It all began as a matter of finances and tax break downs but has evolved into a deeper problem beyond monetary distribution. Whether the Memphis City Schools (MCS) should be consolidating with the Shelby County School ( SCS) is headline news not only making history in Memphis but also nationally. In the article, ‘Memphis to Vote on Transferring School System to County’ in The New York Times, Campbell Robertson quotes Mike Carpenter, a Republican county commissioner saying , “It’s the city-county split that has to do with race and class.” This quote illustrates the overarching problems involved with the potential consolidation of the school systems. The school system debate is more than simply about whether SCS can become a “special school system” or if the tax distribution will be more efficient with this consolidation- the debate involves the history behind this SCS and MCS division.
I am a product of SCS schooling. In my senior year of high school , there were some slight changes in the organization of the district lines and new students were entering my high school that school year; many of these students happened to be African American. My high school administrators noticed some negative changes in the student body as a whole. The entrance of the new students was said to be the cause of this change. The students who were integrated were from the MCS system; thus, the concern as to whether SCS educational standards will be negatively affected by letting MCS students in is a pivotal issue that is seen in the current consolidation debate. I do not think that the integration of the new students the reason why my high school changed in the manner it did during my senior year; furthermore, I am for the consolidation to take place between SCS and MCS.
Here is my concern though, we are debating over a decision that will affect the students’ right to education. However, because most of the students are legally minors they do not get to vote in a decision that will affect their own education directly, negatively or positively. Diversifying SCS schools might be a good thing in the long run but in the short run it will be quite an adjustment that causes me to wonder how the current students in both SCS and MCS feel about the matter.
If you were still a high school student in your own hometown, what would your stance be on such a debate taking place in your city? I want to know how you think the students can be better incorporated into the decision that affects their own right to education? Additionally, do you think that the school systems could work around the borders of "race and class" if the consolidation were to occur; if so, how?
See the link below for the full article: