VENDOR: Learning Forward
SERVICE/GOODS (SOW): Contract for the continuation of the Redesign Professional Development (PD) Community membership. Learning Forward’s Redesign PD Community is a network that convenes and supports school systems dedicated to addressing specific problems of practice in professional learning. The network uses continuous improvement principles and processes to focus systems on discovering new practical solutions to strategically complex professional learning challenges.
SOURCING METHOD: Exempt (Membership)
TERM: July 1, 2018 through December 31, 2019
FOR WHOM: MNPS Executive Leadership Team and Staff
COMPENSATION: Annual membership fee: $35,000.
Total compensation under this contract is not to exceed $35,000.
OVERSIGHT: Chief of Schools
Notice who’s in charge of oversight? That would be Learning Forward Board of Trustees member Shawn Joseph. Do I need to bring up Dallas Dance again? Dallas Dance who Joseph brought in as a member of the transition team? As a side note, I’d keep that transition team list handy and every time somebody publicly defends Dr. Joseph I’d refer to it. Odds are you’ll find them on that list.
It seems anymore that everybody has some kind of financial connection to an entity that does business with MNPS. Sharon Gentry does work for the Arbinger Institute. Gini Pupo-Walker works for Connexion Americas. Christiane Buggs works for NPEF via the Blueprint for Literacy as a project manager despite being a math and science specialist. Will Pinkston guards his client list like its the Dead Sea Scrolls, but its long been believed that SEIU and MNEA are among his clients. Does this not bother anyone?
We are heading into budget season. It has been contended that last year MNPS did not get the funding it requested due to a lack of trust. There was a concentrated effort to lay the blame for that lack of trust at the feet of those board members who have been critical of the district’s spending. But I’d ask how do Dr.Joseph’s, and other board members, financial relationships instill confidence? It seems like everyone is benefiting but the schools.
I would argue that at the very least Dr. Joseph should have publicly disclosed his relationship with Learning Forward and recused himself from the role of oversight. But apparently, that’s not how we roll anymore. At one time the very appearance of unethical behavior was grounds for it being declared unethical, now it’s free rein and appearances be damned. [Correction: Chief of Schools is actually Sito Narcisse. So technically Joseph probably did recuse himself. Still raises questions in my opinion.]
HERE WE GO AGAIN
Over the weekend OneNashville held its bi-weekly meeting. OneNashville is a community organization dedicated to improving life in Nashville. Per it’s Facebook page,
Every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month One Nashville hosts the Community Awareness Networking Breakfast where good people connect and learn about positive opportunities and services in our city. One Nashville is a fun way to do civic engagement and create that better world. Make and meet awesome friends and partnerships. Positive People Producing Powerful Awareness And Practical Answers. All persons are welcomed to become part of the One Nashville Dialogue and Information Network. Hear or know anything that help others you can post here and come to the awesome breakfasts and make sure good people are made Aware!
It is an incredible organization that contributes greatly to the quality of life for Nashville residents. Saturday’s meeting was focused on education. Mayor Briley spoke, as did state representative Brenda Gilmore. Former school board member, and current CM, Ed Kindall spoke as well.
In addressing the crowd, Kindall painted his time on the board as a picture of harmonious interaction. Which it was not. During his tenure, the board was especially light on oversight. Kindall had a front seat on how not to handle a sexual harassment lawsuit. In reality, things weren’t much different than they are today. If anybody knows, the challenges involved with being a school board member, it is Kindall.
The verbiage, taken in a racial context, is not good, but I don’t believe for one minute that was Speering’s intent. To take the wearing of masks as a racial conniption also means that you don’t believe that any African-American educators are dissatisfied with Dr. Joseph. Something we all know is not true. Just like not all white educators are unhappy with him.
It also means that you ignore the question of why would teachers be afraid? Why is the wearing of masks even a consideration?
I have long argued that Nashville is in need of a deeper conversation on race. One that unites, instead of further divides us. This situation presented a teachable moment if Kindell had chosen to take it.
Instead of going public, how different would the conversation be if he extended the professional courtesy to Speering of picking up the phone and calling her? Does he even know who she sent those texts to? Does he know the context? Has he taken a moment to talk to teachers in order to find out just how bad they are hurting? He just assumed a nefarious intent and then made it racial in order to further his own agenda, one that includes protecting Dr. Joseph at all costs.
Now we’ve got people on both sides trying to draw people to tomorrow’s meeting. A meeting that is coinciding with the first day back from school for kids. How many actual stakeholders will navigate tomorrow and then navigate rush hour traffic in order to get to Bransford Ave to participate in an action that is widely considered futile? My guess is that few will make the trek.
The lack of attendance doesn’t mean that we won’t be left with the residue from another incident that will only make it harder to have that needed conversation about race. We can’t continue to try and shame people into changing their behavior. It just creates further resentments. Kindall has been at this game long enough to know how it all plays out in public. He should remember what happened when he and his fellow school board members tried to ignore teachers and parents a decade ago. It didn’t end well for the director or the school board. Why would he believe the outcomes will be different this time?
Perhaps Speering shouldn’t have sent out the text message. Perhaps she shouldn’t have tried to solicit stakeholders to come let their voices be heard. I personally don’t know what other alternatives are open to her. Joseph controls the data and constantly spins it, much like Garcia, in a manner that benefits him and creates the illusion of progress. Board members refuse to listen and teachers refuse to talk to those who’ve publically turned a deaf ear. So again I ask, what else should she do other than emulate what so many of our teachers have already done, close the door, teach to the best of their ability and look for a job elsewhere?
Personally, I’m proud of her and impressed by her willingness to fight for a system that has treated her so badly for the last year. Treatment that has negatively impacted her personal health. Her treatment has been indicative of how we treat all our teachers. We act as if they haven’t been in the classroom but a single day, and we readily dismiss their insight in order to further our own agenda. We take every chance we can to undercut them and paint them in a negative light, all the while professing our love and respect. Despite it all, Speering continues to rely on her hard-won experience and refuses to be deterred by any of her perceived missteps. You may not agree with all her methods, but I absolutely love her commitment and admire her strength. She is obviously cut from the same cloth as many of our teachers.
It was no easy recovery for MNPS from Pedro Garcia and it took many, many, years to undo the damage done. This time won’t be any easier. We have lost so many talented professionals to surrounding districts and greener pastures. It’s going to take all of us pulling together to fix this thing and if we tear each other apart before Dr. Joseph leaves, it’s going to be virtually impossible to restore our school system. We are going to need leaders we can trust in order to pull it off. Leaders that have the ability to communicate and support each other.
Let’s take a look at the results from the weekend.
First up is the question about workforce housing. Out of 120 respondents, 67 of you or 56% of you replied, “How about a living wage and some respect?” The number 2 answer with 14% of the vote was, “I can’t even.” 1 person said sign me up. Since her initial post, Pupo-Walker has tried to walk back her pitch by claiming she was talking mortgage help and low-interest rates as well as developing teacher houses. Most aren’t buying it and continue to be appalled by the proposal. At some point we need to actually listen to the people we are trying to help.
Here are the write-ins:
|Asbestos, mold, bugs…Teachers deserve better!||1|
|Respect outweighs anything else!||1|
|I can’t even. Add to Worst.Ideas.Ever. #livingwage #affordablehousing #respect||1|
|Walker needs to talk with teachers before she publ||1|
|Isn’t that what we’re already doing. Extra hours every day, morning and night.||1|
|My family of 5 would get a lot of benefit out of it. ????????♂️||1|
|It makes sense for Silicon Valley, so maybe Nashville is getting there too||1|
|It’s impossible for mid career teachers to afford to have children here.||1|
|Why not just convert an old jail into housing?|
Question number 2 asked you were feeling about the pending return of kids to classes. Out of 103 respondents, 42, or 41%, answered, “ready for the kids but not the…”. The number two answer with 22% was, “I guess it’s time.” Only 4 people indicated that they could wait to get back and 7 said they weren’t going back. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
Here are the write-ins:
|Glad I retired and thankful I did not retire with a disability.||1|
|Found out we are doing CKLA so I’ve been branded as an inept educator||1|
|Half way there||1|
|Like a little more time, but our kids need to get||1|
|wish for more break||1|
|I dread the back-to-school PD more.||1|
|I’ve wasted my last two days dreading going back.|
the last question sought to solicit your feelings on the extra 40K for the director evaluation tool. Out of 109 responses, 62 votes, or 57%, labeled it just more waste. Needless to say the idea is not a popular one.
Here are the write-in votes:
|This is why I work the clock.||1|
|The BoE should be capable of carrying out an evaluation.||1|
|Just listen to teachers and it costs NOTHING||1|
|If this if 40K for propaganda, #wtf. Past time to show him the door.||1|
|what are we paying SB members for? their 1 job is to hire and fire the Director||1|
|Just another way to avoid doing the evaluation.||1|
|Pisses me off.||1|
|Could fund a couple of much needed parapros at my||1|
|Board, stop playing politics. U know he has to go||1|
|And I can’t get a cost of living adjustment? SMH.||1|
|I could do it for 24,999.99.||1|
|Hopefully it’s impartial|
That’s a wrap. Check out the Dad Gone Wild Facebook page. It’s a good news station. If you need to get a hold of me, the email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep sending me your stuff and I’ll share as much as possible. Don’t forget to answer this week’s poll questions. If you think what I write has value, please consider supporting the work through Patreon. To those of you who pledged money this past week, thank you, thank you, thank you. Have yourself a great first day back!