Mary Pierce on the ASD Resolution

Nashville School Board Member Mary Pierce took to Facebook to discuss the passage of a resolution calling for a moratorium on school takeovers from the ASD. Her comments are below.

After getting a few confused questions about the ASD Resolution passed on Tuesday night, I’m posting the YouTube link of the meeting & this discussion begins around 1:53 mark. The initial stated purpose of the proposed resolution called for a moratorium of ASD takeovers based on the first year of TN Ready Scores. Given that the state has acknowledged TN Ready issues and excluded use of scores in teacher evaluations, this type of resolution made sense to me.

However, when I received our agenda packet, I read the resolution presented as one that went well beyond this call for a one-year moratorium. It is my opinion that it made subjective allegations against the ASD, referenced that MNPS *might* implement the same type of IZone as Shelby County Schools and asked for funding to do just that (yet our board has never discussed this), and generally was written with a tone of which I did not agree. And, as I stated Tuesday night, it must be owned that there was nothing preventing Shelby County from implementing an iZone prior to the external pressure applied by the presence of the ASD. I also find it ironic that the gains heralded by many about the SCS iZone are based on the very same TCAP/TVAAS scores deemed flawed by those same people when used on district schools that are not performing as well. But that’s a whole other topic.

I amended the resolution (below with the original and my tracked changes) which still requested a one year reprieve from ASD takeovers based on the first year TN Ready scores, and also asked for local education agencies (LEAs) to be included in the legislative committee summer study the TN DOE has announced for “ASD Clean-Up,” including plans to return the takeover schools back to the LEAs as soon as practicable. (Edit: Click here to see original post with picture)

This amended version failed in a 4:4 vote (Dr. Gentry had left for a community meeting) and then Mr. Pinkston’s original resolution passed 5:3 with Elissa Kim, Tyese Hunter and I voting against.

By the way, resolutions are simply statements of resolve and often a request–like this one–but they have no binding authority.


Frogge Announces Re-election Bid

MNPS School Board Member Amy Frogge today announced she will be running for re-election from her District 9 School Board seat.

Here’s the press release:

Amy Frogge, School Board Representative for District 9, today announced her campaign for re-election to the Metro Nashville School Board. First elected in 2012, Frogge represents the greater Bellevue area, Sylvan Park, Charlotte Park, West Meade, and Hillwood.

“Through all our successes and challenges, it’s been an honor
representing our district,” Frogge said. “Standing up for our schools is
demanding, but the tide is turning away from reckless experimentation
and toward implementing strategies that have been proven to help our
children learn and grow.”

Frogge has been an outspoken proponent of whole child education, early childhood intervention, and increased exposure to physical activity and the arts. At the same time, she has vehemently opposed excessive standardized testing; efforts to diminish our teachers’ ability to be effective; and educationally and fiscally dangerous tactics pushed by out-of-state special interest groups.

During her tenure on the School Board, Frogge has succeeded in
guaranteeing all students in pre-K through sixth grade have recess
daily, and she has worked with other board members and administrative leaders to decrease standardized testing. She has also helped ensure that every middle school child receives instruction in foreign language, supported expansion of MNPS’s model pre-K program, and advocated for adequate and equitable school funding.

In addition, Frogge has been instrumental in efforts to update the aging Hillwood High School and increase capacity at elementary schools and middle schools across District 9. Money has been allocated to pay for architectural plans for a new high school, and plans call for
renovations to various schools as well as a new elementary school in the Bellevue area.

Frogge was named a “Hero of Public Education” by former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch, Best Public School Defender by the Nashville Scene, and School Board Member of the Year by the national blog Schools Matter.  She also received the Distinguished Service to Our Community honor from Delta Kappa Gamma, a teacher organization, and the Robert Chandler Ambassador Award from the Nashville Adult Literacy Council.

“With a new director of schools to be chosen soon, Nashville has a
unique opportunity to make our school system the best urban district in the nation,” Frogge noted. “With a singular focus on serving our
children, we can do great things for our city’s future.”

Frogge is backed by an impressive coalition of civic leaders, teachers,
involved parents, and community members from across the political
spectrum. (See list attached.) Her campaign kickoff is scheduled for
Monday, March 28 at 5:30 p.m. at Thistle Stop Café, 5128 Charlotte Pike.
To contribute to Amy’s campaign, visit A complete website is in the works.

For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport

Pinkston v. Miller

The race for School Board in MNPS is starting early, as current Board Member Will Pinkston announced his re-election plans this morning and saw Jackson Miller confirm within hours that he would challenge Pinkston.

Jason Gonzales and Joey Garrison have the story for the Tennessean.

Pinkston outlined goals for a second term in his morning news release:

“Working with a new mayor and a new Metro Council, we have a profound opportunity to get the entire community rowing in the same direction for the first time in nearly a decade,” Pinkston said. “I’m optimistic about the upcoming director search and I’m excited to continue working for our students, parents, teachers and taxpayers.”

Miller plans to make a formal announcement tomorrow.

For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport

Report Card on MNPS

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce released its annual Report Card on Metro Schools yesterday. The group made 5 policy recommendations, including asking the MNPS School Board to wait until after the new Mayor is elected in August of 2015 before finalizing a Director of Schools.

Here are the recommendations from the Chamber press release:

  • The Nashville Chamber’s Education Report Card Committee should annually monitor the implementation of MNPS’ strategic plan through 2018.
  • MNPS’ pay supplement system should be reformed to financially reward teachers who assume a leadership position at their school.
  • MNPS should highlight issues which impede school-level autonomy to identify needed policy or statute changes.
  • The Metro Nashville Board of Education should take action to recommit itself to policy governance and professional development in order to establish steps toward developing consensus moving forward.
  • The school board should hire a new director of schools after the election of a new mayor in 2015.

Here’s how Report Card committee members explained the suggested delay on a Director choice until after the Mayor’s election:

“The director of schools reports to the Metro Nashville Board of Education,” said Committee Co-chair Brian Shaw. “But our committee felt it will be critically important for both the educational leadership and the political leadership of our community have strong working relationships, and the upcoming election for mayor and Metro Council is critical to that.”

“The school board has a tremendous amount of work to do to get to the point where they are ready to hire a new director, so we understand the need to go ahead and begin the search process soon,” said committee Co-chair Jackson Miller. “We believe knowing who our next mayor is before the finalists are identified eliminates a big question mark in the minds of the quality candidates we are trying to recruit.”

The Metro Nashville Education Association weighed-in on the Report Card, essentially agreeing with the core recommendations but adding that teacher input is needed going forward and that funding for teacher pay must be a priority. The MNEA agrees that a new Director should not be hired until the new mayor has been elected.

Here’s what MNEA had to say, from their press release:

  • In addition to the annual monitoring by the Chamber’s Report Card committee, the success of MNPS’ strategic plan, Education 2018, a plan to become the highest performing urban school district in the United States, will be dependent on the support of all of Nashville, especially its students, teachers, and leaders.
  • MNEA has long supported more pay for teachers who assume leadership responsibilities. However, its implementation will be contingent upon the district making it a funding priority.
  • Both nationally and internationally, highly success schools exist where there is teacher autonomy. Yet experience tells us that in the absence of an accountability structure and/or the will to create one, school-level, or principal autonomy, will lead to chaos and injustice.
  • In 2002 the MNPS Board of Education adopted policy governance. No member of the current board served during 2002, nor did any member vote to adopt this form of governance. The current elected board should either recommit to policy governance or choose a form of governance that best serves their needs, and most importantly, best serves the needs of Nashville’s students.
  • The hiring of the next MNPS Director of Schools should not occur without input from Nashville’s students, parents, teachers, and new mayor.


For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport