Metro-Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) is one of the most diverse school districts in the Southeast, if not the entire U.S. It is a district that serves not only diverse ethnicities, but also a myriad of cultures and languages from around the globe and almost every income level in the socio-economic spectrum. Student diversity brings both opportunities and challenges to the district that can never be met if the community and the school board continue to spend exhaustive amounts of time and energy discussing events that have little impact on serving the greatest needs in the district.
To see more information on how McQueen and the College of Education help charter school and district schools to work together, click here.
Yes, I mean Great Hearts Academies. The controversy may remain for years, but we must move ahead with all urgency. The singular focus of every conversation we have about education in our city must be on excellence for all students.
What does that mean? It does not mean looking for a “magic pill” or seeking a pre-packaged solution or developing a complicated plan.
Achieving excellence takes nothing short of very hard work. Hard work begins with authentic admission of failures, an accurate view of current status, and a clear vision of success. The hard work should be done collaboratively -- to work with others toward the goal. I think we are missing a golden opportunity to genuinely co-labor toward doable solutions in the city. We have schools in our city that are showing yearly growth as measured on state achievement tests. These schools are both district and charter schools. Are we intentionally asking: What can we learn from these “bright spots” that can be scaled in our community? In what conditions do these schools thrive and how can that be replicated? What school practices are working with what student populations?
We should be proponents of quality charter schools for all the reasons most charters exist:
They provide school choice,
They provide an autonomous option that increases competition that can ultimately improve the quality of all schools, and
They provide a smaller, more independent setting to try and then scale up best practices.
Many charter schools have been very successful and have contributed to not only the lives of their students and families, but also to the body of research on innovation in K-12 school settings.
I also believe you do not have to be anti-district to be pro-charter. I am pro-charter and pro-district and believe we can and should look at where progress is being made in any place it occurs, looking for scalable practices. Some of the best teachers in Tennessee, making significant yearly gains, are teaching in Metro-Nashville Public Schools.
We need to stop letting the charter conversation be a distraction to the work we must to do to be successful in every community. We are at a perfect time in our city to move ahead and learn what we can from any school that is having success in our own backyard. Let’s stop bickering about what has happened and look for real solutions to the larger challenges we have with attention to the opportunities that abound.
Now that the debates are over, it’s time to set the stage for the final stretch of the campaign. Nov. 6 happens in two weeks and what do we know now that we didn’t know three weeks ago before the debates even happened?
1. Mitt Romney has a chance to win this election though it is still south of an even 50-50 chance. The first debate allowed people to see Romney as more than a caricature painted by the Obama campaign or his former Republican rivals. Romney was able to position himself alongside Obama, as opposed to trying to set himself apart from other Republicans.
2. President Obama is severely weakened by the economy, and he has no other accomplishments to fall back onto. The economy has not met expectations, and voters are not buying the argument that the economy is doing ‘well enough considering the hole we were in four years ago’ mindset. It shows a lingering faith in the strength of a free market that MORE people were not disillusioned by the events of 2008. Romney has played to this faith much better than Obama has.
3. None of the things that President Obama has done (e.g. ending the war in Afghanistan, passing ObamaCare, the spending bills in TARP and the stimulus) have gained him any support during the campaign. What were thought to be major successes either paled in comparison to the continuing weakness of the economy or provided Obama no credit for these accomplishments except as failures.
4. Attempts to paint the current economy as a shared burden with the Bush administration or a Republican Congress have not been convincing to voters. Though voters may agree that the Bush administration or the recalcitrant Republican Congress are partially at fault, this doesn’t mean voters are willing to give Obama another term. He has to give the voters something to vote for but all he is giving them is something to vote against: Governor Romney.
5. Women voters are becoming more relevant as they are increasingly becoming heads of household, not just for single mothers but also as the primary wage earners within many family types. Many now see Republican initiatives from the head-of-household standpoint rather than the more traditional standpoint of ‘women’s issues’ such as abortion and equal pay, which usually advantage Democrats.
The debates made this campaign a dead heat, though it is President Obama’s race to lose. If he loses, it will be a sign that American voters are willing to give each side a chance.
Update: See Marc Schwerdt discussing Hurricane Sandy's effect on voting Nov. 6 on Channel 2
Linda Schacht will host debate-watch and discussion parties for students and the community tonight (10/16) and Monday (10/22) in Shamblin Theatre. For more information click here.
While signs indicate that college voters are not as engaged in election politics in 2012 as they were in the high watermark year 2008, the power of the college vote is still crucial to the 2012 election and students should strive to make their voice heard, said Linda Peek Schacht, executive director of the Nelson and Sue Andrews Institute for Civic Leadership as well as a former White House staffer and political activist.
Schacht’s institute, along with the communication and journalism; and history, politics and philosophy departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, are hosting four debate watches for students and the community, and Schacht believes political operators should keep a close eye on the college vote on Nov. 6.
“The big question for 2012 is who among the youth demographic will vote and who won’t. Those results will indicate whether the college vote is now a sustainable, powerful force in the campaign process, or if 2008 was an exception to past voting trends. It will also show the effects of new laws in various states making it harder for many college students to vote at all,” said Schacht.
In Tennessee, not only does the new voter identification law specifically exclude student IDs from being used at the polls, but the law also prohibits an out-of-state student turning 18 from registering to vote by mail and then also voting absentee by mail in their first election. The student must register in person at their county of residence before they can receive an absentee ballot to vote by mail in their first election.
“Both students and political activists should be watching closely how Tennessee’s and other laws affect the student vote in this election, and then ask themselves if making voter fraud more difficult is worth making it more difficult for a rising, powerful new demographic to vote as well,” she said.
Students are invited to watch the last two presidential debates at Pizza and Politics in Shamblin Theatre, tonight,(10/16) and Monday (10/22). For more details, click here.
Click here and select "Inside Politics; Vice Presidential Debate" to see Linda Peek Schacht discuss the Oct. 11 debate on Inside Politics with Pat Nolan.
While the thoughts and prayers of everyone at the Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy are with those impacted by the fungal meningitis outbreak, I thought I would take this opportunity to assist the community in understanding what is occurring.
You may have heard a lot of talk about “compounding” since this outbreak started. Compounding is a core component of the art and science of pharmacy. It is simply the preparation and mixing of ingredients, assembling and/or packaging, and labeling of a drug or device. Compounding is specifically done in accordance with a licensed practitioner’s patient-specific prescription for a customized preparation.
The non-sterile form of compounding is done in your retail pharmacy every day to fill your prescriptions, and the sterile form of compounding is done in specialty sterile compounding pharmacies every time a patient requires an IV or any other type of drug. It is not a process that should cause patients concern.
While “compounding” is in the name of the New England Compounding Center that has come under scrutiny, it appears, based on news reports and Center for Disease Control announcements, that the process conducted by the New England center resulting in the tainted medication could have been manufacturing. The manufacturing of a drug is defined as the distribution of inordinate amounts of compounded preparations or the preparation of any quantity of a drug without a licensed prescriber, pharmacist and patient triad.
Manufacturing is not a process carried out by your local pharmacy, and when conducted legally, it is overseen and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration to ensure product integrity and patient safety.
If you are concerned about your medications, here are some questions to ask your local pharmacist:
Is this a compounded or a commercially available product?
Does this product require sterile technique for proper preparation?
Has your prescriber explained the risk and benefits of this product?
These questions should be asked regarding any prescription you are given:
Why are you taking this medication?
What did the doctor tell you to expect from this product?
What are the potential side effects or adverse reactions of this product?
How am I to manage and respond to side effects or adverse reactions?
How long am I to take this medication to achieve the outcome desired?
Click here to see video of Dean Davis on Channel 4
Click here to see a transcript of Dean Davis on Channel 2
Click here to see video of Dean Davis and pharmacy professors on Channel 5
Nashville is experiencing its toughest year fighting West Nile virus since 2008. Now that the virus has claimed the life of a local resident, it’s an appropriate time to get serious about avoiding mosquitoes, which could transmit the disease from birds to people. But it’s not the time to lose your head and barricade yourself inside your dorm room (especially if you have classes with me!).
It's pretty important to recognize the actual risk of getting this disease. Just because you get a mosquito bite doesn't mean you'll get the virus, and if you got the virus, it's most likely you'd never know it. It’s pretty rare for the West Nile virus to give someone symptoms bad enough to send them to a hospital or doctor. Usually, at most you might feel a little run-down, maybe you would have some body aches or feel like you have a mild case of the flu. In very rare cases people who get the virus will get more severe symptoms like a high fever or terrible headache, very stiff joints or a body rash. It does seem to be the case that people over the age of about 50, and those with already compromised immune systems seem to be more likely to become ill from the virus. Just to be clear, you won't get the virus from another person, and it doesn't seem that mosquitoes will pass the virus from person to person.
Because I'm a scientist, I have to tell give you a little information on the ecology of this disease. The virus lives in birds, mainly crows. One type of mosquito passes the virus around from bird to bird, increasing the virus load in the bird populations. By the end of summer, the virus load is heavy enough in the birds that other mosquitoes - those that feed on birds and mammals - will carry the virus from the bird populations into mammals, like people. Human cases of West Nile virus usually start showing up in the early fall. Usually, after the first hard frost, mosquitoes start dying and human cases slow down. In most places in the United States, winters are cold enough to kill most mosquitoes, so the next season of West Nile virus doesn't start up again until late spring when mosquitoes come out again.
As far as diseases go, West Nile is one you can do something about, to some degree. Get plenty of sleep, eat well, stay healthy and follow these basic tips to diminish your chance of being affected by West Nile virus:
Limit outside activity at dawn and dusk, the key times for mosquito activity.
Wear long sleeves and pants, especially at dawn and dusk.
Wear insect repellant on your skin and clothing that contains DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535.
Don’t panic if you are bitten by a mosquito. Though West Nile virus can affect people of all age groups, only about 1% of those getting the virus will get seriously ill.
Click here to see Dr. English talking West Nile virus on Channel 4
Click here to see Dr, English talking West Nile virus on Channel 17