Tuesday 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 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Michael Patrick Leahy discussed Metro school board’s district six member Fran Bush’s recent post on Facebook addressing parents discontent with Metro Nashville public schools decision to continue to halt in-person learning, extracurricular activities and sports.
Big rally yesterday. Parents in Nashville want Metro Nashville public schools to get back to in-person learning and also to allow kids to play sports. Apparently they chose not to do that. I have been a very strong critic of Metro Nashville public schools for some time. A critic of the nine-member board and the administration there.
They’re doing all things wrong in my view. Some people celebrate the fact that all nine members of the school board are women. And that the new director Dr. Battle is a woman. And some think that makes a difference. Whether it’s all-male or all-female or mixed isn’t the issue in my view. It’s what they think, what they do, and what they stand for.
I have been of the opinion that they pretty much all stood for the wrong thing. Stood for unions and not the kids. Stood for political correctness and stood for the wrong information being taught about American history. But I am going to revise and extend my remarks here. And this may not be so good for this particular member of the school board.
But I do now have a favorite. I didn’t like any of the school board members before but now I have a favorite member of the school board named Fran Bush. We’re going to try and get Fran Busch on the show to talk about this. She was at that rally yesterday. She represents district six. She put a Facebook post up a couple of days ago. This is a bit long.
But I want to kind of go through this because I think it is important. I think it shows at least one member of the school board here in Metro Nashville is looking at the facts and saying you know we need to make a change. Let me just read this post. It’s pretty long. I think it’s a thoughtful post by Fran Bush.
‘The board of education has received countless emails from parents regarding major concerns of virtual learning and cancellation of all extracurricular activities and sports. Parents and students feel they are left out of the decision of having options and senior student-athletes feel their chances of college scholarships are in serious jeopardy.
Parents and students definitely understand the importance of returning to school and to sports safely, and teachers also need to feel safe.’ OK. Here’s the next thing. ‘After Tuesday night, this last Tuesday board meeting, it was revealed after months of supposed planning in preparing schools for a safe return for those parents choosing in-person learning would send off students after Labor Day, the administration was actually not prepared.
As a result, the in-person learning option was pushed to after fall break.’ This is from Metro Nashville public schools. As I understand from principals school board member Fran Bush wrote on Facebook two days ago, ‘they are just now receiving information on the plans to reopen their schools.’ Board member Fran Bush continues.
‘Parents are upset and angry and have weighed in how bad virtual learning has been for their students. And it has hugely impacted their finances. Parents are having to quit jobs. Go down to part-time work. Hire tutors and parents have even taken on part-time jobs to send their kids to district private schools.
It is clear that teachers are doing an awesome job trying to keep their students engaged and teach them virtually. But there’s been a downside. Parents are seeing their students become disengaged now. Tired of being in front of the computer most of the day. Showing anxiety. Becoming depressed and stressed.
And not loving education anymore. Parents are devastated and feel like they don’t have a voice and have been given a false narrative by the administration’s parents’ opinions.’ So, let me just stop and say, these are words I could have said. And Fran Bush the board member from district six has said them on Facebook two days ago.
I have to say, I am impressed. Fran Bush continues, ‘extracurricular activities and sports have been stripped from Metro Nashville public school students even as they have safely conditioned all summer to prepare for fall sports. Coaches from volleyball, football, soccer, track, golf, and other activities outside were given safety guidelines for the conditioning. And as a result, we had no cases of COVID-19 reported amongst our coaches and our students.
Coaches now ask, why can’t we compete? The coaches, students, and parents have never been given an opportunity to weigh in on this decision. Nevertheless, the administration gave these two reasons why: Number one. If schools are not open extracurricular and sports can’t resume.
Number two. Doctor Alex Jahangir, orthopedics and fractures specialist, has recommended that Nashville public schools stay virtual and no sports should be allowed until the number of COVID-19 cases goes down in Davidson County. She continues, Fran Bush. She is looking at the facts here. She is reporting the facts.
Apparently the only member of the school board reporting the facts and being critical of the new director of schools Dr. Battle who apparently, I’d have to check and see. But I thought it was unanimous support of the board for Dr. Battle. I could be wrong. We’ll go back and check on that. Fran Bush, board member of Nashville public schools continues. And again, this is good stuff.
Here is the actual truth to reason number one if schools are not open then extracurricular and sports can’t resume. ‘We are in school because virtual learning counts as being in school. Our teachers are still teaching and food delivery is still being provided to our students by our bus drivers. We are still getting federal funding for our students even if it’s in a virtual space or in-person.
The TSSAA has put in writing that students’ and athletes’ abilities to still participate in sports even during virtual learning. But on the contrary, Metro Nashville public schools do not have a policy in place against virtual learning students’ participating in extracurricular activities and sports. In fact, students have been practicing since early July.
Student-athletes feel like they are being punished although they are following the rules and safety guidelines, yet their dreams have been shattered. Senior athletes who were going to be given major scholarships are now at risk of losing them due to not getting playtime and having the film. Parents of disadvantaged kids are extremely hurt knowing that if their kids don’t play, there may be no way out of their situation.’
Again, board member Fran Bush making excellent common sense by just pointing out the facts. It’s very interesting. We’ve got to get Fran Bush on here if she’ll come on to the program and talk more about this. And she goes on, here is the truth to reason number two.
This is no virtual sports should be allowed until COVID-19 cases go down in Davidson County. ‘The numbers have gone down in Davidson County. And parents are not comfortable with the reported metrics and aren’t convinced of the validity of the number reported. Parents aren’t saying there aren’t positive cases being reported but they are questioning why the decision sports while private schools in the district are playing sports and have the same reporting metrics. Shouldn’t this apply to all?’
Again, this is a very good point by Fran Bush. Metro Nashville public schools coaches’ presented a safe plan to the administration and yet the plans were not even considered. This is stunning stuff from board member Fran Bush criticizing the tone-deaf nature and the anti-factual nature of the decisions made by Metro Nashville public schools not to have extra-curricular sports.
Now in a letter to the mayor’s office sent by Dr. Jahangir dated July 29th, he asked the committee to commit to not holding extracurricular activities and sports until after Labor Day and only to resume when the key metrics to reopen Nashville has improved. Well, the key metrics have improved. Also, there is more here that she points out that (MBA) Montgomery Bell Academy is playing football.
They are in town. Why are they playing football and Metro Nashville schools aren’t? Instead of taking safety recommendations to reopen schools from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the school Superintendent Association, this administration has chosen to only listen to Dr. Jahangir’s, and this is my view, shut them all down recommendations.
Listen to the full second hour here:
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