Memphis and the surrounding suburbs have been through quite a lot of “churning” with the school merger of the city schools with the county schools. Most everyone spots the corporate fingerprints. They’re all over the place. Chain charters, Teach for America, The New Teacher Project, Common Core, etc. are, with the help of Stand for Children, chomping at the bits to privatize every public school they can corral.
But the latest scandal is a real puzzler. School equipment totaling $48 million, 55,000 items, have vanished into thin air! This includes 10,200 things from the old Memphis City Schools and 56,000 objects from the suburban schools. The Local 24 News did an excellent job breaking it down last night http://www.localmemphis.com/story/local-24-investigates-missing-school-items/d/story/XS9MeHKZe0mjKpxGTx421A. Reporters pored through 2700 pages of inventory.
The missing items include:
- More than 8800 computers
- 620 TVs
- Almost 2 thousand iPads
- 470 digital cameras
- Deep fryers
- A backhoe
- 160 snare drums
- More than 330 clarinets
- 75 French horns
- 400 violins and violas
- 36 pairs of bongo drums (that’s right—bongo drums!)
- Six Baby Grand pianos (no kidding!)
I know Memphis is a musical city but really!
I remember, when I taught school, at the end of the school year teachers had to list all the items in their classrooms—noting the numbers on filing cabinets, books, desks—you name it. It was a cumbersome job and I hated doing it. I especially remember taking inventory at a poor school where I worked. The items were falling apart and I hardly had any books and materials, yet I still, carefully, listed every single item. I couldn’t help but remember this exercise hearing about all this lost equipment.
So who will be accountable in Memphis for all the missing stuff?
I guess this is what happens in the midst of chaos, or disruption, or transformation, or messing things up for the supposedly greater good, or whatever you want to call it.