MCS students weigh in on charter surrender debate

By Lori Brown - bio | email | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Two Memphis high school debate teams weighed in on the Memphis City Schools charter surrender Sunday.

The issue up for debate was whether or not Memphis voters should decide to transfer the administration of Memphis City Schools to the Shelby County Board of Education.

Arguing for the transfer were students from Kingsbury High School.

"They don't want us to consolidate because they think MCS students will bring SCS students down," said student Arlana Addison.  "That is utterly ridiculous."

Arguing against the transfer were students from Whitehaven High School.

"In the midst of this fairy tale of equal education lies a world of turmoil, economic woes, false promises and an organization waiting to unfold," argued student Angel Conway.

The Whitehaven team honed in on the unknowns.

"My opposition stated that teachers wouldn't lose jobs," said student Ashley Ray.  "But they're not saying administrators wouldn't lose jobs, teachers' assistants wouldn't lose jobs."

The Kingsbury team argued the education for Memphis City Schools students would improve under forced consolidation.

"So the way things are going right now is fine?  The failing of 114 elementary school students is fine?  This is preposterous," said student Ebony Bailey.  "A larger, more fiscally efficient school system can offer a wider curriculum."

The students made their final arguments at the conclusion of the debate.

"We're not saying consolidation would never work, just that we're rushing into something and we will not know what to do once we consolidate," said Ray.

"We need the best education.  We need a stable school system," said Addison.  "We need options.  We need inspiration.  We need consolidation."

Both students on the Kingsbury team said they were still personally undecided on the issue of consolidation.

"I still need a lot of research," said Addison.

Both students on the Whitehaven team started out being for the transfer, but their research changed their minds.

"It would cause so many issues and might actually hurt Memphis' economy," said Ray.  "So I am against it now."

Even though they are against the transfer, they said some people arguing against the transfer have rubbed them the wrong way.

"I think they don't give Memphis City Schools students a chance," said Conway.  "Like we're just these urban kids and we don't have potential."

All four students agreed that people on both sides of the debate were forgetting the students.

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