A Horse Is Worth More Than A Child In North Chattanooga - And Response (2)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I live less than one block from Normal Park Upper. But my home on Dallas Road is not zoned for this school. If that wasn’t strange enough, there’s another road called Carter Lake Road that is zoned for Normal Park. Carter Lake Road is about 1.5 miles from Normal Park Upper. Have you ever heard of Carter Lake Road? Me neither. And I’ve lived in North Chattanooga for 12 years.

But don’t bother looking for it on a local map. None of my maps show it – even the new one I bought last month. I found it by examining the School Board’s Normal Park Upper zone map. Carter Lake Road is in the upper right corner of the Normal Park school zone - right by the river. It’s a big road and sticks out like a sore thumb. It took me three days to find this place. Why?

A. Carter Lake Road is actually a gravel trail. With the exception of the entrance and exit points there are no houses here.

B. To enter one side of Carter Lake Road you have to drive through Carter Farms – which is a private drive.

C. To exit the other side you literally have to go through Senator Bob Corker’s back yard.

My boy is being excluded from a quality education while Carter Farm’s horses are included. Now, I don’t deny Carter Farms has some lovely animals. And, to fair, the people at Carter Farms impress me as decent people. But when a wealthy family’s horse has better access to a quality public education than a poor family’s child, something is dead wrong.

If a developer wants to convert this farm land into residential real estate (trust me, this is a big area), let’s zone the property for Normal Park after they actually develop it. Given the housing crisis, that might take years. In the meantime, I hope the decent people of Chattanooga will help me fight this injustice.

Respectfully yours,

Charles Bikas
cbikas@yahoo.com

* * *

Mr. Bikas, I understand your frustration. I also live in your neighborhood.

There is growing consensus among North Chattanooga neighborhood groups that the K-12 program that previously provided public education in the the North Chattanooga area needs to be recreated to serve the emergence of younger families, and children through the magnet school lottery. The demand is apparently bigger than the building capacity available to operate at the Normal Park Schools..

Our neighborhood remains hopeful that the emergence of a younger North Chattanooga will result in the restoration or recreation of a full K-12 program that the Normal Park Schools of excellence could potentially provide. It was not that long ago, the North Chattanooga neighborhoods had a elementary, middle, and high school. While the particulars of this issue are beyond my knowledge, the need is obvious. Our North Chattanooga neighborhoods have children again.

You should contact the school directly and try to resolve this. The fact that North Chattanooga families now seek placement at the Normal Park Schools speaks volumes to their success and commitment to children they possess. I assure you 2 years ago, no one wanted placement at this failing middle school, and 9 years ago the same for Normal Park Elementary. The success of Normal Park from my perspective is based upon a willingness to address problems head on. I feel that if there is truly an inequity, they would try to seek remedy of the situation to the best of their ability.

I agree, the implementation of magnet schools without a designated zone can create inequity for families and children that live directly by these schools. In this case, Normal Park Schools has a zone, unlike the other magnet schools. So, contract the school and try to resolve this.

April Eidson

* * *

I'd ask the writer of the original letter what is stopping his child/children from doing well no matter the school attended, whether it's magnet or "run-of-the-mill." Yes, some schools will have a lower than average composite test score but nothing at a school is stopping any individual student from accomplishing great things. Much of the problem is due to parents and with the concern shown here, that shouldn't be a problem. There are plenty of success stories from low-performing schools.

Nathan Hickey


David Carroll: I Heard You Could Use A Laugh

After all these rainy days we’ve had, let’s share a laugh or two:  Overheard from a favorite waitress:  "My doctor told me I have ADD-HD.  I don't pay attention that often, but when I do, everything looks really sharp."  A senior citizens group just invited me to speak at their next meeting.  The lady who called asked me, "How long do you talk?"  I ... (click for more)

Not Impressed With The Tax Increase

Mr. Smith did not impress me enough when he came to Lookout Valley and lobbied for support for his tax increase.   According to the draft supplied by Mr. Smith, the average pay for personnel in Lookout Valley Middle School and High School, including benefits, is $68,000.  That's not shabby; and then give a five percent pay increase: $2,727,929.36 divided by 40 staff ... (click for more)

Pedestrian Struck And Dragged An Estimated 4 Blocks Early Friday Morning Was Levi S. Youster, 22

Early Friday morning the Chattanooga Police Department responded to reports of a pedestrian struck near 400 Cherry Street.   Once on scene, officers found Levi S. Youster, 22,  suffering from serious injuries caused by being dragged by the vehicle an estimated four blocks.   He was transported to a local hospital and is expected to live. Investigators ... (click for more)

Flash Flood Warning Issued For Hamilton County; Cancellations And Road Closings Announced

A flash flood warning has been issued for Hamilton County for Thursday afternoon. It was reported t ramp from I-24 West to Cummings Highway was closed, due to flooding. The Chattanooga Fire Department reported  roads were underwater at 3rd and Roanoke. UTC softball’s Thursday doubleheader with non-conference foe UAB at Frost Stadium has been cancelled due to the ... (click for more)

Brewer Selected New East Ridge Girls Basketball Coach

(Story has been updated) Blaine Brewer admitted his becoming a head coach at East Ridge, or any other place for that matter, is ahead of schedule. “It certainly has happened quicker than I thought it would,” the 24-year-old Brewer said Friday. “I’m really excited though.” Brewer, who is from Memphis and attended Arlington High School where he played basketball and ... (click for more)

McClendon, Ex-Rhea Assistant, Joins Lyness' Lady Trojans Staff

Cheryl McClendon, an assistant girls’ basketball coach at Rhea County the past eight years, has been hired for a similar job at Soddy-Daisy High School, head coach Drew Lyness said Friday afternoon. McClendon has taught at Soddy-Daisy for the last 13 years and served as one of Rhea County coach Shane Johnston’s assistants for almost a decade. Johnston has resigned at Rhea County ... (click for more)