Live from Music Row Friday 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 welcomed Metro Nashville Public School District 6 School Board member Fran Bush in studio to explain her goal of implementing common senses into the school board and holding people accountable.
Leahy: We are delighted to have in studio our new friend Amy Pate, who’s an Independent candidate running for the Metro Nashville Public School Board in the Eighth District. And our returning friend, the only thing member of the Metro Nashville Public School Board, the nine-member board with one sane person and eight left wing lunatics. But the sane person is here. She’s running for reelection in the Sixth District. Fran Bush. Good morning, Fran.
Bush: Good morning, everyone. I’m so happy to be back.
Leahy: So tell our listeners the geographic confines and the boundaries of the Sixth District.
Bush: My boundaries are Antioch and the Cambridge cluster. But because of all these wonderful redrawn lines, I’m more like Priest Lake, tip of Cambridge, I-24 going towards Priest Lake.
Leahy: You’re running as an Independent.
Bush: I am.
Leahy: Tell me why.
Bush: Because I’m an independent thinker. Haven’t I not proven that? (Laughter) My tenure on this board has been very interesting. To be the only board member that has made some type of difference for her kids. And I am just ready to get some like-minded people on this board.
Leahy: You want some help!
Bush: I need some help.
Leahy: When we have eight left-wing lunatics and one sane person, it gets a little lonesome out there, doesn’t it?
Bush: It does. It does. And that’s the reason why we have our Amy, who’s next to me, and others that we have identified. But you know what? We need more.
Leahy: So we have two other districts. And if you get sane people in those two other districts, you’ll have five left-wing lunatics and four sane people.
Do you think it will be easier to introduce common sense into Metro Nashville public schools if instead of eight lunatics and one sane person, you have four sane people and five lunatics?
Bush: Yes. So that’s the goal. The goal is to change the whole trajectory of all of this. So even if we are outnumbered, it doesn’t matter because strength comes in the voice.
That’s how I’ve been able to get things accomplished. So if you have four sane people, hopefully maybe five or six that come alone and maybe the light bulb turns on.
Leahy: So the other possibility is that sanity might possibly be transmissible. It might be contagious. (Laughter) So if you’re in a room and there there are five lunatics and four sane people, the sanity just might be contagious and you might get one of the lunatics to become sane. Is that the idea?
Bush: Yes. And that’s what happens on school boards. And I’ve learned that that everybody kind of tuggled between who at that time, where they want to be. They want to decide on what’s going to be popular or not. And that’s not the way it should be. Not the way it should.
Leahy: That’s actually quite a good point. Because if you look at group dynamics and if right now, you have eight lunatics, well, then everybody’s being enforced with their lunacy.
But if you got only five lunatics and four sane people, that fifth lunatic might not be that strong in their lunacy. (Laughter) They might be susceptible to logic and sanity.
Bush: I mean, they flip all the time, but unfortunately, they haven’t flipped enough. Because we’re in this horrible position that our billion dollars school budget looks like a low school budget.
Leahy: It’s a billion dollar budget. How well is that being spent currently?
Bush: Not well. Not well at all. Do you have these conversations with the Superintendent Adrienne Battles, and say, I have all these problems with how you’re misspending the money? Does she listen to you? Does she respond to you? Does she return your phone calls?
Bush: No, she doesn’t listen to me. The only way I get through to her logic of her being more logical is that I called her out or I’m able to identify all the mishaps that are happening. We have 10 executive principals that are leaving our district. 10. That’s unheard of.
Leahy: Why are they leaving?
Bush: Support. Lack of support.
Leahy: They feel like they’re out there on their own trying to educate the kids. But the school system is unresponsive to that.
Bush: Very much so.
Leahy: What is the school system currently responsive to?
Bush: You see I pause. No plans. No plans. Never have plans in place. I’ve always said when I got on this board that we are a reactive district, not a proactive district.
Leahy: One of the reactions that we’ve seen is a steady decline at every measurable level for decades in reading scores, writing scores, and mathematics scores at the elementary level. Now, Amy, you’ve got a student in elementary school. You have a student in middle school and a student in high school.
Leahy: The scores for two decades in Metro Nashville Public Schools have been steadily declining. What has the eight left-wing lunatics on the school board and Adrienne Battle done to improve reading, writing, and arithmetic?
Bush: Nothing besides not holding her accountable, there’s no accountability. I think Amy had mentioned something to that point.
Leahy: Amy Pate, you’ve got your ABCs. A is for accountability.
Pate: Yes, and absolute transparency. Which also goes along with accountability.
Leahy: The test scores are below abysmal. There are 95 counties in the state of Tennessee. The three lowest consistently are Shelby County, Madison County, and wait for it…Davidson county. What should the school board do to get those scores up?
Pate: Right. And it’s not because our kids don’t have potential. We have amazing kids. We have amazing teachers. My mom was one of them. I saw her put her blood, sweat, tears, and expertise and pour that into kids.
We have so much potential in Metro Nashville Public Schools, and a lot of it is squandered. I think to raise scores, we really have to get creative. We have to think out of the box. We have to think about maybe an extended school day.
Maybe my daughter participated in the summer program last summer and there were eight kids in her class with one teacher and I would ask the teacher, what are you guys working on?
I didn’t get a response. She never came home with any papers. Later she told me, oh yeah, that teacher. He was on his phone all the time.
Listen to the interview here:
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