Archive for April, 2008

by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 30th, 2008 10:46pm CDT | 1 Comment

For all of us who sit alone with only the glare from our computer screen keeping us company as we peck out a blog post with no idea whether any one will read it, here’s some good news. In Shelby County, more than 118,000 people say they regularly get local news from blogs. Keep in […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 29th, 2008 6:35pm CDT | Comments Off on Getting To The Promised Land

Previously published as Memphis Magazine’s City Journal column: Few phrases are as overused today as “defining event,” but it’s never as accurate as when many in my Boomer generation look back at the life and death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He looms as an influence over our lives as much as our own […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 27th, 2008 1:36pm CDT | Comments Off on City Council Prepares To Throw Grenade Into School Funding

A decision by Memphis City Council to cut city schools funding will create chaos. A decision to cut school funding will throw city and county budget hearings into turmoil. A decision to cut school funding will create havoc in the budget of Memphis City Schools. A decision to cut school funding will explode into political […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 25th, 2008 6:21pm CDT | Comments Off on This Week On Smart City: Green Buildings And Smart Children

When Washington ignored climate change, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels decided to ignore Washington. He convinced almost 800 mayors to sign on to the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, and he is determined to make his own city the model for sustainability. We’ll talk to Mayor Nickels about his progress in the first half of our […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 23rd, 2008 11:27pm CDT | Comments Off on Charter Changes Could Pave Way For Back-door Consolidation

Before you think we’re losing our minds, hear us out. It’s a proposal we’re calling “poor man’s consolidation.” The only reason that we have this end-around opportunity at transforming city and county governments is because both are now considering changes to their charters. As far as we can recall, it’s the first such alignment of […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 22nd, 2008 9:25pm CDT | Comments Off on Charter Commission Could Vote For Better Elections

The Memphis Charter Commission has the chance Thursday to do something progressive for our city – to create an election process that deserves to be called 21st century. At the meeting, Charter Commission members will vote on whether to put Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) on the referendum ballot with other amendments to the city charter. […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 21st, 2008 9:50pm CDT | Comments Off on Future Economic Growth Plans Build On Lessons From The Past

Continued from yesterday. In the past, economic development programs like Memphis 2005 have received widespread support from the private and public sectors, but in the end, their residual impact was limited. The reasons included alienation of many economic development organizations that accepted responsibility for goals but received no money to achieve them, lack of the […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 20th, 2008 10:08am CDT | Comments Off on Limping Memphis Economy Must Leap Into Future

The Memphis economy has reached the moment of truth. Languishing in the lower rungs of the economic indicators that matter, we have reached the point where we either snap out of it or we sink into the abyss with Detroit and Cleveland. It’s that serious, and the choices are that stark. In the family of […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 18th, 2008 7:02pm CDT | Comments Off on This Week On Smart City: The Race Is On

The race to attract and keep talent is on. Even in this economy, many companies – and cities – are doing everything they can to make themselves more appealing to college graduates and those who may be seeking new experiences. They can learn a few lessons from David Doepel. It’s been David’s job to attract […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 17th, 2008 3:31pm CDT | Comments Off on Safe Harbor Hides Schools’ Rocky Shoals

The Washington Post headline could have just as easily been in The Commercial Appeal. It said: “Safe Harbor” Offers Shelter From Strict “No Child” Targets. The report said that hundreds of schools in Maryland, Virginia and District of Columbia mask their failure through the use of the “safe harbor” provisions of No Child Left Behind […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 16th, 2008 10:20pm CDT | Comments Off on There’s Always Time For One More Org Chart At City Schools

Ah, springtime in Memphis. Blooming flowers, Beale Street Music Festival and another organization chart for Memphis City Schools. Yep, there’s yet another one this week following Interim Superintendent Dan Ward’s creation of a new division – the Division of Strategic Planning and Accountability. New Org Charts Again From where we sit, there needs to be […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 15th, 2008 10:28pm CDT | Comments Off on Actually, It’s Not Even About The Test

As our school students start taking the state tests that determine if they are proficient and if their schools are considered successful, here’s a music video, “Not On The Test,” that helps keep it in perspective.

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 15th, 2008 9:55pm CDT | Comments Off on And City Budget Hearings Haven’t Even Begun Yet

It’s one of those weeks when we have to fight the thought that our elected officials are losing their minds. And it’s only Tuesday. First, Memphis Mayor Willie W. Herenton announces – without a hint of concern about the average city taxpayer – that he’ll be seeking a 17 percent property tax increase this year. […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 14th, 2008 9:38pm CDT | Comments Off on Memphis City Schools Honor Roll

While we frequently decry the crisis that exists in Memphis City Schools and the more than 100 schools that are not meeting state benchmarks, we want to take this opportunity to salute the schools – 2 high schools, 7 middle schools and 23 elementary schools – that have met state benchmarks and shown improvement over […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 14th, 2008 9:34pm CDT | Comments Off on State Press Parties Mislead On School Facts

Get ready for one of those sham celebrations manufactured by the Tennessee Department of Education to mark alleged improvements in student academic performance. While talking about how the state will toughen up its standards for the state’s school districts, state educational bureaucrats recently downgraded the score that it will take to be judged proficient in […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 13th, 2008 9:54pm CDT | Comments Off on Schools Always Need More Money

There is no sacred cow in the public sector that compares to public education – or can moo as loudly. We’ve been hearing the familiar refrain since June when the Shelby County Board of Commissioners put $11 million in new tax revenues into a rainy day fund for school construction rather than send it to […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 12th, 2008 5:17pm CDT | Comments Off on This Week On Smart City: The New Meaning Of Community

Say the word community and it still brings to mind thoughts of people with something in common who identify with each other as a group and usually as a neighborhood. But this week, the meaning of community is being stretched in exciting new directions. Chris Kelly suggests that what we need to solve big problems […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | April 9th, 2008 6:19pm CDT | Comments Off on Suburban Mayors Give Pep Talk About Memphis

There’s one fact of life about today’s news media that’s always disconcerting to us – the way that people become one-dimensional caricatures of themselves. Willie Herenton is arrogant, Henri Brooks is unpatriotic, Wyatt Bunker is a knee-jerk right winger, Ken Whalum is difficult and Ophelia Ford is unprincipled. The truth is that none of us […]

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