By Staff, Memphis Commercial Appeal
March 8, 2011

Jeff Warren, MCS board member, voted against surrender: “Never have more good people done the wrong thing for the right reasons. The billion-dollar loss to the poorest children pains my heart.”

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttell: “Our focus has got to be on cooling the rhetoric, focusing on the deliberations, getting our transition team in place and getting people that represent all facets of the community.”

Sen. Mark Norris, R-Collierville: “It is a watershed event. Those of us who care about education reform embrace this as a rare opportunity to focus attention and effort on what should matter most — how to make the best education available to every child regardless of ZIP code.”

Betty Mallott, MCS board member, pro-surrender: “From this day forward, I think people will pay closer attention to the governance of this school system, even if they do not have children in the schools. I think awareness of public schools has been heightened. And the awareness of the importance of public schools has been heightened.”

Martavius Jones, MCS board member, pro-surrender: “The real work is only beginning now. The only poll we can rely on is the outcome of the number of who voted.”

Tomeka Hart, MCS board member, pro-surrender: “It’s a good day for Memphis. Memphis had her day at the polls, and she spoke loudly.”

Shelby County Schools Supt. John Aitken: “It’s been such a journey to get to this point. Part of me is glad that this part is over. … The number of voters that made this determination for 150,000 kids is a little dismaying.”

David Pickler, chairman, Shelby County Schools board: “The task before us is monumental. We are going to have to talk about how we move beyond talking, writing letters to the editor and blogging to becoming truly engaged in education. Until that happens, the prospect for educational success going forward will be dramatically limited.”

Kenneth Whalum Jr., MCS board member, anti-surrender: “We’re reaping the whirlwind of a failing educational system in that the overwhelming majority of the parents of the children don’t understand or don’t care about the importance of this issue. Imagine, the parents of the children who will be most impacted by this vote, didn’t participate.”

City Council chairman Myron Lowery: “I am not surprised by the margin. I think that the majority of Memphians and Shelby Countians are people of goodwill, and they want to do the right thing.”

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton: “I am proud of this moment in Memphis. It is not time for jubilation because the hard work is yet to be done. Now is the time for us to forget about the legislation and the lawsuits and focus on lessons and learning.”

Keith Williams, president of the Memphis Education Association: “This is a milestone in Memphis city politics. It is the beginning of what may prove to be something great and grand. But it is just the beginning of a process that will be very long, involved and cumbersome.”

Shelley Seeberg, AFSCME director: “It’s clear the people of Memphis want a united school system. We’re looking forward to having discussions with the transition committee. We all need to move forward on the united system and make sure the transition team is representative of all people in this community, especially parents of students, teachers, workers.”


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