MCS presents Academic Plan to parents at community forum

(WMC-TV) - Memphis City Schools took its proposed academic plan on the road Saturday.

Parents and school leaders exchanged ideas about the district's proposed 2011 to 2015 Academic Plan at a listening session.

"We need to make sure the community wants and desires what they're proposing," said MCS Deputy Superintendent Irving Hamer.

Among other initiatives, MCS is proposing a six-day school year.  They would not actually have classes Monday through Saturday.  School would end at 5:30 p.m. instead of 3:30 p.m.

"Our children are competing for jobs with children in China and Indonesia, and so parents have to understand how the world has changed," said MCS School Board Commissioner Betty Mallott.

Mallott said technology has advanced exponentially and education followed, so parents must think more about how their children are competing with students overseas instead of across town.

"We can't wait until we are faced with an issue and then begin to brainstorm," said Mallott.

The National Center on Time & Learning revealed America's public education system has fallen to 24th in the world and America offers less instructional time than schools in other countries.

In addition to extended hours, MCS's proposed plan also includes integrating new technology into the curriculum and a detailed graduation strategy.

"As parents, we are stake holders, because our students, our children are the ones who are in the schools," said parent Melanie Murray.

While parents who were present took notes, attendance was low at Saturday's forum.

"We definitely need more parents to come out," said Murray.  "It was not as well attended as it should be."

"I think going forward, more and more parents are going to find out about this, and they'll want to be engaged in these kind of community forums," said Mallott.

The next community forum is from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 22 at Southwest Community College in the Farris Auditorium on the Macon Road campus.

To read the MCS Academic Plan, click here.

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