Thu
Dec 20 2007
08:11:pm

WATE report: Why people fake addresses to get kids in Maryville schools

Sure, everybody in East Tennessee knows that Maryville schools are some of the best. Alcoa's aren't far behind, and they have a diversity bonus. (We won't mention the Blount County school system.)

This is an interesting follow on to Elrod's previous discussion. As great as Maryville schools are, shouldn't we hold all of Blount County's schools to the same standard? And Knox County's?

And for that matter, shouldn't we hold every school system in the state to the same standard? Is being at the top of the list of the last place finishers any real accomplishment? In the current Tennessee and Blount Co. political environment, one might easily conclude "yes."

Anyway, somebody should do a "best practices" study to figure out why Maryville schools excel. Maybe the rest of Tennessee could learn from it.

I'm guessing it has less to do with Maryville's four-time consecutive state championship football program (which is pretty impressive) and more to do with parents who are involved in their kid's education.

What's in the Maryville water that makes parents and kids and teachers make Maryville schools so great? Do the higher expectations create higher self-fulfilling expectations? Is there a progressive Maryville College influence? Is it the Daily Times? Denso? Does it have something to do with a town still small enough to pay attention to important stuff like education yet big enough to have a budget to fund it?

What do y'all think?

Schools

Well, there is a virtuous cycle of sorts as people move to the city for the schools and demand that the schools continue to get better. My only fear is complacency, as many people think public schools just stay good without any parental pressure. There are always things that can be improved.

I also believe that parental values in education, parental involvement in the schools, and parental commitment to academic achievement at the earliest level helps. It all starts with the elementary schools, which are quite impressive. I have a son at Fort Craig School and we are delighted with it overall. It's a progressive, dynamic school without meddling from the central office and with a constant creative vibe. My only hope is that the new Director is just as committed to decentralization as the last director was.

The big challenge going forward is that Maryville is growing leaps and bounds. The elementary schools are already overcrowded, and they are building a new intermediate school. I definitely hope the system plans for this in a systematic way.

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