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+ Seeking the Best Educational Opportunities for All Children in North Chattanooga Hill City Neighborhood Association.

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Presentation on theme: "+ Seeking the Best Educational Opportunities for All Children in North Chattanooga Hill City Neighborhood Association."— Presentation transcript:

1 + Seeking the Best Educational Opportunities for All Children in North Chattanooga Hill City Neighborhood Association

2 + Reasons for Revisiting the Normal Park Zoning Issue Rushed through in 2010 Newly obtained information from a Tennessee Open Records Act request (TORA) We felt that inadequate information was provided in 2010 Few of the arguments against rezoning Hill City were supported with data from the school system We filed a FOIA request to obtain information that would help to inform the decision-making process Want to provide the community a chance to be heard

3 + Hill City Perspective: Four Points The Best Education for Hill City Children Being zoned for Normal Park would provide the best educational opportunity for Hill City children Planning to Fail or Failing to Plan? Data obtained from HCDE shows that much of the growth in Normal Park enrollment has come from outside of the zone –even after the 2007 School Board Vote. Hill City is a Diverse Community and Would be a Great Asset for Normal Park Data obtained from HCDE shows that allowing Hill City children to attend Normal Park would help to reverse the trend of declining racial and economic diversity at the school No Transparency or Oversight in the Lottery Process Normal Park must demonstrate transparency and equity in the lottery process – Just trust us is NOT enough.

4 + The Best Education for Hill City Children Hill City Neighborhood Association

5 + Why Does Normal Park present the best educational opportunity for Hill City children? Academic Achievement of the school Normal Park outperforms HCDE and Red Bank in student achievement, especially for minority and economically disadvantaged students Greater opportunities for parental involvement The close proximity of the schools to Hill City will facilitate greater parental and community involvement – something that is out of reach in our current situation Hill City is North Chattanooga and should not be excluded from the communitys school Hill City residents have strong memories and ownership over Normal Park. If Normal Park was not intended to function as a community school, why does it have a zone at all?

6 + Academic Excellence of Normal Park % Students Scoring Proficient or Advanced in Math K-8 Hamilton County Department of Education Normal Park Museum Magnet Red Bank Elementary and Middle Schools Source: Tennessee Department of Education Report Card, 2010

7 + Academic Excellence of Normal Park % Students Scoring Proficient or Advanced in Reading and Language, K-8 Hamilton County Department of Education Normal Park Museum Magnet Red Bank Elementary and Middle Schools Source: Tennessee Department of Education Report Card, 2010

8 + Greater Opportunities for Parental Involvement Having a school in close proximity to Hill City will make it easier for kids and parents to be involved in their school Hill City is a predominantly working class neighborhood with a relatively high dependence on public transportation Children are currently sent to a school that is four miles away that is not served by public transportation This lack of access limits parental involvement in the school and childrens ability to participate in after hours activities

9 + Hill City is North Chattanooga Hill City is a vital part of the North Chattanooga community The neighborhood should be included in the school that was intended for the North Chattanooga community

10 + Planning to Fail or Failing to Plan?

11 + The School Board voted in 2007 to close Chattanooga Middle School and reopen it as Normal Park Upper School The decision to rezone Hill City for Normal Park was an important part of that vote Would the Normal Park proposal have passed without the compromise on Hill City? After the vote, HCDE administration had two years to plan for and implement the mandate from the school board to rezone Hill City However there is strong evidence that administrators did nothing to carry out the School Boards decision

12 + Planning to Fail or Failing to Plan? In 2010, Normal Park administration claimed that allowing Hill City children to attend the school would cause overcrowding They attributed this to the growth of students coming from within the Normal Park Zone – a number that they cant control However, data from HCDE shows that the majority of students at Normal Park come from outside of the zone and this number has remained relatively steady % Students Outside Zone % Students Inside Zone Source: Data provided by HCDE in response to an Open Records request

13 + InZone and OutZone Normal Park Students 2002-2009 Planning to Fail or Failing to Plan? Normal Park has experienced rapid growth in enrollment, however between 2006 and 2009, it was due as much, if not more to growth from outside of the zone – a number that can be controlled – as it was to growth inside the zone. Source: Data provided by HCDE in response to an Open Records Request

14 + Planning to Fail or Failing to Plan? In fact, between 2007 and 2009 the majority of growth in enrollment at Normal Park came from outside of the zone Breakdown of Growth in Student Enrollment: InZone and Out-of-Zone Students Total Increase in # of Students: 77 236 340 Source: Data provided by HCDE in response to an Open Records Request

15 + Planning to Fail or Failing to Plan? Between 2007 and 2009, enrollment at Normal Park increased by 340 students – including: A total increase of 231 out-of-zone students 155 out-of-zone students in 2008-2009 year 76 out-of-zone students in 2009-2010 year Yet, when it came time to implement the decision of the School Board, there was not enough room at Normal Park to accommodate the 108 students from Hill City

16 + Planning to Fail or Failing to Plan? Part of the reason for the rapid growth in out-of-zone students was the paid pre-K program This program allowed parents living outside of the zone to by- pass the lottery process by paying $5,000 to enroll their child into preschool – which then guaranteed a spot in Normal Park. The number of out-of zone students who paid for admission to Normal Park are as follows: 2005: 18 Students 2006: 18 Students 2007: 19 Students 2008: 3 Students 2009: 21 Students 2010: 8 Students Total: 87 Students

17 + Planning to Fail or Failing to Plan? Ultimately, HCDE and Normal Park administration were responsible for carrying out the decision of the School Board to re-zone Hill City for Normal Park Yet, the numbers indicate that they did nothing to control the out-of-zone growth and even allowed it to increase by operating the inequitable paid pre-K program

18 + Diversity

19 + Why Diversity? The addition [of Bell/Spears] would not bring in the diversity that we wanted, and at the same time, it would overcrowd the school. --- Dr. Scales, in a March 28 th Memo to the School Board

20 + Diversity The student body make-up of Normal Park is not representative of the diversity of the HCDE % Economic Disadvantage % African American Students Source: Tennessee Department of Education Report Card

21 + Diversity The Normal Park zone lacks diversity It consists of predominantly white, middle and upper class students According to the 2005-2009 estimates from the Census Bureau the Normal Park zone is: Over 95% White 3% African American Has a median income of $57,600 (26% above the County median) Normal Park draws nearly all of its diversity from students that live outside the zone: Nearly 90% of African Americans come from outside of the zone Over 80% of Economically disadvantaged students come from outside of the zone

22 + Diversity Contrary to Dr. Scales statement, adding Hill City children to Normal Park would increase the diversity in both racial and economic terms: Source: Data provided by HCDE in response to Open Records request

23 + Lack of Transparency and Oversight in the Lottery Program

24 + Normal Park Lottery Process: Just trust us is not enough Normal Parks image has been tarnished by the public perception that there is not equal opportunity for all students to be accepted there There is no transparency in the lottery process As a government organization providing public education, HCDE is obligated to ensure the equity of the lottery process through transparency and oversight This culture of secrecy has contributed the lack of trust and confrontational nature of the zoning issue between Hill City and Normal Park

25 + Normal Park Lottery Based on an analysis of the data provided by HCDE in response to our TORA, it appears that on average white lottery applicants are twice as likely to be selected for admission as African American lottery applicants White Applicants Selected%African American Applicants Selected% 2006- 2007 1732313%5847% 2007- 2008 2063417%1121211% 2008- 2009 27393%22763% 2009- 2010 4035814%311186% Total1,05512412%708406% Source: Data provided by HCDE in response to Open Records Request

26 + Conclusion

27 + Hill City residents want the best educational opportunity for their children The data indicates that HCDE administrators made no reasonable preparations to carry out the School Boards decision to rezone Hill City Hill City is a diverse community and a part of North Chattanooga The extreme lack of transparency in the lottery process has contributed to the appearance of impropriety and undermined the trust of citizens, including residents of Hill City

28 + Conclusion We request that the School Board revisit the 2010 decision based on the new information provided We request at the very least that the School Board work to create a lottery system for Normal Park that is equitable and transparent, with strong oversight We are eager to work with any and all partners to find a reasonable solution that will provide for the best educational opportunities for the current and future children of Hill City


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