Grassroots movement emerges amid school charter questions - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Grassroots movement emerges amid school charter questions

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A grassroots movement is emerging, as lawmakers and school leaders begin to take action on the Memphis City School Board's decision to surrender its charter and consolidate with county schools.

School consolidating is uncharted territory for Memphis and Shelby County, and citizens have questions.  But they're not waiting for lawmakers to bring them answers.

Kenya Bradshaw of Stand for Children Memphis says a movement took seed even before Monday's vote to transfer Memphis City Schools to Shelby County.

That night, people held up signs, wore T-shirts, and took to the podium.

"It is our belief that if special school district status is obtained by Shelby County, they will violate the equal protection provisions of the state constitution, and also the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment," Bradshaw said.

The group has been holding community meetings, e-mail and social media campaigns, and got 2,200 people to sign a petition against the special school district.  But they never took a position on the charter surrender.

"We didn't have an opinion on that decision, but now that decision is here, we have an opportunity," Bradshaw said.

The group wants leaders to include parents and community groups in developing a plan before voters go to the polls on this issue.

"We don't need to wait until the election is certified for them to come together," Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw believes people must stop the emotional rhetoric, find real answers, and stop propagating untruths.  For one, she says, teachers are being misinformed about their jobs.

"We know that teachers' jobs are protected, whether it be abolishment or consolidation," she said.

Stand for Children is not alone. An unlisted administrator launched a "Vote Yes - Surrender the City Schools Charter" Facebook page urging people to "read the resolution."

Bradshaw agrees.

"I would hope that the turnout for this would be greater than any election we've ever had," she said.

Stand for Children is holding a town hall meeting January 11th at Bridges, where school consolidation experts and local leaders will join parents in the discussion.

For more information about Stand For Children Memphis, click here.

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