Urbanites and Public Schools


One thing is clear about Nashville’s core: it is growing and thriving like the rest of our country’s cities. Young people are moving in to old neighborhoods, downtown is adding upscale apartments and condos at a fast rate but still not keeping up with demand, and empty-nest suburbanites are moving closer to downtown.

When we moved here over two years ago, we were part of this trend and focused on finding an old neighborhood with sidewalks, eschewing the white-flight suburbs for a more diverse neighborhood.

One other thing is clear about Nashville. It is a private school town. This reality started back in the 70s with the double whammy of the formation of Metro government (combining the city of Nashville government with Davidson county, including the school systems) and forced busing. Most families chose one of two options: flee to the suburbs or attend private schools.

We, like so many other urbanites, are caught in this same dilemma in these more modern times. We want to be close to the core but we also want the best education for our kids. We have chosen, for the time being, to support our local public school. The tradeoffs are few at this stage and the quality differences, perceived or real, are minimal. However, it was not an easy choice and doubts are continuously circulating through the back of my mind, especially when we are surrounded by neighbors who have chosen elsewhere.

Instead of delving further in to my opinions or beliefs about this choice, I want to share the article that prompted this post.


It brings up many of the reasons I wanted to choose a local public school, but what the author highlights is the element that, at this point in my experience as a father, is the highest correlation to school and student success: parent involvement. It takes a village.

2 replies »

  1. I’m always curious to hear parent’s experiences and opinions of the public schools, especially as my children get closer to starting school. Part of the reason we moved from our community in CA was because of the atrocious public school “choices”. It seems we moved into something even worse from what I have heard. I whole heartedly agree that it takes a village! Parent involvement is essential in a successful education.

  2. So we have had children in both public and private schools and can attest there are pros and cons for both. I think you are right that parental involvement is the deciding factor, and Evie will thrive in either setting. 🙂

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