Pinkston’s Parting Words

Nashville School Board member Will Pinkston announced his pending resignation earlier this month and will soon leave his position on the board. He’s offered some thoughts as he’s heading out and you can read (then listen) to his parting message here:

Friends: As you’ve likely heard, I’m stepping down soon from the Nashville School Board after nearly seven years of public service. I made the decision earlier this year and explained the rationale in my resignation letter. I’m pushing my departure date into the summer (versus this month, as originally planned) to tie off some loose ends.

I won’t rehash my reasons for leaving in this email. But if you want more information about the state of the school board, listen to my “exit interview” on the Nashville Sounding Board podcast — recorded a few days after I announced my plan to leave. The first few minutes of the podcast are pleasantries and chit-chat. But the rest of it is a spirited discussion about Metro Nashville Public Schools and major issues, including (with time marks):

  • Employee pay and HR (12m01s & 43m40s)
  • Budget and revenue (14m40s & 49m40s)
  • School board and superintendent evaluation (18m10s & 28m20s)
  • Priority schools and charter schools (21m20s & 46m50s)
  • Standardized testing and English learners (23m05s)
  • Race and equity in funding (26m15s & 29m40s)
  • Future of the school board (40m50s)

Nashville can, and should, have more of these kinds of thoughtful conversations to help inform next steps at MNPS. I appreciate the Nashville Sounding Board’s Benjamin Eagles for creating a good platform for civic discourse.

Meanwhile: Even though I’ll be departing the boardroom, I’m not leaving the public-education arena. On the heels of my Race to the Bottom project, I’ve been thinking about a new campaign to better explain how charter schools bilk Tennessee taxpayers and our chronically underfunded school systems. More on that another day.

Finally, as I said on the podcast: Other than being a husband and a father, serving Nashville’s 86,000 students has been the most important thing I’ve done in life. Over the years, I’ve appreciated the support of countless students, parents, teachers, taxpayers, and friends. I’ve always believed that public education is our greatest democratic institution. With this in mind, I know MNPS won’t just survive — it will thrive. Thanks, and onward.

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2 thoughts on “Pinkston’s Parting Words

  1. At some point soon we need to look at the demand side of this economic equation of education choice. Not one child is forced to attend a Charter School. Hence, not one Charter School would exist if not for parental consumer demand. Who am I to tell my neighbors which school their kids should attend? Meanwhile, many local parochial schools are in high demand and if you think your tax dollars can’t flow to faith based education institutions you are simply wrong. I personally utilized government paid grants to attend The University Of Detroit-Mercy, a faith based college. Will Pinkston should be appreciated for his service and passion, but he, and his focus, are simply on the wrong side of the equation.

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