More Politics and Less Proficiency Plagues the Metro Nashville School Board with Upcoming Election


Live from music row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Leahy was joined in studio by all-star panelists, Nashville Metro Councilman, Steve Glover, and Crom Carmicheal.

During the show, the men discussed the upcoming school board vote with the resignation of Will Pinkston and the role of the director of schools in Nashville. Glover described the position as one that needs to be acting like they are running a business more than the running of a school system. He was bewildered in seeing how administrators have put politics before the children’s education.

He stated:

I think everything has gotten so deluded as to what their job is they think that their job is to run the school system. Teachers, the whole shooting match. That’s not their job. Their job is running the business of the school business. That’s their job. And so, unfortunately, it’s gotten more down and a bunch of areas that are not beneficial for our kids.

Leahy: We’re in the studio with Crom Carmichael and Metro Council member at large, Steve Glover. Steve, before the break you were going to tell us that you want to approach this selection tomorrow night by the metro council to fill out the final year of the term of a resigned school board member, Will Pinkston.

A far-left guy. I’m not crying that he’s gone. But the candidates are Kevin Stacy who is a former council Nashville metro public school employee who’s a big proponent of ELL English as a learned language or whatever, English Language Learners.

Which basically is refugees and immigrants who don’t speak English and have a special program. There are what, 100 different languages or some big number of languages being taught through ELL.

Glover: Actually, English is what is being taught. What they have to deal with here is the multitudes of languages from around the world.

Leahy: Almost 100 different languages. People who speak those languages living in Nashville…

Glover: Correct.

Leahy: Being taught English now through the ELL program. So that’s Kevin Stacey. Does he have an involvement in that prior?

Glover: Yeah, he was actually one of the directors here in Nashville. I don’t remember his exact title.

Leahy: He was involved in it. What does he do for a living now?

Glover: Well now he’s in Montgomery County schools.

Leahy: Oh! He lives in Nashville and he teaches ELL or is involved in ELL instruction in Montgomery County schools.

Glover: I believe that’s correct.

Leahy: OK. So he’s already part of the system. Freda Player who is a member of the far left, aggressively far left SEIU Union. These are the options. And you told us before that you’re going to take a totally different approach. What’s your approach?

Glover: Well, I mean, the one thing that’s bothered me throughout the entire process is that ‘This will be good for the teachers. This will be good for the workers.’ I have never read a statement yet, as we’re looking to vote tomorrow night on who will replace Mr. Pinkston.

I’ve never read a statement yet that says this is the right person to help us lead the system to make sure that we’re educating our children. Which I think is probably the largest omission. It is the omission. But that’s the largest omission. The largest of the omission of what?

Their job should be because. There are really two key things that the board is charged with under the state constitution. That is the budget. The money. OK? And then hiring a director of schools. They only have one employee, director of schools. That’s it. They don’t hire other people. The director of schools does everything else.

Leahy: And we have an acting director of schools, Sean Joseph was in. He was an utter disaster. And now what I’d be interested in is the question, Crom and I have talked about this many a time. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission went in and did a study of 2017 graduates of high schools throughout Tennessee and they found that the worst-performing county, worse than Shelby county on the proficiency of high school graduates in math and in reading I think Davidson county or maybe Madison county, Jackson was one worse.

There’s like 95 counties. The worst or second-worst county in the state was Davidson county. 65% of high school graduates in 2017 were not proficient in math and 47% were not proficient in reading. I think that’s the number. Will any of these candidates, either Kevin Stacey or Freda Player I guess are the last two standing. Will any of them be asked the question, ‘What’s your plan to improve that?’

Glover: (Gasps) Well I’m sitting here now talking about it. I believe the answer to that is yes. Do I suspect that I will get an answer that is gosh, I can’t even come up with the word. Do I think I’ll get an answer that is meaningful? I’ll keep it at that level right there.

I don’t believe it will. I think everything has gotten so deluded as to what their job is they think that their job is to run the school system. Teachers, the whole shooting match. That’s not their job. Their job is running the business of the school business. That’s their job. And so, unfortunately, it’s gotten more down and a bunch of areas that are not beneficial for our kids.

And they have pitted various things against one another. And look that’s politics. Alright, I get that piece of it. The problem is when you’re playing with our children’s education that should not be politics.

Leahy: Crom you know we were talking with other guests here. Teachers have called in. (Leahy asks teachers to call-in) The question about the school board and the new director. The director Sean Joseph didn’t do a good job.

Carmicheal: None of them have. Let’s not pick on the last director. The system itself is designed to fail. Now that’s not on purpose. But the way it is designed it will fail. And here’s why. Here’s why. A market economy provides information to the competitors in whatever market it is. In the absence of information, competitors cannot change their behavior.

So if they are going down the wrong track, if they are not satisfying their customers and there’s no way for them to know that they are not satisfying their customers, they will continue to not satisfy their customers unwittingly. And so charter schools, I heard what Steve said about the mission.

Charter schools, their mission is to educate the children in their charter schools. In private schools, their mission is to educate those children. It isn’t to make sure all the teachers and all the bureaucracies and all the people who are not doing a good job get to keep a job.

Leahy: Steve Glover, Metro councilman, on this vote tomorrow night to replace Will Pinkston on the board. Several teachers have called in and said the school board has implemented this Obama regulation that says you basically can’t discipline any kids.

Glover: Right.

Leahy: We hear that all the time as a big complaint. And it’s utter chaos in the classroom. Is that, I mean are you going to ask these candidates about whether or not that rule should be…

Carmichael: I want to ask you a quick question. I thought you said the school boards job and maybe they have more power so maybe I misunderstood what you said. If the school board picks the director of schools and approves the budget, can the director of schools tell the school board I’m not going to do that?

If the school board says you must institute a policy that the director thinks is stupid does the director have the power to say no or is the school board like a board of directors that can tell the CEO (i.e. the director) to do something even if the CEO thinks it won’t work?

Glover: So the simple answer is that yes they can tell them anything they want to. The bottom line is under state law the director can say, ‘Forget you.’ And so is a corporate board, it shouldn’t be treated as such but it’s not. And so therefore what happens is they kind of get washed down into various avenues that are not their operating territory.

And when they do that then you have all of this craziness. Now, look. It’s not just the school board that has said no discipline and whatnot. It goes all the way up. You know the one thing I do know is that when I was growing up, my grandmother would wear me out and my dad would wear me out with the belt and a switch whatever.

And I’m still sitting here, I’m not quite dead yet. (Leahy chuckles) And so I just think that we’ve gotten way off base as far as the discipline.

Leahy: And will any of these candidates address that issue whether they support it or not?

Glover: I doubt it.

Carmicheal: So the director of schools answers to the school board in the sense that if the school board decides to fire the director they have that ultimate power.

Glover: That’s correct.

Carmichael: OK.

Listen to the full third hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 am to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.





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