WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A MISTAKE?

“Crush humanity out of shape once more, under similar hammers, and it will twist itself into the same tortured forms. Sow the same seeds of rapacious licence and oppression over again, and it will surely yield the same fruit according to its kind.”
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

“Power doesn’t have to show off. Power is confident, self-assuring, self-starting and self-stopping, self-warming and self-justifying. When you have it, you know it.”
Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

Last night’s Metro Nashville Public School’s board meeting was an abhorrent display that should embarrass all of us. I try and instill in my children that making a mistake is not the defining moment, but rather what you do with the mistake. Last night, the MNPS board decided that when others go low, it will go even lower.

Yes, Ms. Speering made a mistake when she sent out an email encouraging folks to protest Dr. Joseph and offering them the option to wear masks if they were scared for their jobs. It should be made clear that she did not instruct people to come in masks, but rather offered masks as a solution if supporters felt fear of retaliation. That’s an important designation and one that has been lost in the escalating rhetoric.

Dr. Joseph and board leadership had an opportunity to use the misstep as a teachable moment. After all, these are educators we are talking about. Instead, they chose to use the moment to bludgeon Ms, Speering and fellow board members who oppose Dr. Joseph. They tried to use her words to destroy a 40 plus year record of service to MNPS and link her to a hate-filled organization like the Ku Klux Klan

“I’m not sure if Ms. Speering internally made the connection between the masked protest she encouraged today and those of yesteryear’s held by the KKK but I did,” said Metro School Board Vice Chair Christiane Buggs. 

Buggs had the opportunity to convey her disappointment to Speering privately in the days leading up to the meeting but instead chose the public stage to deliver her remarks. It’s not the first time Buggs has shown a propensity to use such inflammatory language toward political opponents. Upon the election of President Trump, she tweeted out names that she had heard for him and planned to adopt. Names like: Cheeto Satan, Habanero Hitler, Dreamsicle Demon, Tangerine Voldemort, Sunkist StalinNacho Nazi, Fanta Fascist, Squirrelwig McRacistpants, El Hombre de Tang, Don the Con,Trumplethinskin, Candy Corn Kremlin. The backlash against Buggs was harsh and one would have thought it might have taught her a little more compassion, alas apparently not.

Some took to social media to further attempt to discredit Speering because she was not in attendance at last night’s board meeting. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt and assume that all aren’t aware that Speering recently had open heart surgery. She attended all committee meetings during the day. My supposition is that she chose to protect her health and decide to go home instead of facing a hostile crowd. That’s not cowardice, that is just good sense.

Leadership is a lot like MAP testing, it’s an intuitive assessment. What that means is that you start off with a challenge that is perceived to be at your level. How you answer that challenge determines whether you move on to harder challenges or not. Get the question right and the assessment continues. Get too many challenges wrong and the assessment ends. Last night was a leadership challenge for Dr. Joseph. One that will not lead to the next level.

How different would today look if instead of calling out fraternity brothers – many who don’t live in the district – and the clergy to support him, Dr. Joseph had just stepped to the microphone and said, “I got this. I welcome you, but I urge you to come in support of our students and families. Jill Speering and I disagree on virtually everything and we are very passionate people. Some times passion leads to miscalculation, but I don’t believe that Ms. Speering’s message had any racial connotations and I certainly don’t believe she was trying to hold a Klan rally outside. We all need to be more sensitive with our words and continue to try and have more cultural awareness in considering the potential impact of those words.”

Instead, he chose to respond in an emailed statement,

“A call to wear masks in public reminds many citizens of a particularly dark time in our country’s history,” Joseph said ahead of the meeting. “Nashville is better than this. We need to set a better example for the students, families and staff members who are watching.”

On the way to school today my 8-year-old son asked me if he could read me his favorite quote from the book he’s reading, The One and Only Ivan. I said, “Sure.”

Here is what he read me,

“Humans waste words. They toss them like banana peels and leave them to rot. Everyone knows the peels are the best part.”

Out of the mouths of babes. The irony that this school board meeting was transpiring at exactly the same time as President Trump was addressing the nation is not lost on me. Joseph likes to quote the words of Obama, while continually employing the strategies of Trump. Both Trump and Joseph, run on the fuel created out of divisiveness and neither has proven particularly competent at their job.

I plan to write more about this week’s board meeting on Friday after I’ve taken time to reflect a little more on the proceedings and I want to watch the meeting again to make sure I actually heard everything I thought I heard. I do want to leave this portion of the program with the words from a long time MNPS educator. These words were texted to me after last night’s board meeting and were among many I received from Nashville educators. I sure hope everybody that claims they are all about the children listens to them and takes heed.

I’m so embarrassed and mortified by the meeting tonight that I would leave MNPS tonight if I had another job. What a fucked up meeting. The board is irreparably destroyed.

Remember, it’s not the mistake that’s important, it’s what you do with it afterward that counts. There is still time to make it right.

AND NOW A WORD FOR THE STATE

I’ve often stated that the best part of writing this blog is the opportunity it gives me to meet incredible educators. One of those educators is Paul Doyle. Dr. Paul Doyle served in the Metro-Nashville Public School System for 27 years from classroom teacher to principal,  to the district’s ombudsman, and HR director. He then moved to Paris, Tennessee and became Superintendent of Schools for the Paris Special School District. He retired several years ago to start his own business, Purposeful Leadership LLC. He has served as adjunct faculty for numerous colleges and universities over a 30 year period. He currently works with Middle Tennessee State University in that capacity, and for many years was a regular trainer for Tennessee Academy of School Leaders. One thing I didn’t know, is that Doyle was on the short list to be acting MNPS Superintendent back in 2008.

Paul wrote something recently that I think is extremely relevant as the 2019 state legislative session is set to open. He’s graciously allowed me to share it here. So with no further ado, I present it to you.

The ideas expressed here are clearly opinions of mine, not to be confused with the Gospel, and are shared with peace and love.

I recently read with a mixed sense of interest and sad humor the article by former education commissioner, Candice McQueen,

” These are four ways the state of education is changing in Tennessee”

I thought it odd for her to be discussing how Tennessee education will be changing while she was on her way out. It’s implied that we will continue building on the stellar work she initiated as commissioner. Not one time during my reading did I find a single word regarding “teacher support”. But I must admit, I wasn’t surprised. My hope is that the next administration will find ways to relieve teachers of the burdensome busy work that compromises their actual interaction with students.

As a career educator who served public education as a substitute teacher , school district superintendent, and practically everything in between, I find it disheartening that teachers are strapped with responsibilities beyond ordinary comprehension. This is not another piece about teachers having to serve as parents, psychologists, counselors, etc. I’m referring to the mountains of needless paperwork. The teachers I talk with continue to complain about not having the time to adequately address the needs of their students. Most of us, well, many of us agree that relationships matter when it comes to our students. It takes a long time to develop that relationship and trust with each student. It takes time researching, thinking, observing, listening, reflecting, and planning. I also spend a good deal of my time today working with graduate students. I am amazed and somewhat overwhelmed when I hear them discuss what their districts’ and states demand of them in terms of lesson planning, and multiple forms of assessments and other documentation.

To be clear when it comes to assessment, except for extreme cases of obvious patterns of poor performance, results should be used to improve instruction, not to rank teachers. I thought we had learned this lesson long ago with the Career Ladder program under Lamar Alexander. Principals are responsible for their teachers in terms of professional growth and support as well as evaluations. Today, we equip them with multiple tools for assessment, rubrics, student test scores, and layers of bureaucratic paperwork. Most of these things are put in place to help the gutless administrator. They do very little to help the teacher. If you don’t have confidence that principals can decide how best to evaluate their teachers then fire them and put someone more competent in place.

When I was a teacher, the State purchased textbooks and materials from vendors after strict review from teachers and other district stakeholders. We chose materials that matched our needs in terms of lesson planning and tools that helped us meet State requirements. Our books had our lesson planning provided, and our district had curriculum experts that helped us develop strategies. We did expect our teachers to modify their plans to meet the needs of their students. Today our expectations are so much higher. We expect teachers to individualize lessons for each student, and develop elaborate lesson plans, tools and strategies to meet those needs and jump through multiple hoops.

We have handcuffed the minds and brain power of our professionals. They no longer have the autonomy to make their own decisions. They use their own ideas and expertise complying to rules that make little sense to them. They jump through hoops. They are data saturated instead of data driven. They are teachers, thank God, and not politicians. They will continue to find ways to subvert the system instead of complying. And I don’t blame them. We did the same thing.

So I ask of the new administration, use some common sense please. Stop allowing ignorant politicians to drive the education bus. Teachers need and deserve your support. Involve them in all decisions that will affect them. Listen intently to what they have to say, and the act based upon their best ideas. Build the next state team with mature, experienced servant leaders. Expect them to have a servant’s heart and if they prove not to, then replace them. Know that your job as leaders is to serve and support. Be that person(s) you were many years ago when you were a teacher. Find that place in your mind and heart and operate from that feeling, motivation, love, and inspiration. Disempower politicians and bean counters, and EMPOWER teachers. They know what to do. Let’s allow them to do it with the absence of threat, and the presence of support and appreciation.

That’s a wrap. Thank you again to Paul Doyle. See you on Friday where we will take an even deeper look into what transpired last night.

In the meantime, 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 norinrad10@yahoo.com. Keep sending me your stuff and I’ll share as much as possible. 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!

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36 thoughts

  1. as usual, buggs et all quickly turn any attack on joseph’s performance into an attack due to his race. they have no other card to play. they do this intentionally, using the dog whistle of ‘racist’ to shut conversation down.

    RAE is too busy either crying or simply following the loudest voice to do anything – perhaps she needs to step aside if she is ‘in over her head’

  2. I have gotten used to Gentry’s antics, but I am incredibly disappointed in Buggs for making a correlation between Speering and the KKK. That is outlandish, hurtful, and divisive. Joseph’s authoritarian leadership style, favoritism, and particularly his turning all criticism of himself into matters of race is a complete abdication of his responsibilities. He’s had time to change course and focus on the students, but still prefers to make everything about himself and turn board meetings into circuses. He needs to go.

    1. is gentry planning on running for another office or something? she seems to be taking every chance to make this about her, and to grandstand.

      after reading phil william’s twitter thread, both sharon gentry AND joseph need to go.

  3. Everyone one is wrong. Me too.

    If the image that was conjured for the director and Ms. Buggs in reading that text was the KKK. That is legitimate. I validate their feelings and I am so, so sorry. Seriously. I have seen micro aggressions, I have seen blatant racist aggression all in this district. I have been in advertantly guilty due to white privilege, and ignorant lack of awareness, luckily I have friends that call me on it. I apologize for that, and if I could take away the hurt of those aggressions. I would. I can’t, What I can do is promise to do better, and keep learning. I cannot right the wrongs of the past or change history.

    But now what? I woke up today with the same issues with this district I had yesterday. The same issues with leadership, the board, with lack of teacher voice, lack of parent voice, distrust in the process of grievance, lack of teacher oversight in the adoption of curriculum, teacher support and teacher pay, All those issues are not resolved. All these issues are no discussion.

    I have already learned that I can’t take my issue to Hr, my boss’ boss, MNEA, and now the board floor.

    The public may not have seen them, because you may not know them, but I saw them. Teachers, teachers that a I know have real business with the board, real issues, and real solutions, if we will listen. If your issues happens to be favorable to the director, say removing the health care assessment penalty or making the missing of this deadline so incredibly obvious it can only be your fault. Dr. Joseph will nod along, and the crowd will listen patiently.

    However, if your issue, does not agree with the director you will be booed so loudly you will be unable to finish. Embarrassed, cat-called, name called. Oh yes, that happened last night.

    Teacher voice, parent voice, effectively silenced unless you will drop honey from your tongue for the director.

    Mistakes were made on both sides. Were they made by teachers and parents? No masks, no signs, they still showed up. They silently watched. And this administration board and director showed them the price for speaking. How this is not a gross example of fear and intimidation to silence detractors?

    I agree. The board and the director failed last night. Astronomically.

  4. As a teacher, union member, MNPS parent, and political activist, I considered myself a part of “the resistance”. Until 2 days ago. I’m not sure those attacking Joseph realize the extent of the damage done in the last few days. You can debate whose code words were more racist, who has the “moral high ground” ‘til your blue in the face. Joseph is in a better position than he was two days ago and fence sitters are feeling sorry for him and defending him when they weren’t before. Right or wrong, now, “getting rid of him” ain’t happening anytime soon. Those that want to continue the attacks on him, the title question is more important for you to answer than to fling at Joseph and Gentry, et al.

    1. I’ve said for months that anyone who thought he was going to be fired was fooling themselves. The focus needed to be on ensuring that he does not get a contract extension. His lack of leadership did not strengthen his position in that area. Many are seriously questioning today whether they want a circus for additional term or not. Personally I’m going to try and do what I’ve always done, and cover the issues. If he’s right ill acknowledge. If not I’ll criticize. But last night wasn’t a win for anybody, and anybody who considers it such is delusional.

      If you read me for the last couple years then you know that I’ve warning that this is where we are headed and now here we are.

      This is a bigger question now then who runs our schools, it’s moved into the category of we are as a city and how will interact with our neighbors in the future.

      I’ve never considered myself part of the “resistance” though I’ve likened writing this blog to being in French Resistance. I am what I’ve always been a proponent of quality leadership based on transparency and respect for stakeholders.

    2. I disagree. Joseph won’t last much longer. He made a dumb move yesterday by calling his pals in to create an illusion of support. Then Gentry could not hold order in the meeting and her lack of control was pitiful. I am not sure why Buggs felt the need to evoke such strong imagery except for the fact that it’s powerful, even if it’s false. Elrod is quickly proving that she is emotionally unstable and shouldn’t be left to do anything because of her propensity to burst into tears. Meanwhile I know of 8 teachers who resigned since Christmas. Rome is burning. Everyone sees it. You can’t hide the fact that the current leadership is destroying the city and the Jospeh administration is panicking. One protest is bad, 2 is worse. MNEA is complicit. Things look good for the surrounding counties. They will have few vacancies come July 1. MNPS will be left with a district comprised only of subs. We are the fastest growing district but we are growing in the category of certified attrition. Is that something to be proud of?

  5. I just saw ch 5 report at 5pm and Buggs continues to support someone who is destroying MNPS. Why? Teachers are absolutely afraid to speak. Teachers tend to be liberal and most really wanted to see joseph succeed but again and again and again he fails. It’s not that he won’t, it’s that he can’t. He simply can’t do the job. By protecting him Buggs, Gentry, and Pinkston show they don’t have the best interests of metro children in mind. They choose to protect a chauffeured emperor rather than an on the ground educator. The city of Nashville will be paying for Joseph’s sins for decades. But don’t blame him. Blame the 6 who allowed it! That will be something for Elrod to cry about.

  6. Oh good. Now Bob Mendes, while also stating he has no idea about what is going on, has also advanced the tired canard that attacks on Joseph are racially motivated. ‘I dont have a clue, but here’s the same line his supporters keep playing.’ Thanks bob.

  7. “When they go low, we go high.” By Michelle Obama. Clearly no one heeded her words last night. Ms. Buggs needed publicity and Jill speering’s mistake gave her the opportunity. It was disgusting watching her as a member of the board of education stooping to such a low. Fran Bush was a breath of fresh air! Thank heavens for her leadership! I’m appalled at the board’s behavior and the infighting. Our energies as educators and curators for teaching this city’s children should be better directed elsewhere. There so many things we could be doing with our time and money; instead our board and most mnps employees now mirror the divisiveness and hate and fingerpointing of our federal government. Deplorable that MNPS has devolved into this! I have lost all hope and faith in MNPS

  8. I wonder if before writing this if you asked any person of color how Speering’s text made them feel? Because I absolutely felt threatened as a black person when my friend showed me what was written. You call this a simple mistake—you’ve never been attacked by the KKK. You’ve never been call the “N” word. You don’t know what it’s like to be harmed simply because you are a darker skinned person. I do. And her words were not just a mistake—they were hurtful and threatening and…racist. Thank God it was posted to social media. Had it not been posted, can you imagine the riot that would have ensued? Can you imagine the damage that would have been done? These tactics were divisive—there has got to be a better way.

    Because of how Speering and Frogge dehumanize this man on social media, we will never have a qualified or capable candidate even if Joseph is fired. They are not doing what is best for th district by constantly attacking this man. Why would anyone want to work for this board when they can’t even treat each other with respect? Why would anyone come here to work for people who are going to encourage protests.

    I agree that we need new leadership. I think that Speering and Frogge need to step down. They are hurting our districts’ reputation.

    1. Yes, I talk to teachers and people of every race. I disagree with you, but that’s why we have conversations bc we all don’t have the same perception. Thank you for taking time to comment. I truly appreciate it.

      1. Hi, again. Just to clarify, did you talk to any teachers of color about the specific comment about the masks and how they made them feel? I did not mean to insinuate that you have not had contact with teachers of color, but I wanted to know if you had discussed this particular comment with any of them before you posted this blog?

        I am a huge proponent of public schools. I personally have worked in MNPS, along with another very large urban district, and my mom is a retired MNPS teacher. I just believe the fighting and unprofessional display of behavior by the board, across the board is hurting the whole district. It also hurts any chances that we have of hiring a highly-qualified, sought after Director. For example, I have several friends who are in positions of leadership in other large districts who love Nashville. After one, in particular, visited for a conference and saw the recording of the board meeting (we watch channel 3 often in our house), he said there is no way that he would ever consider applying for the Director position because of the tension, unprofessionalism, and blatant disrespect that the board members have for one another.

        I know that we are in our bubble, but we have to be mindful that everybody is watching. We have to be mindful that the decisions that we make now don’t just affect this school year but have ramifications for years to come.

        And for the person who said that perhaps I was insinuating that there was “no accountability for the Director,” please know that is an extreme statement and not what I meant at all. Of course for any system to function well, it must have checks and balances. I am simply making the observation that the board members are choosing to use unprofessional means (Facebook, Twitter) to get their points across in a manner that appears childish and disrespectful. An op-ed is fine, a healthy disagreement at the board table is fine, but posting your hatred on Facebook—it’s not a good example for our kids, the city, or the other people around the country who value public education and who are watching.

      2. I did. For some, it was very troubling. For some, it was a “meh”. Some were tired of everything being framed through the race lens. Some felt it demanded a greater response and some less. The point is we have a tendency to put all people in one catagory and say that some speak for all.

        I personally agree with a lot that you wrote. Right now I’m in the process of research the re-zoning of 2008-2009 because I think the anger from that conversation also frames some of the anger being expressed now.

        Again, I appreciate your very thoughtful comments, and they will give me more to chew on. I try never to think I have all of the answers, but I relentlessly try and pursue the right questions.

  9. @Anonymous and everyone else who has taken offense at those (i.e., Amy Frogge, Jill Speering, Fran Bush) who have tried every possible way to hold Shawn Joseph accountable for his fails and lapses, only to watch Sharon Gentry et al discredit them and give @MNPSDirector a pass.

    To be clear: What you are saying is that he cannot be held accountable, he cannot be held to any standard #fullstop, because to do so Is.To.Be.Racist. Seriously?

    It is well documented that quiet efforts were made through proper channels to shine the light, lift the veil, require that Shawn Joseph answer, be held accountable for his decisions and actions: ALL TO NO AVAIL. He opted to dodge, and Sharon Gentry opted to give him a pass. So as time went on and the fails and lapses grew more severe, these brave Board Reps turned to more drastic measures and, God bless them, they listened to our demoralized teachers and provided a forum to have their voices heard.

    Christiane Buggs was a disgrace at Tuesday’s Board meeting, as was Ed Kindall, as was Sharon Gentry, as was Shawn Joseph.

    As long as sJoseph remains Director of MNPS I will urge our Mayor and my Metro Councilman to withhold any increase in funding to schools budget, as @MNPSDirector has demonstrated interest only in mismanagement combined with zero transparency, combined with a complete deficit in leadership skills.

    It is past time for Shawn Joseph to go.
    It is apparently time for Sharon Gentry to step down.

    1. Please see my response above to your statement about no accountability. That, of course, is extreme, not healthy, and feels like an emotional response and not a logical or rational one. Unfortunately, your solution of asking Mayor Briel to withhold funds for the schools just hurts the students and the teachers, who already did not receive a step increase, while their health insurance went up.

      There has to be a better solution. Instead of fighting over social media, why not realize that this is what we have and make the best out of it. If this Director feels like a lose for you, then how about asking how can we make the best of what we have and get a win for our students and teachers.

      For instance, I have taken time off work to spend more time at my kids’ MNPS schools so that I can really have an understanding of what is happening…not just what is being posted and complained about. What can you do to make a viable difference for now and the future?

      1. >Instead of fighting over social media, why not realize that this is what we have and make the best out of it

        generally when you find yourself running in the wrong direction, the best thing to do is stop and turn around. not keep running.

      2. I’m in my kids schools weekly and in as many others that’ll have me. The problem with “just making do” is you can’t make meaningful change from the middle. We’ve tried over the last 2 years and we just keep losing people when they bump against the ceiling.

      3. Please DO NOT give Dr J & his admin any more money. They’ve wasted enough taxpayer funding as it is—-hefty raises for his friends, traveling so they can network all over the country (watch as they’ll leave for better jobs), paid consultant friends, remodeled central office……. He has no real plan just some pretty, glossy handouts. It’s chaos in the district & schools are getting less & less $ every year…..

      4. Oh yeah….don’t forget the new vehicles, additional central office positions (few even know what they do) while most schools lost positions because their budgets were cut, driver, law suits……

        “Exceeding Great Expectations”….only when it comes to spending, lack of planning, & lack of leadership. How many more properties will MNPS need to sell??

      5. re the withholding of any increase to the MNPS budget.
        To be clear: The rationale for that is clear and straightforward. As long as Shawn Joseph continues to mismanage and misappropriate, and as long as Sharon Gentry et al fail to hold him to account for those failures, then the funds that teachers and students are so very desperate for are not making it to the teachers and students. sJoseph is executing a fullout scam, one that Metro should take no part in #fullstop Show this man the door, and bring in a competent Director. Hell, appoint Chris Henson. It seems he has done a better job at the position serving as Interim than anyone the Board has hired to serve.

    2. someone should investigate the ‘consulting’ work Gentry has done for the Arbinger Institute…how much has she gotten from them and what did she actually do?

  10. I am finally coming to terms with the endless references to the “Nashville Way” I assumed it was a connection to the phrase or belief in Southern Hospitality but I think it means we all agree and when we don’t we throw smack into the other persons face until they agree with us.

    So any and all criticisms are about race regardless. No one can put down a list of all the accomplishments, all the mistakes item by item, line by line and review them for context and in turn how the Director or any of those on staff handled each crisis or issue. Then in turn look at those that were inherited, had been in existence prior to his arrival and not yet discovered, and those that were found under his watch. Line by line, a full list of items accountable to the Director. Then with careful analysis look at each as pros and cons and in turn the costs to the district that resulted. No because he is black? Really?

    As for the call to arms by Board Members and Directors to fill the meetings with supporters is not surprising in my years it happens. That said to find those with only tangential connection to the District itself let alone the individuals involved does seem odd. The “mask” comment on hindsight was odd and I assume not knowing this woman it was not meant in the most hideous of references but then again that is for others who do to sit down and have that as a direct and private conversation before taking it to the public area. I am sure if she had said “disguise” even that too shows that this individual needs someone to proof her comments before hitting send as many of us can attest is often needed.

    Look at the study on Eyewitness Testimony and how 20 people can see the same thing and in turn see and report completely different observations as we all bring to the table our own cognitive responses based on many factors that can include gender, race, etc. So I do see how a person of color would be irate and frankly I am not and I though “you have got to be effin kidding me” A response since living here I say a lot about a lot of things people say to me but I choose to either walk away or ask them if they understood what they were saying and how I heard it vs their intent and meaning. We all can have communication issues regardless when things are heated or we don’t know the speaker well enough to excuse or explain their words.

    But what stood out to me was the lack of leadership qualities that this Joseph person possesses. I recall being in the library the day he was running from Phil Williams and I thought it was a reality show until I got home. I often come home and flip on the news and cannot believe what I see and so again a reporter doing his job is a racist too? Really? We are going to simply use this as the endless loop I call the Starbucks moment. And at that point I will do the Nashville Way and just walk away. I cannot be beat into submission to accept denial as a form of truth.

    So supporters list all the accomplishments, haters all the criticisms. Hand those to the Mediator and let that be the process to begin the review of the allegations and emotional charges that seem to focus on race and not the job for which he was hired.

    1. A mediator will not improve the situation. The fact of the matter is there have been hundreds of mis-steps and the board members reactions of support for him are what is drawing a no confidence from all. I work for the district and I hear what people say from schools and central office. Joseph has no allies because no one believes him (or his chiefs) when he speaks. The constant lies are too difficult to overlook. Lies to parents and to staff are inexcusable. We need a new leader at the helm and then healing will begin. Until that we will just become more famous as the rest of the country watches us flounder in failure.

      1. A Mediator must be used between the Board and the Director without an intermediary there will be nothing accomplished. This is akin to Coaching, Counseling or Therapy in a way that without some third party with nothing in the game but a way of finding compromise and reconciliation. I would not terminate his contract without due cause and without clear legal reasons regardless of lies and allies and the rest you need legal facts not feelings.

        I work in the district and see and hear plenty and again until I see valid proof and documentation I can only say it is hearsay/rumor/gossip. Stick to the facts and figures and there is more than ample documentation about that which should enable the Board to review Joseph and in turn enable both to decide if this is necessary to go forward. Again everyone needs a calm down and regardless of personal feelings a third party is necessary at times. This is one of those times.

  11. I agree wholeheartedly and funny I just had surgery today and I told them that while I respect them I don’t trust anyone here as I have been repeatedly been so abused by many others here in Nashville (including many at Vanderbilt where it is being done) it takes a toll to truly find that powerful emotional belief. But even Divorce which is the most horrific experience I found a Mediator to be a cheaper more reasonable way to resolve it as they had no fish in the game. The key is that Mediator and that will be near impossible to find here so this fish must be found in outside waters.

  12. Paul Doyle and I worked in the central office in the days when the Curriculum and Instruction Department’s mission statement was short, simple, and to the point: “Helping teachers help students succeed.” And that’s what we did.

    It is time to return to those days.

  13. @Anonymous … re:
    “Unfortunately, your solution of asking Mayor Briel to withhold funds for the schools just hurts the students and the teachers, who already did not receive a step increase, while their health insurance went up.”
    The last year that I was still on payroll as an MNPS teacher, a National Board Certified teacher with a Master’s Degree, my take home pay was less than it had been the year before. So I know something about the pay hit that teachers suffer; I also know more than a little something about how much $ comes out of their personal accounts to fund their classroom bc Metro fails. More than that, I understand more than words can say how demoralizing it is to be nickel-and-dimed when the Director himself flaunts extravagant waste and the Board fails to hold him to account. Having walked this road, I have zero reason to suppose that $ gifted by Council to the MNPS budget will actually filter down to students, teachers and schools in any meaningful way. Though, we can all be sure hundreds of thousands to millions will find its way into the Director’s pocket as well as his peeps + so many other wasteful payouts — so many, we won’t be able to count them or track them. So, no, until sJoseph goes, I’ll not support this Council handing out any more $ to this Board. At least, not until there is a wholesale change in their way of doing business.

    This Board has one job, and they have failed miserably at that.

    ***
    “Because of how Speering and Frogge dehumanize this man on social media, we will never have a qualified or capable candidate even if Joseph is fired.”

    That’s just flat-out false.
    There are so many men and women of high integrity, of impeccable character, who are so very worthy of the office. They have not “dehumanized” sJoseph; they have merely tried calling him to account — which is the Board’s solitary job, btw. Their job has been made all the more difficult bc of those Board members who opt instead to give him cover, no matter what, no matter how egregious his lapses and offenses: They have made crystal clear: there is zero standard to which sJoseph will be held, no bar he is expected to clear. He has brought the spotlight and controversy upon himself through his own doing, and his *peeps* do Davidson County no favor when they give him a pass. They have failed us all; most shamefully, they have failed the students whom they serve.

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