The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with local government and civic groups, has decided that the business of business is to help increase community involvement in public schools.
While business groups throughout the country often have spoken out about the need to take action to improve America’s K-12 system, the Chamber’s One Nashville initiative launched last week aims to connect parents, community members, and business leaders with opportunities to help Nashville’s schools. The website provides information on organizations and opportunities for any Nashvillian--not just parents—to volunteer in, advocate for, or donate money to schools and school projects, as well as other resources for parents. Through a nonprofit partner, the Pencil Foundation, residents and businesses can sign up online to volunteer for activities ranging from reading to kids and serving as mentors to more prosaic, but needed, tasks such as helping out in school offices and cafeterias.
Why did the Chamber spearhead this high-profile campaign being promoted with broadcast, online, and other ads?
“We understand that the success of our public schools affects us all,” chamber president and CEO Ralph Schulz said. “For Nashville to continue to be a great city for families and businesses, we all must take responsibility for making sure we have great public schools.”
While some businesses are keen on the effort, will it work in drawing in residents without children in the schools? At the least, its message is on the mark: Public schools’ success affects everyone in a community and the nation, so everyone should take an interest in their success.
A version of this news article first appeared in the K-12, Parents & the Public blog.