Live from Music Row, 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 Leahy welcomed The Tennessee Star education reporter TC Weber in studio to comment upon Bill Lee’s 2023 priorities absent of education and questions the whereabouts of Penny Schwinn.
Leahy: Right now, in studio, the best education reporter in Middle Tennessee, Mr. TC Weber. Good morning, TC.
Weber: Good morning. A legend in my own mind.
Leahy: I know. You write for The Tennessee Star. We brought you in because nobody knows more about what’s going on in Metro Nashville public schools, the real truth than you do. You’ve had your own blog, Dad Gone Wild, for a while.
Weber: For about 10 years now.
Leahy: We’ve always admired that, a blog. And now we’ve asked you to write for us about education issues, mostly about Metro Nashville Public Schools. Now, I have a question for you.
Weber: Sure, ask away.
Leahy: Governor Bill Lee had his inauguration for the beginning of his second term. He gave his second inaugural address on Saturday in Nashville. He highlighted, I was surprised by this, but maybe you weren’t, five specific areas he intends to focus on during his second term as governor. I mentioned this on air yesterday. Here are the five items. And then I have a question for you.
Here are five areas of focus. Number one, transportation. Number two, energy. Number three, natural resource conservation. Number four, environmental preservation. And number five, protecting children in the state’s foster care through the adoption process.
Now, TC, I saw this, and I thought, wait, where is education on this list of Bill Lee’s priorities? You’re our education guy. What’s the answer to that question?
Weber: I don’t think education is a priority this year. I think he feels like he’s done everything possible in education, and now it’s just time to let them all sort it out. And we heard this about three or four months ago that he was looking to shift over away from education, that with the change of TISA, the literacy law that came down a couple of years ago, he felt that education was set and now he needed to go work on transportation.
I think you should keep in mind that the majority of what Governor Lee has done in legislation over the last several years is because he’s looking at the next step up. Alright?
He wants to make sure he’s got all the boxes checked so he can make a legitimate run for, or in his eyes; I should say, a legitimate run for president. I’m fond of saying he has about as much chance of being president as I do.
Leahy: I think his chances might be better TC. (Laughs)
Weber: I don’t know who’s whispering in his ear and telling him he’d be great because he brings nothing to the table.
Leahy: Are you serious that Governor Bill Lee thinks he could be president?
Weber: Yes. I hear it all the time. And we would ask about education issues, and they would say, well, he thinks he’s setting himself up for a run for president. And I would think, who is whispering in his ear?
Leahy: Does he want to run for president of the Rotary Club?
Weber: He might have a better chance of being elected there because his policies are all style and no substance. And his commissioner of education likes to get out there and brag about the things they’ve accomplished.
Leahy: Penny Schwinn.
Weber: She’s like a milk carton kid. You can’t find her anywhere.
Leahy: You can’t even find her anywhere. She was at the inauguration, you say, right?
Weber: I think I saw her back about 18-19 rows with her husband, which is even a rare sighting. I guess I shouldn’t get into TMZ territory, (Leahy laughs), but the two of them are seldom seemed together.
She did post on social media a picture of them. It was interesting to me that there were no pictures of her and the governor, or the governor and his wife. If you look at the last time he did a state of speech, she was the head cheerleader, clapping and jumping up and down on the sidelines. And where was she?
Leahy: I’m hearing from the Department of Education here in Tennessee that she’s nowhere to be found, not showing up for meetings, and nobody knows where she is or what she’s doing. She’s looking for her next job.
Weber: I can tell you more about that kind of stuff in a minute.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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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.
Photo “TC Weber” by Thomas “TC” Weber for MNPS District 2 School Board. Photo “Bill Lee” by Gov. Bill Lee. Photo “Penny Schwinn” by Tennessee Department of Education. Background Photo “Classroom” by Wokandapix.