Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Teen Forum

Mayoral Candidates will gather for a teen forum at East Literature Magnet School this Thursday evening, May 3 from 6:00-8:00.

Here's to the candidates and forum organizers for making this event possible. Here's hoping Nashville's students will take full advantage of the opportunity.

If you are a student who attends the forum, I would love to see your take published here. The best way to make an impact on the future of this city is for young people to get involved. It is too easy to dismiss active political involvement because it seems complex, difficult, and inaccessible. The good news is that making a difference in your community, whether through politics or other forms of volunteerism, is much easier than you think. It usually just takes a desire to get involved and a willingness to act.

I hope that this forum will inspire many of our city's vibrant young people to see how easy and important it is to give time to our community goals.

Let us hear your feedback from the forum.


Anonymous said...

I have not had any time lately what with AP exams and extracurriculars to do any sort of research on the candidates for mayor before the mayoral forum itself, so I was pretty much flying blind going into the event. Because the event, being sponsored by the Oasis Center, was focused on youth issues for what was hoped to be a majority youth crowd, education was the center of much of the candidates' attention last Thursday.
I tend to think that education is one of the most important issues, if not the most important issue, in our community, so, of course, the mayoral candidates' approaches to the problems in the education system and ideas for changing the education system will be very significant in swinging my vote one way or another in the election in the fall.
David Briley and Karl Dean definitely seemed to me to be the top two contenders last Thursday. Both of these candidates seemed to have a good grasp of the problems in the Metro Public school system. I enjoyed hearing Briley's speaking out against vocational schools and the ideas behind vocational schools. The topic was brought up by a question concerning "big picture" schools which I do not have any knowledge of, but I agree with his approach of putting as many people through college as possible rather than directing people's lives through schools along the lines of vocational schools.

Alan Coverstone said...

The point in this review regarding the strength of Briley and Dean is interesting. It runs directly counter to the City Paper story published today.

Here is a post I wrote this morning that I am having trouble getting the site to accept. It seems to be accepting my comments, however, so I will try this and update the post officially later.

I am interested by the in-person impression of the previous comment and the journalist's perspective in the City Paper. How and why do they differ?

Today's City Paper has a good rundown of the major candidates' education positions so far (City Paper, May 11, 2007).

If a casual observer were to listen to the collective political pitches of the Metro mayoral field they might mistake this summer’s election as an old-fashioned school superintendent campaign (City Paper, May 11, 2007).

It is indeed a good thing for the Mayor's to be paying such attention, but as I noted yesterday, something is still missing. The Mayor should understand and have opinions regarding the specifics of the schools' daily operations, but the Mayor's real role is to hold accountable those people responsible for those decisions. Doing so is difficult because the 4 branches of the school system are so easily and almost naturally at odds with one another. An education Mayor will have to show that he/she is able to bring these groups together to pull in the same direction while still leading.

To that end, David Briley wins this round. His position is that the school district's strategic planning effort should be complete before he weighs in. While there is room to suggest where that effort should lead, I agree that getting too far in front on the specifics can complicate the real job I just described. The danger in Briley's approach is that waiting will leave him unable to lead once the strategic plan is in place. The danger that the others face is that they will have to compromise their strong positions or face permanent conflict over tangential issues.

I like the discussion, and I am please by the City Paper's coverage of it, although I find it curious that this article is found inside, while the results of the latest straw poll stream across the front page. The horse-race mantality sells papers and garners interest in campaigns, but it doesn't help a city improve its educational outcomes. But for more on those issues, visit Debate Scoop.org.

kevin said...