Monthly Archives: May 2008

Proposed Metro Nashville Public School Changes

  This post is written in response to a post at Aunt B’s place concerning the proposed Metro Nashville Public School cluster changes.  It was originally a comment on her blog but it seemed a bit long for a comment.

I think the resegregation argument is a non-starter based on the current and proposed enrollments of Metro Nashville Public Schools.  Even only looking at high schools one can see that Pearl-Cohn is no racial exception.  Pearl-Cohn is currently 88% black and proposed to be 91% black, certainly the highest on Metro, but two other schools have black populations greater than 80% (Whites Creek and Maplewood). A total of 6 out of 11 high schools are currently a majority black population (above plus Stratford, Hunters Lane, Hillsboro) and 7 of 12* will be majority black under the proposed plan (add Antioch to above schools).

 

To evaluate economic disadvantage one can look at the statistics for the Free and Reduced Meal (FARM) program.  Currently, 7 of 11 schools have a majority of students in the FARM program including 3 greater than 70% participation (Pearl-Cohn, Stratford, Maplewood).  Under the proposed plan, 8 of 12 high schools will have a majority of students in the FARM program with ‘only’ two above 70% (Stratford and Pearl-Cohn).  All schools in the Pearl-Cohn cluster currently have greater than 70% (some near 90%) participation in the FARM program.  The proposal exacerbates that issue by increasing some of the percentages at some of the Pearl-Cohn cluster schools.  However, this is a bigger problem than just the expansion of the Pearl-Cohn cluster to include some neighborhoods that have been transported to Hillwood and Hillsboro.

 

Based on the numbers, I don’t see that switching the districts to neighborhood schools in the Pearl-Cohn cluster (and minor tweaks elsewhere) is in any sense a resegregation of schools.  We are already there.**  The population estimates for Davidson County by race are white-66%, black-28% yet the high school population in Metro Nashville Public Schools is roughly white-32%, black 53% (calculated).  Currently, only one Metro high school has a majority of white students, that is McGavock at 50% white.  The proposed changes would make Hillwood the lilliest of them all at 63% white (still under the population numbers, especially in that part of town) and make that ‘only’ the second Metro high school with a majority of white students.

 

Given the history of destruction that inner city neighborhoods have endured from the introduction of interstate highways dividing communities to the forced busing of students to the suburbs, I think it is high time that neighborhood schools are given an opportunity.  It already can’t get much worse and the added emphasis on the local community can only help…hopefully.

 

**In evaluating the data, I would say the segregation is a public school-private school segregation rather than a segregation between the various zoned public schools given the average household size being roughly the same between white and black.  I can’t find any comprehensive data on Metro nashville private schools or the Metro magnet schools which would impact any complete evaluation of segregation based on public-private school. 

 

*Cane Ridge is a new high school coming on-line with no current stats but they have projected stats.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under by DB, Nashville life, Politics

Stir Crazy

Thanks for all the well wishes and concerns over my accident. I’m recovering, though a little more slowly than I’d like! I was feeling pretty good yesterday and decided to get some things done around here but ended up overexerting myself so DB benched me today! I can’t drive yet because I still have limited mobility in my neck. Not being able to drive has thwarted the plans that I had for this week and has kept us homebound except for going to dinner a couple of times and church last night.

We’re all going a little stir crazy. The kids are bored and there’s not much DB and I can do about it. I’m trying to stay still and rest as much as possible and DB has to work. He did take some time earlier today to do some planting in our garden and the kids “helped” with that. And he and I helped JBelle set-up and use the Easy Bake oven she got for her birthday. She made a couple of cakes for her and the GMan. They both enjoyed mixing up the cake batter and putting the pans into the oven. Then they watched a movie this afternoon while I napped.

I was feeling discouraged earlier about my recovery progress but DB reminded me that a) I’m alive and b) I’m not paralyzed! That certainly put things into perspective! Even though I know I need to recover and take care of myself, I can’t help but feel like I’m being lazy and not contributing to the family. It’s irrational and completely false but it’s how my brain works.

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Filed under by Malia, kids & family, life as a domestic goddess

Family Graduation Birthday Holiday Extravaganza Weekend Recap

First of all, I want to wish a very Happy Birthday to JBelle who turned 8 yesterday!

Second, I’ll warn you, this is a long post. Sorry, I just couldn’t figure out how to make it any shorter!

We had a rather “exciting” weekend. I had dubbed it the Family Graduation Birthday Holiday Extravaganza sometime last week because of all the events and plans we had in place for the weekend. But as you’ll find from reading this post, things don’t always work out like you planned.

We’ll start with Friday. We initiated Summer with our inaugural Frozen Friday treat. Several weeks ago a Dippin’ Dots ice cream store opened up next to “our” Publix and the GMan has been asking to go ever since. I told him that we would go when it’s summer time. So since Friday was the first official day of “summer vacation” we headed to Dippin’ Dots for Frozen Friday.

Saturday was a graduation ceremony & party for one of our nieces. (We had two nieces graduate over the weekend.) We settled ourselves onto the gym bleachers and witnessed that grand milestone of high school graduation.

Then we headed to DB’s brother’s house for the after graduation party. Had lots of fun eating & chatting & catching up with people we’d not seen in awhile. About 7:30 that evening, I was ready to head home. I knew the kids needed to get to bed at a decent hour since we had church the next morning and another graduation the next afternoon.

As I was loading up the car, DB and his brother come up behind me on one of the four wheelers that his brother owns. DB hopped off, I got on and my brother-in-law took me on a little spin around his property. Now, I love those things, they are so much fun but I’d rather drive than ride (I have control issues). So when we stopped again, I got into the driver position and DB got on behind me and I drove him around. Once again, we switched, DB in driver position, me as passenger. Well, here’s where it got “exciting”. We took an incline a tad too fast and I ended up flying off the back of the four wheeler and hitting the ground head first. DB managed to roll off and away from the vehicle. I won’t lie to you, I was terrified and in a lot of pain. I laid there on the ground staring straight up into the sky trying to not completely freak out but not being very successful. It’s all kind of blur. I remember DB coming to my side, I remember shouting and people yelling, “Call 911!” A woman I didn’t know (but later found out was my niece’s boyfriend’s mother who is a nurse) came over to me and started asking me questions and telling me to follow my finger with my eyes. I know I started laughing, kind of, at one point because I was trying so hard to stay calm but I kept crying. I heard the sirens from the ambulance. The paramedic came over to me and asked me questions. They put me in a C-Spine collar and on a backboard and put me in the ambulance and headed to the ER* (my first ever ride in an ambulance).

I’ll spare you all the rest of the details because I’m fine. Truly and miraculously fine. They took X-rays and CT scans at the hospital. Nothing was broken and there was no concussion. My injuries consist of an abrasion on my head (with lots of lovely swelling and pretty colors on the left side of my face plus I lost a chunk of hair where I hit the ground), my neck is sore and stiff, my left middle finger is “jammed” and swollen and sore, my right shoulder has a pretty bruise and is sore, and I chipped three teeth. No, I was not wearing a helmet. But I will…next time.

The accident put me out of commission for Sunday’s activities, so missed seeing my other niece graduate. I took it easy on Sunday. Monday was JBelle’s birthday and I was determined to be mobile and able to participate in the festivities. All through this DB was my rock and my constant. He took care of me, he took care of the kids and all the remaining preparations for Monday’s celebration. He had some abrasions and bruising but he put any pain or fatigue he felt behind him to care for us.

So, now we’re up to Monday. We were still able to celebrate JBelle’s birthday pretty much as planned. We had breakfast, blueberry muffins, just the four of us at home that morning and gave JBelle her birthday presents from us. Then we headed to the home of another of the brothers for the festivities. We stopped along the way to get JBelle’s cake. Brooke O’Dell of Ice This did the cake.

(That’s her Webkinz cat, Blossom.)

At the party we celebrated JBelle’s 8th birthday and also birthdays of other family members from earlier this month and from the Spring. We did an “Irish blessing” of sorts for JBelle. I’ll put those in a separate post for later. We spent time with our family and laughed and talked and ate and felt blessed to all be together again even for such a brief time.

All in all, accident aside, it was a good weekend. I’m grateful to have family nearby to celebrate the good times with and to be there for each other in the bad times. I’m happy and excited for my nieces who are starting new phases of their lives. I’m humbled by how time flies so fast. I have an 8 year old now! She’s going into third grade! Eight years has passed quite quickly, how is it that she’s not a baby anymore? I’m also thankful that I’m here and healthy. I concentrate on the fact that all is well and not on what could have been. Soon, it will be a distant memory, another brush stroke on the canvas of my life. I thank God that neither of us were seriously injured and for the blessing of each and every day.

*Another post for another time is how I seem to have a graduation jinx…

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Filed under by Malia, kids & family

School’s Out for Summer

Yikes!

That is all.

;)

More here.

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Filed under by Malia, kids & family, life as a domestic goddess

Here’s Your Sign

It seems to me that the best “sign” that an able-minded person can receive from God is the simple fact that God saw fit to endow you with a working brain. If you are of rational mind and reasonable intelligence, I don’t think it’s necessary to try and find “signs” that you are doing the right thing. I don’t mean that we shouldn’t be mindful of God’s will for our lives by being in prayer and study. I think that if you are able to see a situation for what it is whether it’s deciding to take a new job, to move to another city/state/country, to end an abusive relationship, to have more children, to change churches and so on, then you can make that decision without relying on “signs”. Yes, sometimes things happen in our lives that add clarity to those decisions but just because everything falls into place doesn’t necessarily make it a “God thing”. God’s will for our life isn’t a “That was easy!” button. Life itself is a “God thing” and it’s up to us to make something of the life we’ve been given. There are times when everything works out and decisions are easy. And there are times when things will work out but the decision is still very hard.

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Filed under by Malia, random, religion, Uncategorized

Anticipating Summer

School is almost out. And I’m simultaneously looking forward to and dreading summer. Summer can be fun. There are lots of things we get to do during summer that don’t happen at other times. Like: spending hours and hours at the pool; not having to get up early to get ready for school (though GMan has been waking terribly early lately which doesn’t bode well for summer sleeping in time); our annual trip to Camp Manatawny; JBelle will be going to Girl Scout sleep away camp for the first time; Fourth of July party and fireworks; a visit from Granny & Pa!; Sounds baseball games; playing in the hose in the backyard; catching lightning bugs.

Summer can also be a drag. Like: sunburn; mosquitoes; I hear that we will have to contend with cicadas at some point which will probably cut into our pool time; extreme heat. Our children are at the ages now where they really get on each other’s nerves and there is A LOT of bickering and telling on and general aggravating that happens on a daily basis. Our children also have this insatiable need to know “what are we doing now/next/today/tonight/tomorrow/5 weeks from now”! or “where are we going now/next/today/tonight/tomorrow/5 weeks from now”! I’m trying to get myself prepared for the inevitable. I’m working on a “calendar” of summer days and activities (currently it resides in my brain which is a scary and dangerous place for planning such as this). About all I’ve come up with is that we will be at the pool 3 days a week, one day will be “field trip” day and the other day will be “stay at home and do nothing and don’t bother Mommy because if you do you’ll be sorry” day. Sounds good, huh?

Oh, and Frozen Fridays. I’m really looking forward to Frozen Fridays which will actually start this Friday! What are Frozen Fridays you ask? Nashville has several delicious and unique ice cream stores, many of which I’ve never even tried but I’ve heard a lot about them. Places like Las Paletas, Bobbie’s Dairy Dip, and Pied Piper Creamery that are locally owned and operated and then places like Dippin’ Dots, Cold Stone Creamery and Maggie Moos that are chain restaurants. Every other Friday we’ll go to one of these shoppes and get ice cream. On the other Fridays, we’ll have homemade ice cream! DB bought an ice cream maker several weeks ago. So far, we’ve only made chocolate (which was delicious!) and we’re looking forward to trying new recipes and concoctions in our ice cream maker.

I guess all in all, there is more to look forward to than to dread so…I’ll brace myself and say, “Bring on Summer!”

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Filed under by Malia, kids & family, life as a domestic goddess, Nashville life, Uncategorized

Peaceful

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Edgy

I set out to write something provocative and edgy this morning.

Somewhere along the way it turned to mush.

I’ve never had an edge, so it’s not like I lost it.

Instead, I need to find one.

Wanted: the edge I never had.

Assuming: it comes with the courage to use it.

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Filed under by Malia, musings, Uncategorized

Our Evening with Vince Gill & Johnny Carrabba

If you follow me on Facebook or Flickr, you’ve already seen the pictures. But I still wanted to write about the evening here as well. This past Friday night, DB and I went to a benefit event at the Country Music Hall of Fame called, “The Art of Expression”. The fundraising was for two programs for the homeless here in Nashville, Room in the Inn and the Campus for Human Development. The premise of the evening was that Johnny Carrabba, co-founder of Carrabba’s Italian Grill, would be “teaching” Vince Gill how to cook some of his wife’s, Amy Grant, favorite Carrabba’s dishes for Mother’s Day.

It was a really fun! I’d say one of the neatest things we’ve ever done while living in Nashville. Some highlights of the evening:

  • Appetizers and mingling: Yummy food! A shrimp appetizer, bruschetta & tomatoes caprese. Johnny and Vince did several interviews with the news media and made the rounds in the crowds, taking pictures and signing autographs. Our “tablemates”, Amy & Shannon, were fun & good people to have around.
  • Cooking show: Johnny and Vince were up on a makeshift kitchen platform. It was educational and entertaining, Vince Gill is a card! And he and Johnny had a great rapport. They made three dishes; Cozze In Bianco (Mussels in White Wine sauce, Amy’s favorite), Pasta Primavera & Chicken Marsala.
  • Dinner: More yummy food! Cozze In Bianco, Chicken & Sirloin Marsala and lobster ravioli. Desserts were shot glass portions of Dessert Rosa & Sogno di Cioccolata.
  • DB here — Adam Dread was there. Malia didn’t know who he was. While standing in line for dinner, he was behind us in the lobby about 20 feet away. I pointed him out to her and then explained to the person next to us in line that “Malia doesn’t know who Adam Dread is”….just as Adam walks by. He got three feet past us and wheeled around, got a bead on Malia and said “Hi, I’m Adam Dread”. he then went into his stand-up routine. “Where are you from? No, what street?”.
  • Silent auction: I bid on a book set with Carrabba’s gift certificate and won! The books are “A Guitar and a Pen: Stories by Country Music’s Greatest Songwriters”, which was signed by Vince Gill and by the editor Robert Hicks, and “Ciao Y’all: Recipes from the PBS Series Cucina Amore” by Johnny Carrabba and Damian Mandola (unfortunately, this one was not signed and by the time I realized it, I couldn’t get to Johnny to sign it!).
  • Music: a concert by Vince Gill performed in the Ford Theater there in the Hall of Fame. That was, hands down, the best part of the evening. Vince did several songs, new and old, and he talked a lot about the stories behind the songs and who inspired them and who he wrote them with.

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Filed under by Malia, Nashville life

Kathie Lee Doesn’t Know Jack About Computers

I admitted on Twitter this morning that I don’t get the uproar that was heard in the Mommy Blogging community over yesterday’s interview, on the Today show, between Kathie Lee Gifford, her co-host Hoda Kotb and Heather Armstrong of Dooce.com. (The full clip can be see here. An abbreviated clip can be seen here.) The general uproar in the Mommy Blogging community is that Kathie Lee “dissed” mommy bloggers. Some feel that she was judgmental of Heather for putting pictures of her daughter and talking about private issues like potty training on her blog. I’ve read those that say Kathie Lee did the same thing with her family when she was co-hosting “Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee” several years ago and that she’s essentially the pot calling the kettle black.

I don’t agree. I’ve watched the clip a few times now and I just don’t see it. Especially since Kathie Lee repeatedly admits that she a) doesn’t use a computer b) doesn’t understand computers and c) has fears about the Internet. I’ll bet you that when you talk about children and computers and the Internet to Kathie Lee, she’s thinking of child p*orn sites, of molesters who stalk chat rooms and lure children into meeting them and of MySpace pages gone wrong. There really isn’t much difference between what we as Mommy Bloggers put on our sites regarding our children and how Kathie Lee talked about her kids and showed their pictures all those years ago. If anything, she understands a bit more fully than we do what risk there is in doing that. (I can’t believe I’m actually defending Kathie Lee!)

Now if you want to talk about how Heather’s segment was handled, there’s where we might see some controversy. From what I’ve read on her blog and her Twitter page is that her interview was originally scheduled for 8:30am and was then bumped to 10am. In Today show speak she went from being interviewed by the A-Team (either Meredith or Matt) to the B-Team (Kathie Lee & Hoda). Seems to me that something a little more “newsworthy” or “sexy” must of come along and the “Mommy Blogger” segment just didn’t seem as “exciting” anymore. That my friends, is a “dis”.

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Filed under by Malia, Rant