NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - A citywide survey, about 30 pages long delves into what Nashvillians think about MNPS, how they’re responding to COVID-19 and where they see the school year going forward.
“We saw some interesting pieces in the poll results around the potential of public schools, and that just makes you hopeful in a time that is quite challenging,” Katie Cour, President and CEO of Nashville Public Education Foundation said.
Challenging is the best way to describe 2020, for everybody, but especially for those in higher learning. It’s why Cour wanted to get the city’s input.
“We wanted to gauge general Nashvillians, so we did a poll of 500 Nashville registered voters. Some of whom, the majority of whom had students in the system. But they were not only families with students in the system. And we really got a sense of how they feel," Cour said.
Most people in the survey feel the district is doing the best they can considering the circumstances
“At the end of August, the majority of respondents two-thirds of respondents actually are giving the benefit of the doubt to the district on how it’s responding to the coronavirus,’ Cour said.
To be in the classroom, or not to be in the classroom was one of the biggest questions in the survey. Data from the poll shows the majority of voters think virtual school should continue.
“Of course there were 30 percent of respondents who said absolutely not, we need to get kids back into school as soon as possible, but you can see that there’s a wide range of approaches to how people feel about the district’s response,” Cour said.
The data also shows race played a factor.
“The district’s student breakdown, about 44 percent of our students are African American. And so, when we looked at those numbers, you saw that over 70 percent of Black respondents on our poll favor virtual learning. Not surprisingly, I’m assuming it’s correlated with the fact that people of color have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus and so, the safety and concern over the health of their students is paramount,” Cour said.
News 4 reached out to MNPS. A spokesperson released the following statement:
This public opinion poll affirms the decision by Metro Nashville Public Schools to implement a phased-in, safety-driven approach to reopening school buildings to our students that is driven by family decisions.
“I think there is a clear recognition that our schools need to improve. I don’t think there’s any sugar coating around that in the respondents that we received on the poll. However, there is also a sense of optimism and hope about the role of the school as being the beacon of the community and the potential of improving--not just the lives of students but for an entire community,” Cour said.