Nashville Chamber of Commerce Could Push to Restructure the City’s Public Schools

Members of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce said they are displeased with the Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS), so much so the schools might require a dramatic restructuring — at least at the school board level. Axios reported this week that chamber members might prefer to do away with electing school board members. Instead, local government officials could appoint them.

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Metro Nashville School System Employees Complain COVID-19 Precautions Have Created Unreasonable Working Conditions

Certain Metro Nashville Public School employees have come forward with a petition to say that COVID-19 safety precautions and staffing shortages have burdened them and created more difficult working conditions. On their Facebook page, MNEA officials complained of inconsistent contact tracing, bus drivers making double and triple routes without additional pay, and support staff covering classes for $2 an hour.

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Metro Nashville Public Schools Partner with Vanderbilt University to Address ‘Educational Inequities’

Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) and Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College are partnering to address ‘educational inequities’ in the Nashville area.

According to the two groups, the project will have the goal of “producing actionable, innovative and scalable research to address racial and social inequities in pre-K-12 schools.”

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Report: Metro Nashville Public Schools Paid Consultants $11 Million to ‘Help Students Return to School,’ But Insider Says They Did ‘Almost Nothing’

Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) in January paid millions of dollars to Meharry Medical College Ventures (MMCV) to help students return to school, however, according to a person who worked in a city public school, the workers did “almost nothing.”

“It was boring, it was really boring and I said to this guy, ‘So this is what you do? You sit in this room for 8 hours?’ He said ‘No, occasionally I get up and walk the hall and at the end of the day go to one of the doors where the children leave’ and that was it,” an unidentified person told Fox 17 News.

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Comptroller Report Shows Tennessee Public Schools Spent an Average Nearly $10K per Pupil in 2019-20 School Year

New data from the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office of Research and Education Accountability shows Tennessee public schools spent an average of $9,753 per student during the 2019-20 school year.

The comptroller data shows the Franklin Special School District had the highest per-pupil spending in the state at $15,582.19. Oak Ridge Schools was second at $13,041.51 per pupil, and Metro Nashville Public Schools was third at $12,374.33 per student. Union County Public Schools had the lowest spending per pupil at $7,935.77.

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School Systems Across Tennessee Continue to Mandate Masks, Despite Threat from Speaker Cameron Sexton

Henry County Schools on Tuesday followed a trend of Tennessee schools that will require students and staff to wear a mask during the upcoming school year.

Metro Nashville Public Schools, Shelby County Schools, Hancock County, and Williamson County Schools have implemented similar measures.

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Metro Nashville School Bus Driver Says She Cannot Comply with COVID-19 Mask Mandate

A Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) bus driver has informed her employer she “cannot in good conscience comply” with the school system’s new COVID-19 mask mandate. That school bus driver, Brenda Mason, filed a letter Monday stating she disagrees with the mask policy and must object.

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Metro Nashville Public Schools Reinstate Mask Mandate, Board Member Speaks Out in Opposition

Metro Nashville Public Schools announced on Thursday that the school district will require all students and staff to wear a mask during the upcoming school year.

After Director Dr. Adrienne Battle recommended the move, members of the Metro Nashville Public School Board voted 8 to 1 in favor of implementing the new requirement.

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Tennessee Watchdog Nonprofit Wants Investigation into a Nashville Schools’ COVID Contractor

Meharry Medical College

The Beacon Center of Tennessee, a Nashville-based policy institute and fiscal watchdog, has added its voice to those calling for an investigation into Metro Nashville Public Schools’ (MNPS) contract with Meharry Medical College Ventures. 

The contract provided COVID-19 testing and other services, including a COVID website for the school district—one that cost about $1.8 million.

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Common Sense Conservative Carol Swain Talks NFL and Her New August Book Release, ‘Black Eye for America’

Carol Swain

Monday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Dr. Carol Swain to the newsmakers line to discuss the woke NFL, critical race theory, her new book and offered advice to MNPS.

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Parents, Educators Dispute over Critical Race Theory, Wit and Wisdom Curriculum at Metro Nashville Public Schools Board Meeting

Parents and educators debated over the Wit and Wisdom curriculum and critical race theory during the Metro Nashville Public Schools’ (MNPS) board meeting on Tuesday.

The room was filled with individuals, 60 of which had signed up to speak. Not all of the public commentary concerned the Wit and Wisdom curriculum or critical race theory – but the dialogue that did focus on those two topics was equally, deeply divided. A total of 10 individuals spoke in favor of critical race theory and the Wit and Wisdom curriculum; 3 spoke against it.

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Metro Nashville Public Schools Drops Mask Requirement for Fall Semester

Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) announced Tuesday that they won’t require students or faculty to wear masks for the upcoming school year.

MNPS said that these updated COVID protocols were “commonsense.” In the announcement, MNPS Director of Schools Adrienne Battle asserted that masks for the unvaccinated were strongly encouraged – especially for those with underlying health conditions or students under 12 years old. Otherwise, Battle said that MNPS will monitor case data in the event they need to adjust masking requirements.

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Metro Nashville Public School Leaders Hosted Panel on ‘Antiracist Teaching, Learning, and Leading in Classroom’

Screencap from the school board panel

On Saturday, several Metro Nashville Public School (MNPS) leaders were featured in a panel discussing anti-racist teaching, learning, and leading in the classroom. The Educators Cooperative (EDCO) hosted leaders Christiane Buggs, MNPS Board Chair, and Ashford Hughes, MNPS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Executive Officer as two of their four keynote panelists.

Buggs and Hughes were part of a larger EDCO conference, titled “Keeping What Works After Trying It All: A Celebration of Educator Brilliance.” Their panel specifically focused on a follow-up to the EDCO series, “Antiracist Teaching, Learning, and Leading from the Classroom.” The goal of their keynote panel on Saturday was to review educator progress on assumptions and practices that either build up or detract from culturally responsive classrooms. EDCO identified Buggs and Hughes as leaders in equitable education.

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Metro Nashville Public Schools Says It Won’t Implement Critical Race Theory

Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) informed The Tennessee Star that it doesn’t plan to implement critical race theory.

MNPS spokesperson Sean Braisted responded to inquiries from The Star about remarks from the district’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion executive officer, Ashford Hughes. We asked whether Hughes would implement any of the banned tenets in MNPS’s forthcoming “Equity Roadmap,” and if MNPS planned to implement critical race theory. This was Braisted’s response.

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Metro Nashville Public Schools’ Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Head Promotes Critical Race Theory Openly

Ashford Hughes Sr.

Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Executive Officer promoted critical race theory over Juneteenth weekend. The DEI head, Ashford Hughes, encouraged his followers to read “Critical Race Theory: the Key Writings That Formed the Movement.” Among the co-authors of the 1995 book is Kimberlé Crenshaw, a scholar that helped found and popularize critical race theory.

“This Juneteenth weekend I hope we can increase the debate around what Critical Race Theory actually IS by reading the scholarly works that have been written by leaders of the theory for over 30 plus years,” wrote Hughes. “This book should be on your shelf whether you oppose or support [it].”

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Metro Nashville Schools Allows Faculty to Implement ‘Gender Support Plan’ for Students Aged 16+ Without Parental Consent or Knowledge

Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) faculty may implement a “Gender Support Plan” for students aged 16 and over without parental consent – or knowledge.

The Tennessee Star obtained a copy of MNPS’s Gender Support Plan. After listing the student’s preferred name, if any, the plan includes a questionnaire asking if the parent or guardian is aware and in support of the student’s gender status. It also notes that Gender Support Plans involving students under the age of 16 must be consulted with Student Services. Additionally, the plan asks what considerations must be accounted for concerning student safety if parental or guardian support is low, and if it would be necessary to develop a “safety plan.”

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Governor Bill Lee’s Executive Order Last July Contradicts Claims to Sean Hannity That He’s Been Against Masking Kids

Governor Bill Lee claimed that he’s been against masking kids, but his executive order last July contradicts his remarks. Lee made that claim during a special panel interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity. Lee was featured alongside fellow Republican Governors Kristi Noem (South Dakota), Ron DeSantis (Florida), Kim Reynolds (Iowa), and Christopher Sununu (New Hampshire). Near the very end of Executive Order No. 55, Lee “strongly encouraged” schools to impose mask mandates.

Local education agencies, schools, and institutions of higher education are strongly encouraged to implement a policy requiring the use of face coverings by students and staff, with appropriate exemptions, and consistent with any policies issued by the Tennessee Department of Education. No policy, local order, or official may prohibit a student, teachers, school employee, or visitor from voluntarily wearing a face covering except to the extent that such face covering presents a safety or security risk. (emphasis added)

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MNPS Security Officers File Numerous Workplace Complaints

Security officers serving the Metro Nashville Public School (MNPS) system have been subject to a toxic work environment, according to the 14 complaints submitted to the human resources and employee relations departments. 

“The morale itself has been low. We had grievance upon grievance just sitting there. Not being answered. Nobody reached out. Nobody followed up,” Security Officer James Franklin Spencer III told WKRN.

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Metro Nashville Public Schools Board Chair Joins Campaign to Stop Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act

Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) Board of Education Chair Christiane Buggs announced her alliance with Save Nashville Now, a grassroots campaign to defeat the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act. It is unclear whether this alliance poses a breach of MNPS ethics policy. According to the Metro Nashville Board of Education’s Boardmanship Code of Ethics, board members shouldn’t represent special interests or partisan politics.

“[Board members] will represent at all times the entire school community and refuse to represent special interests or partisan politics,” states the policy.

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Lawsuit Against Metro Nashville Public Schools for Making 4th-Graders Pretend to be Slaves Dismissed by Federal Judge

On Monday, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) and one of their teachers for a lesson making 4th-graders pretend to be slaves. U.S. District Court Judge Aleta Trauger wrote in the ruling that the parents who filed the suit failed to state a claim in which relief may be granted.

The plaintiffs in the case Doe v. Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, et. al were the parents of a 4th grade Black student called John Doe for anonymity. The lesson plan was titled after the assigned reading “Let’s Make a Slave,” a graphic, violent speech purportedly given by an 18th-century white slave owner named Willie Lynch as advice on making slaves submissive.

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Metro Nashville Public Schools Will Continue Requiring Masks, After Nashville Officials Ended the Mask Mandate Last Week

Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) announced last week that they will continue enforcing their mask mandate indefinitely. The announcement came out Friday – the same day that Metro Nashville health officials ended the mask mandate.

The Tennessee Star reported on a recent court ruling that schools lacked the legal authority to impose a mask mandate contrary to state and their local government policy decisions. The Star inquired with MNPS about the relationship between this ruling and their decision to continue the mask mandate. MNPS spokesperson Sean Braisted told The Star that the case referenced doesn’t prevent a school district from enacting or enforcing mask requirements. The Star asked if this ruling would jeopardize MNPS’s qualified immunity if parents challenged the mask mandate in court. Braisted responded that MNPS wouldn’t comment on hypothetical legal challenges.

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Metro Nashville Public Schools Considering Paying Up to $500,000 for Additional Diversity Consultant

Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) may award up to $500,000 in a contract for a new diversity consultant. MNPS Board of Education is considering an addition for the school district’s Diversity Business Enterprise (DBE) Program.

The MNPS diversity consultant, if approved, would be Gwendolyn Sims. She runs the Sims Strategic Diversity Consultants, which specializes in DBEs as well as diversity programs and management for contractors and companies. She’s identified as “Gwendolyn Davis” on her website.

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Critical Race Theory in Our Backyard: Metro Nashville Public Schools’ ‘Equity Roadmap’

Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) may be the next leader in critical race theory (CRT) integration into classrooms. Their “Equity Roadmap” largely originated with MNPS’s newest Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Executive Officer, Ashford Hughes Sr. – a big CRT advocate and outspoken anti-racist.

Hughes served previously as the Chief DEI Officer for Nashville Mayor John Cooper from February 2018 until October 2019. During that time, Hughes submitted a report that was also called a “roadmap” to achieve DEI throughout all of Metro Nashville – the “DEI Roadmap.”

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Tennessee Supreme Court Agrees to Hear State’s School Voucher Appeal

The Tennessee Supreme Court has agreed to the state’s appeal on the constitutionality of its education savings account program (ESA). The pilot school voucher program has been tied up in a legal battle for all of 2020 after its passage by the General Assembly in 2019, thereby preventing any planned advancement of the program.

The program was previously ruled unconstitutional by Davidson County Chancery Court Judge Anne Martin. She assessed it would disproportionately impact two counties: Shelby County Schools (SCS) and Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS). Those districts reportedly contain about 90 percent of the state’s failing schools list. The Court of Appeals upheld Martin’s decision last September.

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After Around 25K Truant and 6K Transferred Students, Metro Nashville Public Schools Announces It Will Resume In-Person Learning

Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) announced Monday that phased in-person learning would begin this week. The news was presented at a press conference on Monday. MNPS Board Chair Christiane Buggs, MNPS Director Dr. Adrienne Battle, Meharry Medical College President and CEO Dr. James Hildreth, Meharry Medical College Senior Vice President for Institutional Advancement Patrick Johnson, and Nashville Mayor John Cooper were present.

According to the reopening plan, special needs students at Genesis Academy and High Roads School of Nashville will return to classrooms on Thursday. Then, preschoolers, K-4 students, and those with exceptional needs may return starting February 9. Grades 5 and 9 may return on February 18, followed by grades 6, 7, and 8 on February 25. The last to return will be the remainder of high schoolers – grades 10-12 – on March 3. 

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Mayor Cooper Claims Metro Schools May Open Up ‘Very Soon’

Mayor John Cooper claimed on Thursday that Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) may open up in the near future. He cited the downturn in local COVID-19 case metrics as the main indicator of this prediction, though he didn’t offer any specific timelines.

“[O]ur COVID metrics continue to improve,” stated Cooper. “We’re working with public health and MNPS to evaluate the timely and responsible return of an in-person learning option on a daily basis. Current case trends will allow MNPS to have an in-person option very soon.”

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Metro Nashville School Board Doesn’t Have a Set Date for Reopening Schools

Tuesday’s school board meeting made it clear that Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) doesn’t have an exact date for getting kids back in the classroom. As in past weeks, Metro Nashville Board of Public Education reiterated that reopening would be contingent on the level of community spread charted by the city.

In a director’s report presented by District 6 representative Fran Bush, it was revealed that the current level of community spread sits at 8. Bush repeated the same information found on the MNPS website regarding reopening: in order to gradually reopen, the measurement needs to be at 7 or below.

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Metro School Board Chair Vacationed in St. Lucia Shortly Before Closing Schools Due to COVID-19

Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) Board Chair Christiane Buggs caught parents’ ire for continuing to keep schools closed in light of her activities in recent months. Shortly before the ongoing school closure began in November, Buggs hosted an election watch party and then vacationed internationally.

Buggs defended the board’s initial decision in the fall to adjust all schools to virtual learning. She described it as a necessity, explaining how her own father was concurrently battling COVID-19. Buggs explained that he was infected while working at one of their middle schools. She stated that preventing the spread was paramount to in-person learning, which she described as a “convenience.”

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Metro Nashville Schools Sending All Students to Distance-Learning After Thanksgiving

Citing the “the alarming increase in the spread of COVID-19,” Metro Nashville Public Schools will move all students to distance-learning after the Thanksgiving break.

The district on Monday evening tweeted, “Metro Schools is returning to all-virtual learning following the Thanksgiving break on November 30 through the end of the semester, December 17.”

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Catholic Charities Receives $7M State Grant to Expand Services into Middle Tennessee Counties, But Model May Duplicate Liberal Advocacy Policies from Nashville

Catholic Charities of Tennessee is receiving $7.3 million in state grant funds to expand social services to 10 Middle Tennessee counties, but part of the organization’s model is based on liberal services performed in Nashville.

The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) said it is giving $50 in grants to 23 organizations and educational entities through its Two Generation (2Gen) approach.

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Metro School Board Member and Plaintiff Fran Bush Says Constitutional Lawsuit Against Former Superintendent Dr. Shawn Joseph is Still Pending

The lawsuit against former Metro Nashville Public Schools superintendent Dr. Shawn Joseph and the Metro government is still pending, one of the plaintiffs, a school board member, says.

Fran Bush is one of three MNPS school board members who are suing Joseph and the Metro government. The other plaintiffs are board members Jill Speering and Amy Frogge.

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Truancy Letters Sent to Parents of Virtual Learners Should Be ‘Thrown in the Trash,’ Metro Nashville School Board Member Fran Bush Says

Metro Nashville reportedly sent nearly 6,000 truancy letters to the parents of students doing virtual learning, and one school board member says that is wrong and the letters should be “thrown in the trash.”

School Board member Fran Bush made the comment to The Tennessee Star on Sunday.

MNPS sent the truancy letters because of poor student attendance in distance learning, NewsChannel 5 said. The letters threaten legal action against parents or guardians of students who have five or more unexcused absences.

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Leahy on The Tennessee Star Report Tuesday Morning: MNPS District Six School Board Member Posts Truth to Facebook About Schools Reopening and Sports Resuming

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report host Michael Patrick Leahy discussed a recent Facebook post by school board member Fran Bush criticizing Metro Public school’s refusal to resume in-person learning and sports.

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Parent Says Nashville Public Schools Teach His Daughter that White People Are Bad

A parent who said his daughter attends the Metro Nashville Public Schools tweeted that an English lesson plan tells her that White people are appalling racists.

That man, who uses the name GrantB911 on Twitter, also said he’s pulling his second grade daughter out of the public school system immediately.

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Metro Councilman Steve Glover Discusses Budget Priorities and Public vs Charter Schools

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 – host Leahy was joined in studio with metro councilman, with Steve Glover and all-star panelist Crom Carmichael.

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McGavock High School Aviation Teacher and His Program Compete for Share of $1M Award from Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Program

  Derek Rowe, a Nashville high school aviation maintenance teacher, is one of 50 educators and teacher-teams who were named semifinalists of the 2019 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence, according to a press release. Rowe, a teacher at McGavock High School in Nashville, and his skilled…

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Superintendent Should Report to Nashville’s Mayor, Carol Swain Tells WSMV, But Education Expert Says State Requires School Boards to Oversee Directors

  WSMV polled the four major Nashville mayoral candidates on whether the Metro Nashville Public Schools superintendent should report to the mayor instead of the school board, and only one said “Yes.” That candidate was Dr. Carol Swain. WSMV’s story is here. The Metro Nashville mayoral candidates who were polled…

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More Than 900 Metro Nashville Teachers Stage Second Consecutive Sick Out Day to Protest Three Percent Raise

  Hundreds of Metro Nashville teachers on Monday called out sick for the second day in a row to protest the size of their promised pay increase. WKRN reported that at least 906 teachers were absent Monday. A Metro Nashville Public Schools official told the station that reasons included personal…

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Over 1,400 Metro Nashville Teachers, Staff Scoff at Proposed Three Percent Raise, Call Out Sick Friday

More than 1,400 Metro Nashville Public Schools teachers and school staff scoffed at receiving a 3 percent pay raise and called out sick Friday, WKRN said. A total of 1,093 teachers and over 400 staff members from at least 18 schools called out. McGavock High School was one of the hardest…

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Metro Nashville Public School Board Member Will Pinkston Resigns as Vote on Terminating Director Shawn Joseph Appears Imminent

Sharing his letter of resignation with the public via Twitter, Metro Nashville Public School Board member Will Pinkston called out the body on which he serves “impossibly inept,” just as another school board member has announced plans to make a motion to terminate School Director Dr. Shawn Joseph. Elected to…

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JC Bowman Commentary: Student Discipline Is Out of Control

It would be awesome if every educator had a positive and supportive working environment where they could thrive personally and professionally, and where they were free to exercise their expertise and explore the full limits of their talents.

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Metro Nashville Public School Board Member Will Pinkston Reportedly Calls People ‘Nitwits’

Metro Nashville Public School board member Will Pinkston reportedly thinks that people who complain to him about the latest goings-on at the school system are “nitwits.” This, according to the Nashville-based NewsChannel 5, which publicized a series of tweets Pinkston recently released. “An email sent to Metro School Board members…

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JC Bowman Commentary: Let the Committee Decide

How did a system designed to provide government of, by, and for the people devolve into a system in which bureaucrats unaccountable to voters produce masses of law that was never voted on by an elected official?

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Metro Nashville Schools Director Ducks Questions on Sexual Harassment And His Handling of Complaints

Shawn Joseph

Metro Nashville Schools’ director is ducking questions on alleged widespread sexual harassment — and coverups — in his district, news outlets are reporting. NewsChannel 5 reported last week that school director Dr. Shawn Joseph tried to run from their reporter who wanted an interview on the topic and his role…

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Gubernatorial Candidates Karl Dean (D) and Randy Boyd (R) Both Invested in La Raza Affiliate Conexion Americas

Randy Boyd, Karl Dean

Gubernatorial candidates Karl Dean and Randy Boyd both considered Renata Soto’s Conexion Americas organization a worthy investment. Democrat Karl Dean used the government’s money while mega-millionaire Republican Randy Boyd used his personal wealth to help Conexion’s legal and illegal alien clients.

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Metro Nashville Faces Reality of Heavy Borrowing in $34 Million Revenue Shortfall

John Cooper

Surprise! Nashville is growing skyscrapers and other developments at an ever-increasing rate yet faces a $34 million revenue shortfall. Councilman-at-large John Cooper, who is on Metro’s Budget and Finance Committee says Nashville’s revenue continues to grow faster than most cities, to the tune of a couple billion dollars, NewsChannel 5…

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Council on Islamic Education Worked with Textbook Publishers, Educational Organizations and Teachers to Erase ‘Miconceptions’

Public school students across the country are receiving instruction about Islam from proselytizing Muslim speakers using the excuse of “correcting misconceptions” even though the Council on Islamic Education (CIE), worked for years with textbook publishers, provided teacher training and supplemental classroom resources for teaching about Islam consistent with state social…

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