VIDEO: “CLEARLY A VIOLATION OF THE STATE CONSTITUTION.” – Stewart & Mitchell To Schwinn

Rep. Mike Stewart & Rep. Bo Mitchell confront Gov. Bill Lee Tennessee Department of Education commish Penny Schwinn about a no-bid $2 MILLION ClassWallet contract that exceeds the total💰allocated for his voucher program, echoing controversy from her past.

Here’s more on Class Wallet: http://www.mommabears.org/blog/whos-in-your-wallet

The extra funding came from a Lamar Alexander-era program intended for teacher bonuses. Yes, taking from teachers to pay for the voucher program.

What’s Bob Corker Up To?

Is Former TN GOP Senator Bob Corker getting back into politics in his hometown? Has he decided to throw his weight behind an effort to eliminate neighborhood schools in Chattanooga?

Corker was recently spotted leaving a meeting with well-known radical right-wing political consultant and sole staffer for a new anti-public education group, the  ‘Good Government Coalition’, which is aiming to eradicate local public schools in Hamilton County.


The group recently boasted that an effort to raise $200k for upcoming school board races was going as planned.

Is the former Senator leveraging his personal fortune to install a right-wing majority on the Hamilton County School Board?
What’s Bob Corker up to?

VIDEO: THE TENNESSEE ANTI-LUNCH SHAMING ACT

Rep. John Ray Clemmons pushes his bill to stop schools from punishing kids to force parents to pay meal debt.

GOP Reps Terri Lynn Weaver & Jerry Sexton struggle with it, while Rep Ragan wants to make meal debt a child abuse/DCS issue.

PODCAST: A Charter School In California Shows What Can Happen

A new WNYC podcast episode discusses the concerns brought up in charter commission hearing this week.

It centers on Marin County, California, where a new charter school took resources from a public school, leaving many (black) kids behind and segregating the schools.

If you have the time, it’s a worthwhile listen— not that it will change the hearts of pr0 “school choice” legislators, but it offers some perspective that the legislators pushing back against what they call “choice” are actually thinking about the kids left behind – who this podcast gives voice to – not trying to hold the kids they’re trying to help back.

Unfortunately at the end of the day education funding is a zero-sum game, which is why adding money to the pot – as Democratic legislators called for this week – is really the best way to help all our kids.

HIGHLIGHTS: TN STATE CHARTER SCHOOL COMMISSION CANDIDATES

WATCH Rep. Jerry Sexton – who said “we all make mistakes” about a child sex abuser and a KKK Grand Wizard – press candidates to ignore potential harm caused to cash-strapped public schools.

“That 💰 belongs to those parents, not traditional public schools.”

The GOP disdain for public schools on full display. This logic will further devastate them. www.TNHoller.com

VIDEO: GOP Rep. Rips “BRIBES & THREATS” That Got Lee’s Vouchers Passed

REPUBLICAN REP. Kent Calfee says “There’s a bill to repeal VOUCHERS… because there was every kind of DIRTY TRICK IN THE BOOK — BRIBES, THREATS, everything else to get it passed.”

Calfee lets loose on how Disgraced former Speaker Glen Casada & Gov Bill Lee got Lee’s public school-harming vouchers through.🔥

Commish Rolfe Points Finger At Gov. Lee & Mcwhorter For Vouchers Slush Fund

Recently we learned a $4 MILLION line item found its way into the budget, seemingly intended for grant projects in rural communities to grease the skids for Governor Lee’s public school-harming vouchers, which would steer public money to private schools.

The legislation may have been the brainchild of Speaker Glen Casada, who has since stepped down in disgrace, but it clearly also has the fingerprints of Governor Lee and his Finance Dept. chief Stuart Mcwhorter all over it.

There have been reports that 60 specific projects were promised to rural legislators to get their votes for the bill, which barely passed the house, but Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe says he has seen no such list, and points the finger SQUARELY at Lee and Mcwhorter.

WATCH BELOW as Rolfe says “WE DID NOT PROPOSE THAT”, distancing himself from the money at the budget hearing last week. (Rep. Martin Daniel has said there will be no investigation into this. Shocker!)

REPORT: Tennessee Gets An “F” In School Funding

This post was first seen on the Tennessee Education Report. For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport

That’s the grade Tennessee gets from the Education Law Center’s latest report on school funding in the United States. To be clear, Tennessee earned an F in both funding level and funding effort. We earned a C in distribution of the paltry sum our state dedicates to schools.

Here’s how Education Law Center defines those terms:

  • Funding Level – the cost-adjusted, per-pupil revenue from state and local sources
  • Funding Distribution – the extent to which additional funds are distributed to school districts with high levels of student poverty
  • Funding Effort – the level of investment in K-12 public education as a percentage of state wealth (GDP) allocated to maintain and support the state school system

The report notes that Tennessee is 43rd in the nation in overall funding level and 47th in effort. The effort category is of particular interest because it indicates that Tennessee has significant room for improvement in terms of funding level. That is, there are untapped resources Tennessee is NOT using to fund schools.

Shorter: Funding schools is NOT a key policy priority in Tennessee.

Additional evidence for this can be found in graphics shared by Think Tennessee earlier this year:

Tennessee is (and has been) at or near the bottom in school funding and even in funding effort. That’s not changing. Instead, Governor Lee and his policy acolytes are diverting education dollars to voucher schemes and charter schools.

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

Williamson GOP on Climate Change: Never too hot for tin-foil hats!

Finally! The Williamson County Republican Party, party of deposed-House Speaker Glen Casada and Senator Marsha Blackburn , weighed in on climate change yesterday, and on the hottest October day on record to boot.

Nashville Severe Weather noted yesterday was the area’s hottest day on record.

Wait.

Before we get too hopeful for rationality, let’s review what the local GOP said. An email sent to subscribers began with a request for right-wingers to step up and run for Williamson County School Board — a non-partisan race — in 2020.

According to the Grand Ole Party, it’s necessary for good conservatives to come to the aid of their party and their county because all those poor underpaid public school teachers are bent on indoctrinating children with wild theories about climate change and oh, showing respect for people who aren’t white.

“The sad reality is that like Climate Change activist Greta Thunberg, students all over the country have become products of indoctrination and fear in the public school system from a very young age,” said the post. (Psst: Which country? Greta is from Sweden.)

Screen shot of email sent by Williamson County GOP to subscribers.

The post added “certain staff and educators” are forcing white privilege training on teachers in the county school system.

These claims aren’t new. Earlier this year, the Williamson GOP made news when they went bonkers about a training on inclusion in schools. 

Nor is this the party’s first time at interjecting partisan politics into the local school elections. In 2014, GOP donor Kent Davis advised Republican candidates for the — again, for the cheap seats: non-partisan — school board on strategies for ousting then Director of Schools Mike Looney, a frequent target of the right. In an email outlining his strategy, Davis included Casada and Susan Curlee, who was elected to the board that year. (Curlee has since moved to Lawrence County, where she chairs the Lawrence County Republican Party.)

In 2015, the Williamson board made the Atlantic Monthly in a story citing then-board member Dr. Beth Burgos, also on the 2014 Davis email cited above, and her campaign to remove alleged “Islamic indoctrination” from the schools.

So, the fear of indoctrination and a bent for injecting partisan politics into what is — and should be — non-partisan races isn’t surprising.

But, Greta is still right.

COLUMBIA STATE STUDENT: “Doesn’t Matter If Senator Roberts Was Joking About Higher Ed, His Words Matter”

Watch Columbia State student Grant Marsh respond to Senator Kerry Roberts, who called for higher education to be removed to “save America” in a rage last week in response to testimony he didn’t like at the Tennessee abortion ban hearings.

He has since told NBC News he was “joking”, but Marsh says that doesn’t matter – his words carry weight, and he also says Roberts is wrong, and invites him to spend the day with him to prove it.