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].”

Read More

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.”

Read More

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)

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.”

Read More

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.

Read More

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. 

Read More

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.”

Read More

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.

Read More

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.”

Read More

Metro School Board Member Fran Bush Says MNPS Continues to Inch Behind While Other Counties Open School and Sports

Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Metro School Board Member for District Six Fran Bush to give updates on the reopening of schools and sports in Nashville.

Read More

Leahy and Swain Take a Call from an MNPS Teaching Assistant Who Discusses a Teacher’s Typical School Day in Wake of the Coronavirus

Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Caller Shelly to talk about the new roles teachers’ face in the wake of the coronavirus forced virtual learning.

Read More

MNPS School Board Member Fran Bush Discusses Her Crusade to Get Kids Back in School and Playing Sports

Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed MNPS school board member of district six Fran Bush to discuss her call for kids to get back to in-person learning and sports.

Read More

Professional Educator Carrie Calls the Tennessee Star Report Concerned That Davidson County Is Pitting Taxpayers Against Teachers

On Friday’s 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 – hosts Leahy and Cunningham took a call from Carrie, a Davidson County elementary teacher who voiced her concern with Davidson County looking to inadvertently pit teachers against taxpayers by raising taxes to additionally fund public education.

Read More

Mike the Teacher Calls in to The Tennessee Star Report and Blasts Metro Nashville Public Schools’ Bloated Administration

On Wednesday’s 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 – Leahy took a call from Mike the Teacher, who expressed his concern for the bloated central district school administration offices in Metro Nashville Public Schools,…

Read More

Moderator of the Nashville Mayoral Debate Asks the Wrong Question About How to Improve Public Schools

On Tuesday’s 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 – Leahy talked about the recent mayoral debate in Nashville and how moderator Rhori Johnson asked a completely irrelevant question to both candidates who responded with non-answers and dodged the real issues facing public education in Davidson County schools.

Read More

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…

Read More

Metro Nashville Public Schools Paying ‘Educational Consultant’ Who Lacks 4-Year College Degree $80,000 in 2017-2018 Academic Year for Vague ‘Pilot Project’

Bruce Taylor

Metro Nashville Public Schools is paying an “educational consultant” who does not have a four year college degree $80,000 in a 12 month contract to provide the school system with a “pilot project” that has vague deliverables. Bruce D. Taylor, who apparently had a similar consulting contract with the Prince…

Read More

Metro Nashville Public Schools Budget Debacle: System ‘Unexpectedly’ Discovers $7.5 Million Shortfall

The Metro Nashville Public Schools admitted the school system has a $7.5 million budgeting shortfall in a blockbuster announcement released on Friday. “Teachers braced for impact after Metro Nashville Public Schools Director Dr. Shawn Joseph made the stunning admission that the district was set to lose $7.5 million in state…

Read More

JC Bowman Commentary: The Role of a School Board

Tennessee Star

Local school boards reflect the needs and aspirations of the communities as well as the interests and concerns of professional and nonprofessional employees. We believe non-partisan control is what is best for our communities. This is best ensured when educational policy is made by representatives vested in the community they live, and whose undivided attention and interests are devoted strictly to education of the children in that district. What we stress in a nutshell: Public education is a federal concern, a state responsibility, and a local operation.

Read More