The Hamilton County School System ought to have a policy requiring that any professional development or in-service teacher training get recorded on video and posted online for all the public to see.
Otherwise a lot of people in the county are going to express their displeasure with the school system — and in a major way.
This, according to school board member Rhonda Thurman, who told The Tennessee Star this week the taxpayers are entitled see how school administrators use their money.
“And if no one has a problem with this then we’ll see if no one has a problem with this. I guarantee a lot of people in this county care (about the white privilege training), and you can’t just say ‘Oh, it’s no big deal.’ But it is a big deal,” Thurman said.
“I tell you what, there are a lot of white teachers right now teaching in these predominantly black schools that now know exactly how some of the students feel about them and how some of the adults feel about them and it’s OK. But it’s not OK with me, and it shouldn’t be OK with anybody.”
As reported, most school board members seem happy with the curriculum and are unlikely to hold the people who introduced it accountable to the taxpayers.
Yet three of the eight remaining school board members told The Star Thursday they are fine with members of the public having access to what teachers learn during their professional development or in-service teacher training sessions.
Board Chairman Joe Wingate, along with fellow board members Joe Smith and Kathy Lennon, said school system officials should make the material available for public review.
“I have always supported full transparency because that is what is best for our community,” Lennon said in an emailed statement.
“Having a digital video library of Professional Development for our teachers would definitely benefit our students and teachers across the district. I support everything that will better serve our students.”
As reported, the Williamson County School System, under then-Superintendent Mike Looney, had teachers take similar white privilege training sessions. Looney, however, used a series of videos to impart these lessons, and he had school system employees produce these videos, exclusively for Williamson County teachers.
Angry parents called Looney out on it at a gathering in March.
Looney’s response — “the video was not meant for you, and you (the public) should not have seen the video, in my opinion.”
Looney, now the superintendent of schools in Fulton County, Georgia, did not return The Star’s request for comment Thursday regarding Thurman’s call for greater transparency in these matters.
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