Numerac       Science      Social Studies

     3                    5                  1                            4                             3                   4

While the disappointing score in Numeracy (Math) and the failure to earn coveted ‘5’ ratings in other categories shows that we still have a long way to go in providing a quality education for all Hamilton County students, which is a fact I don’t think anyone, including our school board members, school system administrators, teachers, parents or students will deny despite what the NoNs say, this year’s scores are encouraging and strongly suggest that the policies of the new Hamilton County Schools’ administration, and the labors of the system’s administrators, teachers, parents and students are already beginning to produce positive results. We should support their continued efforts to improve our schools and give credit where credit is due instead of taking every opportunity to disparage and undermine them even when there is cause for optimism.

Harry M. Hays

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