What: Graduate School of Education Panel on Charters and Vouchers
When: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 5:00 to 7:00 PM
Where: Relix Variety Theatre 1208 N. Central

Come join me and my colleagues for a lively discussion. Here is the announcement:

Please join the GSE community for socialization and discussion of timely issues facing the education community—charter schools and vouchers. While much is written in the media and espoused by the politicians and pundits on these two subjects, little of what makes to the general public is well-grounded in research. We have a responsibility to be knowledgeable as possible about these two volatile topics, thus the Community Relations Committee of the GSE has put together a panel discussion to expand our awareness and knowledge of the evidence and research as well as some of the beliefs and perspectives associated with the topics. A cash bar and light refreshments will be provided in a unique and fun venue.

Tamara Shepherd's picture



I do hope all BoE members and commissioners will get an invite?

Stick's picture

That is an excellent

That is an excellent question... I'm not sure how widely this is being advertised, so please spread the word.

B Harmon's picture


An invite needs to go to our Knoxville delegation in Nashville as well.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I thought of that, Becky, then noted that the event is scheduled for a Wednesday, during their session?

At the least, though, having an invite from panelists in hand could introduce to legislators some "hometown experts" to whom they might choose to carry their questions later?

Assuming said legislators don't think they already have all the answers?!

R. Neal's picture

School board email/contact

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Another thought: I've been concerned to think that my own education undergraduate at UTC isn't particularly informed on these timely issues, either.

Are UTK's education undergrads to be invited to the event?

Stick's picture

The announcement was college

The announcement was college wide, so I assume that the undergrads received an invitation. Since our teacher candidates are no longer exposed to 'foundations' coursework, I'd say they are not well versed in these kind of policy issues.

Indya's picture

Charter/Voucher panel at UT Grad School of Ed

Unfortunately the panel discussion coincides with a School Board meeting at the same exact time so we won't be able to attend. I will look for any coverage and insight.

People keep debating the extent to which charters/vouchers affect academic outcomes. (Most research I've seen makes the benefits seem mixed and small at best). But for most voucher/charter proponents, including many of our Reps in Nashville, the academic outcomes aren't the point at all. More choice (or perception of choice) and more competition with the 'government monopoly' on education is the main goal. It's ideological first and foremost, not about helping kids.

Stick's picture


Quite correct... However, the way the policy is marketed to the public is centered around two issues: the achievement gap and the global economy. The idea being that vouchers/charters/ed markets will lead to higher overall achievement [particularly for low performing student populations] and will therefore increase our global competitiveness. Neither of those assertions are backed up by the research literature.

michael kaplan's picture

maybe the entire school board

maybe the entire school board should come to the panel discussion. in a sense, the future of the school board itself is at stake.

kcarson's picture

room for compromise?

Wonder if the BOE could start its meeting a little early (possibly 4:30) and this event could start a little later (possibly 5:30) ?

Stick's picture

The actual discussion panel

The actual discussion panel begins at 5:30. The timing isn't optimal, but we all have strange teaching schedules.

B Harmon's picture

Record it

How about seeing if the event can be recorded and the video available by a link somewhere.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Hope we didn't make you sorry you posted an annoucement, Stick!

And Indya and Karen, it's so good to see your interest. Hopefully, see you there?

Tamara Shepherd's picture


This post only to bump back onto the homepage Stick's two week-old announcement of tonight's Graduate School of Education discussion panel at the Relix Variety Theatre.

From 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., he said, with discussion starting at 5:30.

Bbeanster's picture

The panel discussion was

The panel discussion was outstanding.

Unfortunately I only had 500 words (or so), and I expended most of them on a fascinating and subversive guy named Richard Allington. After the event, I checked with him to see if writing about some of his observations would get him in trouble, and he said (in effect) heck no.

Further, he told me he came here from Florida when his wife got offered a job by UT. Said he'd had a belly full of dealing with Jeb Bush.

Anyhow, y'all ought to google this guy. He's a pistol. Somebody in power should listen to him. Seriously -- go read about him.

Stick was good, too. It was a seriously smart bunch of folks.



jcgrim's picture

Good question: Can an academic get in trouble for writing?

The answer is yes in this corporate education reform movement. Dick Allington is protected by tenure but, if not, he would be subjected to the whims of the TN corporate state. Fear of state retaliation is the reason this panel was not video recorded.

It's chilling that in the country that prides itself in upholding principles of free speech that the government and their corporate owners intimidate educators for expressing their opinions in public. Yet, that is exactly what is happening across the education landscape.

Kevin Huffman, the corporate privatizer's puppet, punished the Nashville school board for defying his will to open a charter school. The witch hunt engendered with the invalid TEAM/TAP teacher evaluation and loss of due process protections are designed to bully educators into silence. State universities dependent on tax dollars have little recourse against the know-nothing authoritarians overseeing education in TN who will yank tax money any disagreement with their corrupt agendas.

This is the state of TN education. The future of democracy is not bright. However there is a group of parents in Nashville who are uniting to take back control of our public schools.Join them. Until this reign of terror in TNDoEd is gone, resistance must come from parents.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I wrote Stick this morning to explain my absence and ask about the turn out. He said the GSE was pleased and that you'd made it. Looking forward to your column, then.

Thanks for the links. I love subversives. :-)

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