Metro Nashville Public Schools is paying an “educational consultant” who does not have a four year college degree $80,000 in a 12 month contract to provide the school system with a “pilot project” that has vague deliverables.
Bruce D. Taylor, who apparently had a similar consulting contract with the Prince George’s, Maryland school system when current MNPS Director Dr. Shawn Joseph was an administrator there, does not have a four year college degree in any subject from an accredited American university, according to both his Linked In profile and his own website. Taylor is the “educational consultant” who received a $25,000 contract with MNPS in 2016, shortly after Dr. Joseph was named MNPS Director, and an additional $80,000 contract for an additional 12 months that began on July 1, 2017 and continues until June 30, 2018.
“When Dr. Shawn Joseph began as Metro’s director of schools almost two years ago, he skillfully convinced school board members to treat him more as a partner than an employee,” NewsChannel 5 reported in April:
So when critics questioned his spending on a luxury vehicle and a driver, School Board Chair Anna Shepherd had his back.
“I think that Dr. Joseph needs to do whatever he needs to do to make sure that we are successful,” Shepherd told NewsChannel 5 Investigates.
“And if in his infinite wisdom, if that’s what he thinks he needs, he has full rein to do that.”
Full rein also apparently meant hiring Bruce D. Taylor, an arts consultant with whom Joseph had worked at Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland.
Taylor’s initial contract for $25,000 said “Contractor analyzes student test results and recommends specific academic areas for intervention in order to improve ACT test results.”
His new contract, for an additional $80,000, says Taylor’s “deliverables” for the “Pilot Project” for the academic year 2017-2018 called “Foundational Concepts of State Standards” include the following:
1. A guide for linear coherence of Nashville Schools’ scope and sequence to Tennessee’s State English Language Arts Standards, stae assessments and ACT ELA assessments to provide direct alignment to instructional support and metrics that can be used for grades on student report cards.
2. Instructional strategies that conform to TNReady/TCAP structure, format, and prompts, with particular emphasis on writing.
3. Introductory handbook for teachers which includes “standards” meanings of “operative terms” inherent in Tennessee’s English Language Arts Standards and curriculur materials as a basis for ongoing professional development.
4. Remediation tools, e.g. quizes, formative assessments, and in-house summative assessments that mirror the state’s.
5. Pre-assessments and analysis of students’ writing samples and students’ comprehension of “operative terms.”
6. Implementation of sample formative assessments based upon existing MNPS curricular content and analysis of same to monitor students’ progress.
7. Implementation of sample “proto-summative” assessments and analysis of same to monitor students’ progress. Exact formation will depend upon an analysis of the state’s ELA assessment vendor.
8. Interim reports of pilot project.
9. Summative report of pilot project.
Taylor appears to be working at a rate of about $3,500 a day. For his first contract in the amount of $25,000, that works out to just a little more than seven days of work.
At a $3,500 a day rate, he is being paid $80,000 for the year that began in August 2017 for less than 24 days of actual work over the 12 months of the contract.
Taylor submitted his first invoice in August 2016 for a professional fee of $3,500 for one day of work — a “Workshop on State Standards” conducted on August 25, 2016, along with an additional $1,133.92 in expenses that included round trip airfare from his home in Bethesda, Maryland to Nashville, for a total “unauthorized purchase request” of $4,633.92.
Taylor apparently has no experience whatsoever with Tennessee State Educational Standards, at least so far as The Tennessee Star has been able to determine. Taylor also has no educational background in the teaching of English Language Arts, nor any experience in the teaching of English Language Arts.
“After graduating from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art three decades ago, Bruce went on to do almost every job one can do in the professional theatre,” his website states.
“Now he turns his extensive experience, skill, and talents to address the arts’ historic opportunity with states’ adoption of the Common Core State Standards — a wholesale shift in this nation’s paradigm for teaching and learning. In short, Common Core thinking is arts thinking!” his website continues.
You can see Taylor in this video of a 2013 workshop he conducted in St. Louis:
According to Taylor’s Linked-In profile, he attended Alaska Methodist University (now Alaska Pacific University) between 1964 and 1967, but did not graduate.
On Linked-In, he also says he attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London between 1971 and 1973, and received a “diploma” in stage management:
In the version of his resume he provided to NewsChannel 5, Taylor makes the following claims about his education:
Graduate, Theater Management –Royal Academy of Dramatic Art–London, England (MFA equivalent), Graduate, Defense Language Institute, Monterey, California, Naval Security Group, Russian Language, Alaska Methodist University, Dept. of Music, 3 years.
The Star has contacted the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art to confirm Taylor’s claim. They have acknowledged our inquiry, but, as of yet, have not provided any information as to whether Taylor attended the school, what years he attended, and what degree, if any, he received.
The Star also contacted Taylor by email to ask for further details to confirm his claims about his educational background, but has not received a response.