Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson.
This week on WKNO-TV's Behind the Headlines, Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson discusses a variety of educational topics with host Eric Barnes and Bill Dries, senior reporter for the Memphis Daily News. Up first: After being placed on a priority list a couple of years ago, East High School has seen double-digit gains with academic performance. Hopson attributes those gains to newly implemented vocational programs, such as biodiesel training. Vocational programs, he says, offer students who are not necessarily going to college a chance to train for the modern workplace.During his five years in office, Hopson says that the school board has had to close about 26 schools. Looking toward the future, Hopson says that there could be potentially 40 to 50 more school closings. He explains that the decision to close a school is not mainly about saving money, but finding ways to give students better resources and to be more efficient. On charter schools, Hopson describes the challenges of approving and/or dissolving them in a state where the rules and regulations are unclear. Hopson believes there needs to be more aggressive regulations with regard to charter school agendas. Finally, Hopson talks about TNReady scores and what he believes should be done with state testing.