I know candidates from the last two school board races are going to scoff at me when I say this aloud, but it’s two days into early voting and I’m already worn out. I know that this year’s race pales in comparison to previous races in both scope and commitment, but still, running a campaign is hard work.

You may think that since you’ve helped out people in the past, you have an understanding of just how all-encompassing it is. I know I used to think that way, but trust me, it is so much more than you could ever imagine. Being a candidate has a way of overtaking everything in your life and pushing it to the background. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like in the past when the intensity started ratcheting up in early May. I don’t know that I could stand up to 3 months of what the last month has been like. So my hat is off to my predecessors.

I’ve come to realize how many really nice people there are out here. I’ve met some real decent people at doors and at polls. My favorite quote comes from a woman who, leaving the polls, stopped me and said, “I voted for you, though I don’t know anything about you. But you talked to me going in and standing in the hot sun has its rewards.”

I’ve also come to realize that we like to talk about fair elections and how everybody has a shot to win a position. That’s another nice myth, but the reality is that the game is rigged for those in the political class. Sure anybody can print fliers, place signs, and knock on doors. The reality is that all of those require a certain knowledge and understanding in order to execute them in an effective manner.

Access to donors is something that is contingent upon who in the political class you have  relationships with. You quickly find out that people aren’t just standing out here handing out money.

Left to your own devices, the simple task creating of a flier, getting it printed at a reasonable cost, and effectively distributed, can eat up the majority of your campaign time. And you still have to create walk lists to effectively knock on doors, design mailers, and coordinate volunteers. It’s all very daunting.

I’m not saying any of this to complain – okay, maybe a little bit – but merely to point out that 8 of the 11 candidates seeking a seat on the school board are participating in their first campaign as a candidate. That’s a big deal, and I’d like to give a little shout out to my fellow rookies. I’d be willing to bet that few of us knew exactly what we were getting into.


School starts in about three weeks and MNPS can’t stay off the news again. Last week, Board Vice Chair Jill Speering appeared in a story that Channel 4 News aired on MNPS Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph’s evaluation by the MNPS school board. Speering and fellow board member Amy Frogge were quite critical of Joseph, and Speering was very frank in her responses to Channel 4’s questions.

While some may have taken exception to Speering’s remarks, I think it’s worth noting that for over a year she tried to deal with issues behind closed doors. Unfortunately, behind closed doors, answers to questions were not quite forthcoming or even adequate. There was little correlation between what she was hearing from teachers and what was being told to her by the administration. It would behoove us to remember that Speering taught for 35 years and she might know a thing or two about best practices.

Some have tried to mute her criticism by claiming that she only began speaking out after Joseph refused to fund Speering’s favored reading program, Reading Recovery. That argument falls apart, though, when you look at the timeline. Joseph, in fact, cut Reading Recovery in an apparent response to Speering’s increased criticism. Speering was critical well before RR was cut.

It’s also worth noting that virtually all school board candidates have been critical of Joseph to some degree. Is the expectation that whomever wins a seat on the board will become muzzled once they are on the board or will the board start to outwardly address the growing criticism by the public? Time will tell.

It looks like Phil Williams over at Channel 5 News has a new series of stories ready to drop come Monday. I must admit that I’m not sure exactly what he plans on covering, but if the promo is any indication, it’ll be on the rampant sexual misconduct occuring throughout the district. The stories that I have personally heard over the last two years are simply appalling, and the district’s response to some of these cases has been seriously lacking. Again, I don’t know what stories Williams is covering in this report, but you might want to tune in on Monday.


TNReady results came out this week. Their release was conveniently timed with Dr. Joseph’s vacation to Spain. After all the hoopla over MAP scores over the last several months, expectations were running high. Unfortunately the results did not meet the hype. Per an article in the Tennessean, MNPS students scored as follows:

  • English —  26.7 percent of third through eighth students are on track or higher in the subject, up from 25.4 percent in the 2016-17 school year; 18.1 percent of high school students are on track or higher, down from 24.4 percent last year.
  • Math — 26.1 percent of third through eighth students scored on track or higher, down from 27.2 last year; 9.5 percent of high school students are on track or higher, down from 12.1 percent last year.
  • Science — 42.7 percent of third through eighth students were on track or higher, down from 46 percent last year ; 25.6 percent of high school students are on track or higher, down from 35.7 percent last year.
  • U.S. History — And 10.3 percent of the district’s students scored on track or mastered the subject, down from 14.9 percent in the previous year.

I’ll look at scores a lot closer this weekend and offer some thoughts on Monday. My preliminary thoughts are that I don’t think these scores exceed anybody’s expectations.

I’m hearing this week that belated congratulations are due to recently departed Executive Director of Innovative Schools LeTrecia Gloster. Word is that she is expecting a child. I know ladies at central office are disappointed that she left before they had a chance to throw a baby shower. Everybody loves a shower.

Two weeks ago, DGW ran a poll on who y’all thought would win the school board seat in District 6 and the result was a big win for the incumbent. This past weekend there was a forum held in District 6, and the results of the straw poll taken afterwards were a bit different. I’ve got to say, in Aaron McGee and Fran Bush, District 6 has two really good candidates. Take time to talk with them, to get to know them, you’ll be impressed. I’m glad it’s not me having to choose between them.

Remember that time when we told everybody we were really broke, but then we went from 5 LTDS leads to 8. But one quit the day before training started and we asked current LTDS’s to apply for the job even though the LTDS pool was empty and a replacement would have to come from a classroom teacher, therefore leaving a classroom uncovered? Fun times.

Remember that other time when we told board members that we only had 186 teacher openings which was better than last year when we had 266 openings, but we didn’t remind board members that this year we had 500 students fewer than last year? Fun times.

Out in Denver, Superintendent Tom Boasberg is stepping down after nearly 10 years. Per ChalkbeatCO:

Boasberg, 52, and his wife have three children, ages 17, 15, and 14. He said his decision was personal and not driven by the politics of the district. His oldest daughter, Nola, graduated from high school this year – a milestone he said made him stop and think about his commitments to his family, as well as his commitments to the district and to Denver students.

I wonder if they’ve gotten Sito Narcisse’s resume yet?

This is the time of year when my social media feed is filled up with pictures of administrators and teachers engaged in data sharing activities. Not to hurt anyone’s feelings, but few things inspire me less. Just saying.

Wish I had more for ya this week, but that’s all I got. Tomorrow it’s back to the campaign trail.

Hope y’all have an awesome weekend. Don’t forget to answer the poll questions. And if you are eligible to vote in District 2, please get out and vote. If you need to contact me, you can do so at Norinrad10@yahoo.com. I’m always looking for more opinions and will try to promote as many of the events that you send me as possible, but I do apologize in advance if I fall short and don’t get them all out there.

I have started using Patreon as a funding source. If you think what I do has monetary value, you can go there and make a donation/pledge. Just because Andy Spears is also on Patreon doesn’t mean you can’t support us both. Trust me, I know I ain’t going to get rich, but at the end of the day I’m just a Dad trying to get by. Check out the Dad Gone Wild Facebook page as well. And if you are so inclined, check out my campaign web page and sign up to help if you can.






Categories: Uncategorized

12 replies

  1. What do you think of the news that MichMich was shuffled out of her job and into a new one?

  2. Hello there dgw. I agree dont read too much into scores but there is something you can do with them to see where we compare favorably or poorly with respect to the state trend to think about whether our initiatives are doing anything. If we are going one way and the state is going the other way, to paraphrase the Hillwood principal it’s all the data we got.

    We mirror the trend of the state on ELA 3-5, but our Hispanic, ELL, and white students grew much faster. We actually beat the state noticeably on the trend for ELA 6-8 where state is down we are up, and the gains are again for hispanic, ell, white. Effects are broad enough that maybe LTDS are doing something after all. And could text selection issues be the reason for the increased gap?

    HS ELA mirrors the state but HS math is going the opposite direction of the state and SCS has closed some of their gap with us. This has got to be linked to recent inability of HR to hire to those positions. Bonuses are needed. This isn’t going to fixed quickly or cheaply. Self-certifying teachers will only make it worse by the way.

    Science in HS is also a much bigger drop than the state. These positions are also hard to fill. See above about HR.

    Even/middle math, elementary/middle sci, and US hist basically mirror the state. Not much to see there.

    In summary, where MNPS departs from the state the most is middle ELA and Zulu have to look at the impacts of LTDS as well as text selection, the only two variables that changed much this year. Something about the test or the text selection likely increased our gap. We need to understand that, and continue the LTDS program. In HS math and science, well OMG. We need and HR miracle, one that is sustainable and filled with quality.

    • EL scores can most likely be attributed to our EL directors Kevin Stacy and Molly Sehring. Unfortunately Stacy now heads Clarksville’s EL department

      • Nope.. ELL scores are attributed to the students and their teachers… nothing to with Kevin and Molly sitting in central office! Neither one of them can answer a question unless it’s on a PowerPoint! Are you really for the teachers or just trying to make a name for yourself?!! I am sick and tired of you singing their praises.

      • Ouch. Complaint taken. You’ll have to judge for yourself if I’m for really for teachers or not, my body of work speaks for itself. I think ELL Department has made tremendous strides over the last 3 years. That is because of teachers, students, and leadership. We were not as strong 3 years ago.

      • Molly Sehring is an AP at Oliver Middle. Did she get a new position? Is this a previous position she held 2 years ago? I’m confused here.

      • I ment Molly Stoval. Sorry. I get them confused all the time.

    • Shelby did eureka math in low grades this yr and whatever they did easily beat the state (which was flat) on math for 3-5. Seems hard to believe that a new textbook/materials would do all that but maybe worth a look

  3. I want to comment on that 186 vacancies thing because if you go to the Mnps site and add k-12 certificated vacancies it is 331. Now I know a handful of those might be duplicates or librarians or guidance counselors or jobs where its been filled but theyre still waiting on the fingerprint. But my gut says the real number at this moment in time is way higher than 200, a couple weeks after the report you cited. That is way too many.

  4. TC have formed my own opinions about you a long time ago. In regards to Kevin, goodbye to his silly story about how was climbing a mountain and how he feels like he needs an IEP to do so. It’s always bad taste and the whole room erupts in laughter. Or how him and Molly had district level required trainings where the trainer referred to students to as “fresh off the boat!” I guess neither one of them- when they were informed- used their white privileged to kick that trainer out. Nope we had days of her loud obnoxious, better than anyone voice. Or the insane about of personal time- they demand out of EL teachers.

    Just because your kids go to school with so EL kids and you sat in some board a few years ago doesn’t make you an expert. Do you even know about the WIDA test. How kids take the test in grade bands- and literally it’s the same test in the band. There are so many “practice” test out there. Also, it’s not hard for one student to take a particular test in all three levels within a band and the teacher knows what’s going on. If you get my drift.
    Oh one more item… children, especially child of color don’t have to read the damn “the classics!” You are not a teacher and you are not trained to be one.

    All you do is stir the pot, I love how when you post something new… all of my “white colleagues” are jumping up and down! Taking about the “truths” you speak! For the love of all things holy, use your damn white privilege to lift someone up because 1/2 of the time you sound a bit racist!

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