The number of troubled Metro Nashville schools on the Tennessee Department of Education's "priority" list has nearly doubled from 11 to 21, new data shows.
Metro Schools released a statement from Schools Director Dr. Shawn Joseph saying that the increase "indicates the need for us, as a district, to place more differentiated resources into our neediest schools."
Nashville Mayor David Briley was more blunt.
"This tells us that thousands of Metro students are not getting the education they deserve, particularly low-income students and students of color," Briley said in a statement.
"This is unacceptable."
Schools are identified as "priority" for being in the bottom 5 percent statewide on standardized testing or having a graduation rate of less than 67 percent in 2017-18.
Here is the latest list of priority schools for Davidson County:
- Alex Green Elementary
- Amqui Elementary
- Antioch Middle
- Bellshire Elementary
- Caldwell Elementary+
- Cumberland Elementary
- Gra-Mar Middle
- Haynes Middle
- Jere Baxter Middle
- Joelton Middle
- Madison Middle
- Maplewood High
- McMurray Middle
- Moses McKissack Middle
- Robert E. Lilliard Elementary
- Rosebank Elementary
- The Cohn Learning Center
- Tom Joy Elementary
- Warner Elementary
- Whites Creek High
- Wright Middle
The last list of priority schools, approved in August 2014, initially included 15 Nashville schools. Two of those original schools, Brick Church Middle and Neely's Bend Middle, are now part of the state's Achievement School District. Two others from the original list have since been closed.
Metro School Board member Jill Speering put the blame on Joseph.
“Our teachers are working hard, but many feel their hands are tied due to the mandates by Dr. Joseph’s administration such as scripted curricula," Speering said in a statement.
"With the increase in the number of priority schools, I fear MNPS is headed in the opposite direction of the board’s vision. Our vision is: ‘MNPS will be the fastest improving urban school system in America.’ That is not happening.”
Mayor Briley said that, "as an immediate measure, we must learn from schools that are closing achievement gaps for students here in Nashville and share what is working with the rest of the district."
"I will also be working with city leaders, school officials and the state to reach actionable conclusions and move swiftly to address these disparities," he added.