Michael Patrick Leahy and Crom Carmichael Discuss the Battle of Metro Schools and the Tennessee Board of Education

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Live from Music Row Wednesday 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 Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio

At the end of the third hour, Leahy and Carmichael discuss the battle between Metro schools and the state board of education in the survival of charter schools. Carmichael added that success for many lower-income and minority families depends on these charter schools like KIPP that do a wonderful job.

Leahy: 27 days until the elections. Crom, there is a story. And I know you’re very interested in charter schools. There’s a story at WPLN. This battle between metro schools and the state board of education has ended in a third KIPP Nashville school and the fifth charter overall being authorized against the district’s wishes. Some local board members say this will hurt the district more than ever given the pandemic. But KIPP families in Southeast Nashville say the school is desperately needed.

Carmichael: You have the KIPP academies and the LEAD Academy is and some of the other charter schools do a great job for lower-income families. Especially Black and Hispanic children in Nashville. They do a wonderful job. They do a wonderful job. and because of that our school board is against it because our school board is a bunch of union cronies.

Leahy: With the exception of our friend Fran Bush.

Carmichael: The board is dominated by union cronies.

Leahy: We’re going to try a little experiment here. We have a clip but we didn’t have time to send it to our producer. We’re just going to Crom, you’re going to play it on your phone and we’ll see if it comes to your microphone.

(Joe Biden clip plays)

Leahy: That was Joe Biden. He doesn’t like charter schools. He has said they’ll be gone if he’s president.

Carmichael: So if you are a Black person and you want your children to get a quality education and if you vote for Joe Biden you are voting for your last for the last hope of being able to have a choice in schools. Joe Biden is an absolute cronies of the unions. In fact, he wants to unionize just about every job he can possibly unionize. and he’ll destroy. he says he wants to do away with the right to work laws in 28 states that have them. by the way you have to pack the court first. Yeah, that’s what he’ll do.

Leahy: He won’t tell you that and Chris Wallace won’t ask him that question in a debate.

Carmichael: But Biden is very much on the record that he stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the teacher’s unions and the thugs. Not the teachers. The thugs who run the unions. You know, I liken the teachers’ unions to the Communist Chinese Party. You have the Communist Chinese Party, which is a very small cadre of people who rule and who dominate the Chinese people. Chinese people are good people.

The teachers are good people. the thugs who run the unions are like the Communist Chinese Party. And they don’t like any competition. They look out for their own personal interests. And they do not have the children’s education’s at heart. If they did then they would be open to competition. They would be open to giving low-income mothers and fathers school choice for their kids. And they don’t. And here in Nashville, it’s unfortunate. And that’s something I think that the mayor and the council could have a say in. And in fact, if the voters repeal the 34 percent tax increase

Leahy: As they should legally have the right to vote on.

They have had the right to vote on it and hopefully, they’ll get the right to vote. And if the voters in choose to eliminate that 34 percent tax then the mayor and the council will have no choice but to get rid of a lot of the bureaucracy and waste that’s over on Bransford Avenue. I mean what they would do is because the way it works here, they would simply cut the school budget by x amount. Right? And then the school board and the director of schools would have less money. to when

Carmichael: That would be a very interesting thing to see how the school board would work because then it would be front and center. Because right now for example in Nashville in a classroom of 20 students the total budget and this does, by the way, does not include capital budget at all. This is just the operating budget for 20 children there are $250,000 spent. How much does the teacher in that classroom get maybe $60,000?

So gives you an idea of how much money is spent in places other than the classroom. Now compare that to Thales Academy with a $5,300 tuition. And it covers all of the operating costs at $5,300. We have $12,000. We can’t seem to cover operating costs. and we do a terrible job of educating. So, people who say well you just need to spend more money, that’s like saying I’m going to pay a head football coach who’s been 0 and 11 for three years in a row I’m going to double his salary and expect him to become a winner. I’m sorry, it won’t happen.

Leahy: Not going to happen at all.

Carmichael: It’s I think it’s appropriate. You know just ask the people of Texas A&M.

Leahy: That’s funny.

Carmichael: He may be the most overpaid guy in the country. But this battle and the way that this ended up for Nashville is good. and I hope we see more and more charter schools. I’m a big big fan of KIPP Academy. A big fan of LEADS. And there are some wonderful charter schools. Even our magnet schools in Nashville, they do a good job. but then the magnet schools are given a lot of autonomy that the other schools are not given.

And the other schools are kind of forced to follow a form of education that if that obviously doesn’t work. when I was doing junior achievement, I taught at Stratford High School for two years, and the principal at Stratford High School they had 1500 students. Okay, so that’s a budget of 1500 back in those days was probably eight thousand.

Leahy: That was real money.

Carmichael: That’s I mean, it was a lot of money but 8,000 times 1500 is the total amount of money that he had at his discretion to spend was about $35,000.

Leahy: He had very little discretionary ability.

Carmichael: $20 a student was at his discretion.

Leahy: Not not not a good plan for success.

Listen to the full third hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. 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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