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"Murphy was an optimist!"

Is the shell cracked yet? April 24, 2007 12:28 pm

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life
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I feel like I live in some bizarre government sponsored experiment to see how much adversity a mind can take before it breaks. Build him up! Knock him down. Build him up! Knock him down. Give him as much as he can possibly take, oh, then give him some more. Oh, I know! Give him a job that requires extreme concentration, and has been documented that a 60 second interruption causes a 15 minute loss of productivity (see also), then let’s give him enough work for 2 or 3 people but give him less than a normal work day to do it and make sure that he is interrupted at least once every 3 minutes. Oh, and since he is in such a predicament let’s make him fill out paperwork for half a day explaining himself then let’s make a major, irrational, unjustified change to the school system requiring great and immediate advocacy to avert a 10 year disaster.

Why couldn’t I get one of those cool experiments like sleep deprivation, LSD overdoses while listening to Justin Timberlake, determining the proper dosage of Viagra, or how many bamboo splitters can fit under a single fingernail?

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1. Barry - April 24, 2007

Dude, I totally sympathize with you both for the disruption to your kids’ school lives the rezoning may cause.

But if you believe it will be a 10-year disaster, then it certainly will become a 10-year disaster. And subconsciously you’ll see to it that it is a disaster, instead of taking the lumps and making something good come out of it – which will happen anyway, because you have good kids and not everyone in the school system are evil ogres bent on total destruction.

There’s that self-fulfilling prophecy thing you have to be careful of. If you believe a thing will occur, then it probably will.

And you know, if worse comes to worse, move back into the Bearden district. If going to West will premeditate a 10-year disaster, then just move to a new neighborhood. Surely that’s less disruptive in the big picture.

Apologies, but that’s how I see it…

2. Doug McCaughan - April 24, 2007

Barry, excellent comment. I am a strong believer of self-fulfilling prophecy. My meaning was based on a statement made by Mullins at one of the meetings, “We can’t predict growth” and “In less than 10 years we will have to do this again.” So they are launching this plan well knowing that it is flawed.

I see a better plan in giving well defined “permanent” zones (such as the circles) and incorporating open zoning where circles overlap and geographic barriers such as rivers force travel through another zone. Zones that are low in student numbers can use open enrollment and tax (and other) incentives to encourage higher enrollment into that school.

I see another alternative in developing smaller community schools for reading, writing, and arithmetic while using the mega schools for chemistry, computers, foreign language, band, etc. The students would attend the community schools 3 days a week and the mega school 2 days a week or something similar.

Even Farragut proposed a “thinking out of the box” solution when it was suggested that the school acquire the old Kmart building and/or do split days where half the school population started earlier in the day and left earlier, and the other half of the school population started later and left later in the day.

I call it a 10 year disaster simply because other options do not seem to have been considered. In the meeting, Mullins said this was the only plan. The lame power point presentation was also deemed the only paperwork. That is paperwork without traffic impact studies (freely available from UT), charts of justifications of numbers, and so forth. It is a plan made without involvement of the teachers and communities that would be impacted. The plan should have been created via coalition not administration. I have worked in many organizations that were a plan of such magnitude supported with such weak documentation and lack of study that the proposer would have been laughed out of a job. With such resources as UT and DOD related consulting agencies like SAIC and Becttle Jacobs et al, we could have easily pulled together coalition members that would have encouraged appropriate studies and documentation to support the end decisions.

It is a 10 mistake because what has been presented to the public appears adhoc, based on MPC data that to many seems flawed and inaccurate, and admittedly short lived. This plan is a bandaid, not a fix.

3. Cathy - April 24, 2007


4. Barry - April 24, 2007