Anna Shepherd, the chairwoman of the Nashville school board, wrote an editorial in today’s Tennessean asking the State Board of Education to reject Rocketship’s appeal to the state.
I don’t want to discuss Rocketship in this post, but I do want to talk about her inaccuracies about the State Board of Education.
The nine members of State Board of Education are appointed by the Governor, approved by the General Assembly, and serve five year terms. Each member represents their congressional district. Nashville is part of the 5th congressional district (Jim Cooper’s seat).
In the editorial, Shepherd says,
Gov. Bill Haslam appoints members to the state board. The only state board member who nominally represents Nashville is Wendy Tucker, co-CEO of Project Renaissance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the number of charter schools in Tennessee.
Except that’s not the case. Wendy Tucker represents the 7th congressional district (Marsha Blackburn’s seat), which does not include Davidson County or Metro Nashville Public Schools. She’s not Nashville’s representative on the board. It’s right there on the state’s website if you google it.
Shepherd goes on to say that no board members live in Nashville.
Hopefully, the appointed members of the state board — none of whom live in Nashville — will see through Rocketship’s ruse and uphold the judgment of the local elected school board.
Again, not the case. Carolyn Pearre, the Vice Chair of the State Board of Education who is currently serving her 14th year on board, lives in Nashville, TN (according to the Tennessee Education Association) and represents the 5th congressional district.
Maybe it’s time for our school board to actually meet Nashville’s representative on the State Board. She’s only been there 14 years.
As chair of the Nashville school board, you need to know who actually represents you at the state level.
Blame the state board for a lot of things, but don’t blame them for not representing Nashville because you didn’t look it up.
Facts matter. Google helps.
It would be interesting to know how frequently the SBOE members reach out to the local officials in the districts they purport to represent, to make sure they have the greatest possible understanding of what’s happening on the ground and the impact their decisions have. My guess would be “never,” but it would still be interesting to know.
You might want to check your math. This is her tenth year as a representative not fourteenth. 2002-2007 then reappointed in 2011 for another five years.
But it is nice to know that the representative for Nashville along with seven other board members had the best interest of Nashville at heart when they denied Rocketship’s appeal the last time. It’s unfortunate that Wendy Tucker voted based on her allegiance to Karl Dean.
It will be very interesting to see if she votes for the current appeal and if so how she justifies voting yes for an operator that technically could be taken over by the ASD because of their performance.
Pearre was appointed in 2002 when the terms were still nine year terms. The length of terms were changed to 5 years in 2007, but her term was already set to expired in 2011 when she was reappointed by Governor Haslam in 2011. She has had no break in service since 2002. So my math is correct.
Thanks for reading.
How does this help the greater goal of creating schools (both public and charter) that promote student achievement? Rocketship hasn’t proven that they can do it. You’re the past tvaas cheerleader and yet you’re critical of the moment when it’s used to keep an unproven charter from opening. Your focus seems off.