TN STUDENTS HELP KILL BOOK BAN & LIBRARIAN CRIMINALIZATION BILL

HAYES RIPS GOP “GROOMING” HYPOCRISY

MUMPOWER WON’T TALK ABOUT GETTING SUED BY MASON

TN Republicans (Cepicky, Ragan) Go To Bat For Hitting Kids 😳

INTERVIEW: TN Ed Commish Penny Schwinn on the Charter Schools Flood & Funding Formula

After a press conference to introduce the new plan to overhaul how public education is funded in Tennessee, Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn sat down with us for 5 minutes to talk to us about the concerns many are having that Lee’s true intentions are to privatize the public education system by flooding Tennessee with charter schools and allowing public dollars to flow to the private entities that run them.

Here’s Holler editor Justin Kanew’s op-ed in the Tennessean about that “Hillsdale Heist” this week.

Our question was simple: Can Governor Lee promise that the funding overhaul paired with the state charter approval board overriding local school board decisions about charter schools will not lead to LESS funding for traditional public schools in the long run?

They very clearly are making no guarantees about this. Governor Lee abruptly left the press conference when we asked, instead repeating their line that “charter schools are public schools”, which they are not. Charter schools are only public in that they receive public dollars, but just because something receives public dollars doesn’t make it a public entity – just ask every single defense department contractor.

This is an issue that will keep coming up as Governor Lee continues to use it as an excuse to funnel public dollars to the private, ideologically-driven (and yes religiously-driven) entities he is inviting to bring HUNDREDS of charters to Tennessee.

We have been trying to get Lee and Schwinn to talk to us about this. To her credit, Schwinn finally did sit down with us. Below is that conversation in its entirety – but the basic gist is Schwinn is insistent the new funding formula is separate from the charter school influx, and the Lee administration is adamant that charter schools are public schools, and therefore they do not intend to put a cap on how much funding can flow to them, or how many students can leave public schools to go there (with the “student based funding formula” helping the money follow them).

Many advocates feel it all amounts to a death knell for Tennessee public schools, which are already towards the bottom of the country both in terms of performance and funding.

A 2019 U.S. Department of Education study found that there was no meaningful difference between the eighth graders in charter schools and public schools when it came to math or English proficiency, as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, often called “the nation’s report card.”

If you agree that the privatization/voucherization of our public education system is not in the best interest of ALL of our kids, the time to speak up against this is now.

Here’s our full conversation with TN Ed Dept Commissioner Penny Schwinn:

EXPLAINED: GOV. LEE’S “STUDENT-BASED FUNDING FORMULA” MONEY GRAB

LEE’S NEW PUBLIC SCHOOL MONEY GRAB COMES INTO VIEW

 For months Governor Lee has been touting his new “STUDENT BASED FUNDING FORMULA” which he says will revolutionize how Tennessee funds our public schools. The plan has been very short on details by design, but after the press conference he gave yesterday we now have enough clues to understand what’s really going on.
Previously, Governor Lee did all he could to get private school vouchers passed, even reportedly offering military promotions as bribes to squeak it through the house. Unfortunately for him, the courts held up his unconstitutional plan (SO FAR).Now, instead of steering public dollars to private schools, Lee has begun a partnership with HILLSDALE COLLEGE, a private Christian school in MICHIGAN with close ties to BETSY DEVOS led by Larry Arnn, who Trump appointed to lead his history-whitewashing “1776 Commission” in response to the 1619 Project.

In the State of the State, Lee talked about bringing in Hillsdale to teach our kids to be “informed patriots”, by which he means he wants to fill their heads with propaganda and avoid them learning the the harsh truths of our past.

What Lee didn’t mention in his speech was the fact that he has apparently asked Hillsadale to bring 50-100 CHARTER SCHOOLS to Tennessee, which Arnn mentioned at a meeting in Franklin last September in AUDIO WE UNCOVERED THIS WEEK:

“Governor Lee wanted 100 charter schools in TN.”

When asked about it at a press conference yesterday, Lee did not deny it. He instead leaned into it, saying CHARTER SCHOOLS are a big part of his plan, and repeatedly making a point to call them “PUBLIC” schools – by which he means they’ll be taking our PUBLIC SCHOOL funds.

So instead of strengthening our public schools and funding them properly, Lee is telling us he’s willing to pour another $1 BILLION into our schools BUT ONLY IF WE ADOPT HIS STUDENT-LED FUNDING PROGRAM – which would mean those dollars would follow kids to Charter schools like these Hillsdale schools.

Charters are privately run enterprises. Now Lee thinks he can dodge the accusation of “Steering public funds to private schools” by saying these charter schools are “public schools”, but as someone said recently: Calling charter schools “PUBLIC” because they get public funds is like calling defense contractors public companies.

This has clearly been the plan for a long time. Even the MOMS FOR LIBERTY WILLIAMSON COUNTY CHAIR has been posting about the Hillsdale Charter school planned for Williamson since last year – and we’re told a petition has been pulled in Montgomery county as well.
They want our (underfunded) public school funds to send their kids to what will essentially amount to a publicly-funded private school.

It’s an attack on our public schools. A heist. They’re steering our public school funds towards a network of private schools by another name, run by a Trump loyalist who wants to whitewash our history and fill kids’ heads with propaganda.

And to top it all off, Lee has rigged the charter approval process. So even when communities vote to REJECT these schools, a state board handpicked by the governor can overrule these local decisions.

Worried yet? You should be. Strengthening our public schools should be our top priority. This new “STUDENT-BASED FUNDING FORMULA” SCHEME is just a new way for Governor Lee to steer our public dollars to private companies run by his friends, and he’s using these “PUBLIC” Charter schools as a vessel to do it… and our public schools will suffer.

Florida’s ed commish praised Lee and put it in this distasteful way at Hillsdale College👇🏽WATCH: “YOU CAN’T PUT THE ANIMALS BACK IN THE BARN”😳 – meaning once kids go to a charter school, we have no choice but to keep sending them money because you can’t force them to go back.

OUR QUESTION: Is Gov. Lee’s attempt to use public funds to create a network of private schools (while calling them “public”) even constitutional? Hopefully someone smarter than us can figure that out.

We’ll be here to cover it, and that’s thanks to your support, so Please consider chipping in monthly if you’re not yet doing so, even if it’s just a few bucks – the monthly support truly keeps us going. 

The Holler

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TODAY’S HOLLER: DID REP. FAISON PANTS HIMSELF?

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DID FAISON PANTS HIMSELF? 
BY TRYING TO PANTS THE REF, DID REP. FAISON PULL OFF HIS OWN
– METAPHORICALLY SPEAKING?

👖💥REF PANTSING CONTROVERSY UPDATE: REP. Brandon Ogles (R-FRANKLIN) re-posted a post today about TN GOP caucus chair Rep. Jeremy Faison making national news for trying to PANTS A REF, calling it “disgusting”, and seeming to question if he’s fit to serve both as GOP caucus chair and as a representative entirely.

The post also calls on Speaker Sexton to act. 👀

💥This comes after we learned from our own SOURCES that Republican Scott Cepicky has allegedly asked TN House GOP caucus chair Jeremy Faison to RESIGN as caucus chair over the embarrassing nationally viral ref-pantsing incident. Here’s some Video, ICYMI.
To be clear, neither Ogles nor Cepicky are picture perfect in their own rights, by any stretch. Cepicky in particular spent a long time calling COVID no worse than the flu, until he eventually stopped. (He also lists himself as a professional athlete on his legislative bio even though his NFL “career” consisted of being a walk-on punter cut in training camp… but we digress.)

The question remains: Will Faison survive as caucus chair? Is his seat at risk? By trying to pull off a ref’s pants, did he pull his own caucus chair pants off, so to speak?

Only time will tell. But we will be here watching.

We’ll make sure to ask Jeremy about this in person when the legislature starts back up TOMORROW. We’re able to do this work because of your support, so Please consider chipping in monthly if you’re not yet doing so, even if it’s just a few bucks – the monthly support truly keeps us going. 

The Holler

BUYING OR SELLING A HOME IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE? HOLLER AT REALTOR ELISA PARKER! SERVING MIDDLE TN FOR 20+ YEARS…
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TODAY’S HOLLER:
REPUBLICANS TO CARVE UP NASHVILLE: “into multiple congressional seats”. Not content with a 7-2 split (despite a significant % of TN being Dems), Speaker Sexton & the TN GOP will try to take a blue seat from VERY BLUE Nashville. Not democracy. There is ZERO good faith reason not to have independent, fair districting. 🇺🇸

KNOXVILLE ACTIVIST HUMILIATED BY DEPUTIES: It seems the warrant Knox County Sheriff Spangler’s Office arrested activist/former council candidate David Hayes for outside a Knoxville PD meeting was for “obstructing a roadway” at a peaceful protest about the police killing of a student (Ant Thompson). They humiliated Hayes and carried him to a detention roomwhere he says they punched him. Here’s video of him being carried & humiliated. Here’s David telling Knox News about being punched by deputies while in custody.

So outside a CITY discussion about policing, Deputies grabbed, carried, humiliated a black activist (former council candidate) over warrants related to peaceful protests about the police killing of a black student. Knox County’s message is loud and clear. The man ran for City Council as the warrant was still active and was in rooms with police… he says he was never officially cited, and didn’t know about the warrants. They waited for the exact moment to send the largest message to arrest him. We have questions. Will Spangler and Mayor Jacobs have answers?

NOT-SO-GRAND, OPRY: “I am extremely confused by the welcoming of Morgan Wallen to the Opry stage last night… It felt like a slap in the face.” — Holly G, founder of Black Opry, writes a letter to Opry owners expressing dismay that they welcomed Wallen after his “N Word” usage.

MORE REPUBLICAN VACCINE DISINFORMATION: More vaccine disinfo from TN GOP state Rep Susan Lynn… ignoring all data, cherry-picking stories she *hears* — and Speaker Sexton says nothing. Some actual numbers… overwhelmingly most severely Sick are un-“vexed” 🧐

Maybe Governor Ron Desantis should talk to his own wife about his anti-testing crusade? 😳😷

HIJACKING MLK: The Tennessean picks up the story of Bernice King rightly calling out Carol M Swain & Moms For Liberty WILCO for the hypocrisy of using her dad’s image to raise💰at an anti-diversity event at the Factory when M4L fights against MLK/civil rights books.

COACH DIES OF COVID: GALLATIN HIGH girls basketball coach Jerry Landers has died of COVID-19 after being placed on a ventilator. Our hearts go out to his family, friends and the community. 😷

Rolling Stone rightly highlights *Pastor* Ken Peters in a story on the burned Planned Parnethood Knoxville clinic— “Did the rhetoric of Pastor Peters’s extreme anti-abortion church literally help stoke the flames?” The clinic noticed a change when he arrived. And he’s no stranger to “fire” references.

WATCH: “It was terrifying… nobody was hurt, thank goodness, but the fire was enormous… WE ARE DETERMINED TO REBUILD.” – Ashley Coffield of Planned Parenthood TN talked to us about the arson (terrorism) that burned their clinic in Knoxville. PODCAST

“THIS SAD MAN”: Chris Hayes roasted spineless Ted Cruz for groveling for forgiveness after calling the insurrection “terrorism” — he calls it a “mistake”, but he said it MANY times. His only “mistake” was telling the truth in a party where that’s the only sin. #TreasonDay

NASHVILLE DJ WALKS OUT: DJ AJ KANG says he walked out of his set after REBAR owner Rhonda Russell told him to “stop playing that ni*ger music” because there were “too many black people in the crowd” Adding: “I’m half black and I do not support racism”

UNLICENSED BOUNCERS UPDATE: “4 of 6 bouncers at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row who held down DJ BARRETT until he died in August 2021 (charged for reckless homicide & aggravated assault) not properly licensed.” VIDEO of DJ: “I can’t breathe!”

RECORD JOBS: While Marsha & Hagerty ask “WhErE ARe tHe JoBS?” despite 3.9% unemployment, Trump Jr.  helped them out with a self-own by posting Biden’s historic first 11 months job growth: “Check out how much better Biden is doing than my dad!” 🤦🏻‍♂️

🗣 “IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.” — Barbara from Abingdon, VA writes a letter to the editor in BRISTOL, TN addressing the ARSONIST Who burned down Knoxville’s Planned Parenthood Clinic — pointing out the people they actually hurt.

NO-BRAINER: “Ossoff’s bill makes it illegal for lawmakers & their families to trade stocks” Any Senator/Rep who won’t support this ain’t there for the right reasons. And it ain’t just Pelosi. (👋🏽 Corker, Blackburn, Hagerty, Green, etc..) – good for Ossoff for leading on this. He says he wants a GOP co-sponsor for his congress stock trading ban… Does seem a little crazy to think that might happen, but kinda seems right to make a show of looking for one — If nobody bites, that says a lot in itself. Then he should push it anyway.

TOP: What’s actually happening.
BOTTOM: What the Bullshit Factory is focused on.

TOP SEED IN THE AFC: 91 different players. Lots of injuries to stars. And still… #1 seed in the AFC! Coach Vrabel should be the NFL Coach of the Year, and it isn’t close. #TitanUp

CARTOON OF THE DAY: “KING & CRT”

Josh Black sums up Tennessee in one tweet… 🎯 ❄️

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INTERVIEW: ARSON AT PLANNED PARENTHOOD KNOXVILLE with ASHLEY COFFIELD

VIDEO: REP. FAISON TRIES TO FIGHT (AND PANTS) A REF

By now you’ve probably seen the video we unearthed of REP. FAISON TRYING TO FIGHT AND PANTS A REF at a high school basketball game in East Tennessee. After we saw Faison take to social media to apologize for the incident, we figured he was likely trying to get out in front of video that existed, so we did some digging, and sure enough we found it, for your viewing pleasure.

Again: HE TRIED TO PULL THE REF’S PANTS OFF, in a gym full of kids! He’s lucky he didn’t succeed, or he might be in one of those prisons he likes to vote to send money to while underfunding our schools.

As it stands the TSSAA is declining to punish or suspend him, deferring instead to the school (LAKEWAY CHRISTIAN), who has not answered our questions about his ability to attend future games. Apparently pantsing refs is ok in Tennessee now? Or maybe just when you’re a state rep?

Faison‬⁩ is the ⁦‪Tennessee House Republicans‬⁩ caucus CHAIR, 3rd ranking Republican in the Tennessee House, which is why this absurd story then proceeded to make national headlines, which we would like to think we had a hand in. Our video has been watched 250,000 times on Twitter.

On that note, here’s a A TWEET THAT DIDN’T AGE WELL – Faison tweeted this on January 6th 2021 — then one year later made national news for trying to fight and pants a ref👖 🤷🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️

Obviously this behavior is juvenile and unacceptable, but as Holler founder KANEW points out, “It’s not just (pantsing & threatening a ref) that makes Rep. Faison a bully – it’s the legislation he supports, and how he treats the most vulnerable people in Tennessee.”

Kanew saw firsthand that Faison is a bully when he got in his face and called him a “Hateful shit” during session last year after Kanew asked him why he was voting to cut unemployment benefits (while giving himself a raise) despite his own Cocke county having the highest unemployment in the state.

On a lighter note, a real Globetrotters player even took the time to give Faison good advice for next time he tries to pants a ref in front of children… listen up, Jeremy! 👇🏽🏀

We’ll make sure to ask Jeremy about this in person when the legislature starts back up next week. Please consider chipping in monthly if you’re not yet doing so, even if it’s just a few bucks – the monthly support truly keeps us going. 

The Holler

REP. TORREY HARRIS ON LOSING HIS DISTRICT TO GOP REDISTRICTING | TN Holler

Rep Torrey Harris, the first out LGBT black legislator in Memphis, and one of the youngest, shares his thoughts on likely losing his district to redistricting.