Mon
Nov 11 2013
10:47 am
By: Tamara Shepherd

Right or wrong (and contrary to how and when I told Randy I would share this more publicly), I have essentially announced at the KNS site my candidacy for the Knox County Board of Education, School Board District 6.

The subject matter of today's editorial was too enticing: Listen to teachers while building on reform successes.

Thank you for the encouragement several of you gave me to make this daunting decision. I'll be sure to follow up soon with a more formal introduction to my campaign.

Topics:
R. Neal's picture

Good for you! Donila weighs

Good for you!

Donila weighs in...

Treehouse's picture

A contest!

The beautiful people vs. the damn hippies. May the best fighters win.

bizgrrl's picture

Hey, wait, Tamara fits both

Hey, wait, Tamara fits both categories.

You'll do great, Tamara. Keep up the good work.

Average Guy's picture

Stolen from Mabe in another post;

Tweed supposedly said, "My constituents cannot read, but dammit they can see those pictures!"

Stay with the KISS method. Simple graphs, forward YouTube videos of the teachers and have one or two page briefs of your positions you can hand out.

It is a time where people should know how the clock works, but most folks just want the time. Or only have time for the “time”.

Glad you’re in the mix and thank you for stepping up.

Observer's picture

Stay with the KISS method

Please Tamara, that is the best advice you will get. If you hear nothing else, please do that one thing.

Lloyd Daugherty says talk about three things. I will suggest three. I'm sure others can suggest their three.

1.) Fire McIntyre
2.) Undo McIntyre micro-management
3.) Teach Singapore Math in parallel with Common Core so these kids have some possible future. (link...)

AnonymousOne's picture

1. Fire McINtyre. 2. Make

1. Fire McINtyre.

2. Make the administrators in Central Office understand they are there to support the teachers in the classroom, and not to have the teachers kowtowing to them.

3. End standardized testing of kindergartners. That will get you a lot of parental support.

Average Guy's picture

And to expand on my You Tube comment,

Ethan Young's video is now at 86,797 and counting. In three days.

Getting the word out no longer has to be expensive.

lonnie's picture

Great that your running!I

Great that your running!I hope four more candidates challenge the other four incumbent school board members that are up for re-election next year. The date to begin picking up qualifying petitions is Nov. 22. The only way to prevent public education from being destroyed is to get rid of the leaders that are destroying it. That means from Haslam to our school board.

mld

Bbeanster's picture

For the past decade or so,

For the past decade or so,every year just before New Year's, S. Clark has looked the other way long enough for me to name my own personal "Person of the Year," which I "award" to somebody I covered over the previous 12 months who made a difference.

One year (I cannot remember which), it was Tamara, which might surprise some folks here, given the way she and I have gone at it from time to time. Tamara Shepherd absolutely drives me nuts sometimes.

But a whole lot of the time she amazes me with the depth of her knowledge and passion for education. She's a digger and a fighter who has no peer. Electing her to serve on the school board would be like , like, like..... I'm kinda stuck for a suitable simile:

Planting a burr under their saddle?
Sounding a wakeup call? Lighting a fire under their butts?
Rolling a hand grenade into their midst?

She's pissed off a lot of people (including me, sometimes), but she's relentless and smart. Even if she doesn't win, her campaign will ensure that important issues get aired,

And if she does win, boy, howdy.

Min's picture

You go, girl.

I can't give a lot, but I would like to contribute to your campaign, once you get it up and running. Just message me the details.

Greg H's picture

Just give the Min

$25 Heh,heh,heh.

Min's picture

Ba-dump-bump.

Greg will be here all week. Don't forget to tip your waitress.

Average Guy's picture

A nexus graph

Ms. Shepherd, one of your criticisms seems to be you see connections where others don’t.

As someone who’s followed your work, and at times found it incredulous myself until I tried to disprove it, I think you paint a pretty clear picture. But not everyone will take the time to dig through all the data to make the connections of how many ed reformers there are, who they are and how they’re connected.

Drafting a nexus graph like this one, could be helpful in helping people understand.

AnonymousOne's picture

While I think the reform

While I think the reform issue is important, keep it local.

Show the incompetency, political cronyism, and failures and fabrications of McIntyre & Co. It will be mean, nasty, and ugly, but that is just the truth. And that is what it will take.

Average Guy's picture

I'd agree not to lead with it,

but have the info handy. The cronyism doesn't end in Knox.

I know school elections are nonpartisan and what I'm about to type is nasty, but such is modern politics.

McIntyre is Arne Ducan's (Broad acolite as well) guy and Ducan is Obama's guy.

From a Broad annual report;

“The election of President Barack Obama and his appointment of Arne Duncan, former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, as the U.S. secretary of education, marked the pinnacle of hope for our work in education reform. In many ways, we feel the stars have finally aligned.

With an agenda that echoes our decade of investments—charter schools, performance pay for teachers, accountability, expanded learning time and national standards—the Obama administration is poised to cultivate and bring to fruition the seeds we and other reformers have planted.”

(link...)

McIntyre is simply a foot soldier for generals that are pretty unpopular in the south.

AnonymousOne's picture

While I think the reform

While I think the reform issue is important, keep it local.

Show the incompetency, political cronyism, and failures and fabrications of McIntyre & Co. It will be mean, nasty, and ugly, but that is just the truth. And that is what it will take.

Mary Wilson's picture

Great news, Tamara! Congratulations

for your decision to step up and work to better PUBLIC education here in Knox County. Our super teachers must have many more advocates to tell their story and influence STATE Government to stop the destruction of lives and reputations of these qualified individuals whose primary goal is teaching our children how to achieve their highest goals...with compassion AND skill.

If I can personally help with your campaign, let me know.

Knoxgal's picture

Beware of Frank Niceley

Is there a way to wage a campaign against McIntyre that doesn't give Frank Niceley fodder to advance his own campaign for an elected superintendent?

fischbobber's picture

Yes

Establish clear parameters and a clear job description for the superintendent. Have distinct and well stated goals for the school system. Recognize the teachers union at the county level. Have distinct policy in place and search for someone to implement that policy.

Make sure the goals of the school system are clear, concise and achievable.

In short, set the position up like it's supposed to be set up instead of acting like a community wandering in the wilderness looking for a savior.

Then force McIntyre to defend his record. Be thorough.

Bbeanster's picture

The biggest problem with

The biggest problem with appointing a superintendent:

The board members responsible for bringing the superintendent here tend to excuse and defend said superintendent (trying to make it gender-neutral, but, what the hell, we've had three male appointed super and zero women. Last/only elected superintendent was Mildred Doyle, and she finally got beat in, what – 1978?).

Anyhow, the board members will stand by their man come hell or high water. It takes turnover on the board to make that change. This superintendent has a tin ear and has treated human beings like interchangeable widgets since he arrived, and the BOE members have pretty excused/approved every move. Look how long it took for them to get the gumption to make him leave the poor custodians alone.

fischbobber's picture

Doyle

I'm not sure of the years either but I graduated in 1977 and Hoffmeister was already in. 75? Maybe? It seems that I was in high school because I remember a rumor that Bill Clabo (old Farragut football coach) was her hand-picked choice to succeed her. Her loss screwed that plan up.

Somebody's picture

The biggest problem(s) with

The biggest problem(s) with electing a superintendent:

1. The candidate pool is no longer nation-wide and education-profession-centered. The pool becomes limited to Knox County, and would be politician-centric. It wouldn't be a part-time politician like the school board, either, but would instead be a full-time politician like, say, Mr. Nicely, or what about John Duncan III? He's going to have to find a new starting point to step on and climb back into his father's seat.

2. While it may be the case that the school board circles the wagons to support their current superintendent, it's also true that whenever enough becomes enough, the authority exists to send him packing without waiting for the next election (or a conviction). Seems like they did that with the last guy.

Whatever the problems may be with the current superintendent, having the position be appointed means that it is at least possible for the community to decide what its education priorities are, and then seek out the best person to pursue those priorities. For better or for worse, the debate will be focused on education. If the position were to be elected, you would get more local politics, and the debate would be focused on local politics. More local politics is not what this town needs.

Bbeanster's picture

Yeah, I fotgot to mention

Yeah, I fotgot to mention that I am NOT for electing a superintendent.

I am so familiar with all the arguments you laid out that I didn't think to mention them.

But.

How do you get around the "Stand By Your Man" factor?

And the last guy's offenses were so egregious (many of them personal, and potentially putting the county in legal jeopardy) that the board finally reached the point where they could no longer ignore it. Shouldn't take that long.

Somebody's picture

Honestly, for me, I wish

Honestly, for me, I wish there was more clarity with regard to the issues of education reform themselves. If that clarity were there, it might be easier to hold the superintendent to account.

Right now, there's a lot of noise all around, and I still can't really get a grasp on the issues. I find truly disturbing the accounts of teachers being evaluated based on factors over which they individually have little or no control. Scoring teachers based on another teacher's students' outcomes makes no sense whatsoever. Not taking into account serious headwinds like poverty also makes no sense. It's unclear if the whole effort is being driven by this, but it does seem apparent that at least some of these "reformers" are driving at voucherizing public education, which would be a horrible, horrible travesty for children living in low-income neighborhoods.

On the other hand, I see the "other side" making statements jarringly similar to the sort of nonsensical commentary that usually comes from the Tea Party. The reaction to common core and other associated initiatives is not (for many at least) a criticism of over-reliance on testing or on the scientific or statistical methodology, but is instead a wholesale rejection of any kind of testing and of any use of statistical outcomes measurement. (Science is bad.) I've even heard a national advocate of this side of things (her name escapes me- she was on Colbert) assert (in all seriousness) that there is in fact no problem with public education that needs major repair in the first place.

Winding my way back to your question, circling the wagons isn't so unpredictable when the "other side" is, frankly, overcome with extremist rhetoric.

Not to give you an assignment exactly, but this issue sure seems like one that is desperately crying out for sane, in-depth journalism that gets beyond false equivalencies and he-said-she-said we-report-you-decide. As noted elsewhere, this issue does not seem to break along traditional liberal-conservative lines, but there are nonetheless entrenched "camps." Entrenchment does not necessarily correlate with The Truth, and over time almost universally deviates from it in pursuit of the destruction of "the other side" (or "other-other side," as the case may be...) As best as I can tell, it seems like there are both good ideas and serious concerns somewhere in the middle of all this, but it's being subsumed in all directions with a whole lot of insane rhetoric and mind-boggling stupidity.

So it would be great if we voters could have some help sorting all that out, so that we can then press the school board to hold the school administration to account for implementing structural changes that produce the outcomes we all should want: kids getting an education that prepares them to be good citizens, productive contributors to society and the economy, and decent, thoughtful people with a functional ability to learn about and understand the world around them. Is that so much to expect?

Rachel's picture

Somebody,I love you.

Somebody,

I love you. :)

Srsly, this is what I've been trying to say, but you said it a lot better.

And before somebody says "haven't your read all the posts and researched all the links we gave you?" well no, and I'm better informed and have more time than most people, who either won't or can't follow all of that. That's why you need to boil all this down to a clear presentation that folks can understand.

And I'm not talking about reducing stuff to slogans; I'm talking about presenting a large quantity of difficult information using what mathematicians call "elegance."

That's not an easy assignment, but it's a necessary one.

Stick's picture

Ends and Means

There are many reasons for the lack of clarity around the issues, and the problem is not unique to education policy. I'd say the best place to start is with the ends we envision, because the dominant idea today equates education with job training. It looks nothing like the humanist principles you say "we should all want."

Bbeanster's picture

On the other hand, I see the

On the other hand, I see the "other side" making statements jarringly similar to the sort of nonsensical commentary that usually comes from the Tea Party. The reaction to common core and other associated initiatives is not (for many at least) a criticism of over-reliance on testing or on the scientific or statistical methodology, but is instead a wholesale rejection of any kind of testing and of any use of statistical outcomes measurement. (Science is bad.) I've even heard a national advocate of this side of things (her name escapes me- she was on Colbert) assert (in all seriousness) that there is in fact no problem with public education that needs major repair in the first place.

A wholesale rejection of any kind of testing? That's what you heard from the teachers and the student who spoke at the BOE meeting last week? It's not what I heard.

Somebody's picture

If you watch the student, he

If you watch the student, he says "the task of teaching is never quantifiable."

Observer's picture

clarity for Somebody

Common Core isn't confusing. If you can take ten minutes, it is pretty easy to see why issues with Common Core are non-partisan.

(link...)

Somebody's picture

I got through two of the five

I got through two of the five videos, and they are certainly chock full of Tea Party dog whistles. This does not impress me.

Stick's picture

+1

+1

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Another concern with electing a superintendent is that it strips an elected school board of its supervisory and often its policymaking authority. The board then functions in essentially an advisory capacity, much like boards do in those districts to have adopted mayoral control of schools.

For the record, I have long supported an appointed superintendent.

In any evaluation of governance models, I think it important not to base one's decisions on either the personalities or the ideologies of persons currently holding the affected offices, as the model has to work going forward.

And I don't know how long you've lived in Knox County, but around 2002-ish yours truly was the party to have contrived the plan to defeat the second reading of a local ordinance that would have asserted the right to elect a supe in just Knox, a home rule county.

The ordinance had passed on first reading with a smattering of bipartisan dissent, but our four Dems on the dais were split. I observed that if just three of those four Dems could be compelled to vote with the minority, the ensuing seven (of 19) votes would be adequate to defeat the ordinance on second reading.

I researched and drafted a resolution to emanate from our local Dem party charging Dems on the commission to uphold their oaths, state law, and the case law relating to that state law, then carried it to the first (and last, I think) Dem board of governors meeting I'd ever attended.

The Dems adopted it and accompanied me days later to the Commission meeting at which the second reading of the ordinance was to be considered. We introduced it prior to that vote, giving Dems cover to break from the majority.

Repub Commissioner John Grieves, who was leading the charge for the ordinance, was a bit thrown off and asked if Dems had actually "hired an attorney" to write the resolution. We said "no" and he asked from where it had come, so I raised my hand.

On voting, three Dems did break from the majority (M Cawood strayed) and we held on to our smattering of Repubs. Together, they made for the seven votes needed to defeat the measure.

After the meeting, former school board member Diane Jablonski approached me to tell me that was "brilliant" and she "should have thought of it," but Repub commissioner John Grieves approached me to sneer that I "sure knew how to work a commission."

Actually, except for copying their Oath of Office from somewhere, every last one of those legal citations I used in the resolution I'd lifted directly from the court filings relating to the lawsuit then open between school board and commission.

If Grieves or anybody else on commission had been keeping up with their workload they would have recognized them as such and called me out for relying on an argument that was still being weighed in court chambers just down the hall from the Large Assembly Room. I think they call the tactic "playing chicken?" Still gives me a chuckle...

But I digress. I support an appointed supe, with the acknowledgement that the model places a lot of responsibility on an elected board to do their due diligence.

Observer's picture

Who is more respected on Common Core?

Who is more respected on Common Core? Knox Schools Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre, or 17 year old Farragut High Senior Ethan Young?

You decide.

Dr. Jim McIntyre 205 YouTube views in one year and two months. (link...)

Ethan Young 103,935 YouTube views in five days.
(link...)

Bbeanster's picture

Average Guy, you hit on

Average Guy, you hit on something I haven't seen mentioned before.

This is more of a Chamber of Commerce Party effort than a partisan thing.

And Common Core's bitterest opponents, until now, have come from the right wing. Now, it appears that it's under attack from several directions, and being defended by corporatists (for lack of a better word).

Watching Inside Tennessee Sunday, I wanted to throw something at the panelists, who all agreed that the newly-announced test scores neutralized, maybe demolished, the complaints from the teachers. Progressive Gail Kerr's editorial in the Tennessean Sunday was an eye opener -- it ridiculed teachers and was a valentine to Kevin Huffman.

This is perplexing stuff.

Average Guy's picture

7 out of 10 home scenario;

Ms. Shepherd knocks and gets in for a talk.

She spends 15 minutes on her platform.
The family spends 15 on how "Obama is ruining the country!".

If after 30minutes the candidate says; "did you know, the problems (Broad philosophy) the teachers have with the local superintendent are in part coming from the Obama administration?", would that be out of bounds? The candidate would not only get their attention, but probably their vote. Like I said, nasty, but that doesn't it make it untrue and ineffective.

And the complaints from the teachers (and parents) seem to be more about the "how" than the "what". It's they who've proved the "what" can be done. The reformers keep trying to ignore the human (capital?) cost to get it done. Doesn't look like the teachers are going to let them.

Rachel's picture

I hope she's prepared to tell

I hope she's prepared to tell people which party she's in and what her stance on abortion is. Oh, and whether she's a good Christian. I guarantee you that more than one voter will ask her every one of those questions.

Average Guy's picture

Yes, we are where we are

and they will ask. But only my scenario relates to "local" education. Local education is about national policy.

There's not a sliver of difference between Haslam/Huffman and Obama/Duncan as it relates to education.

But this State's Republicans, including Haslam, have gotten a lot of traction out of unadulterated Obama hatin'.

Speaking for myself, I'd have no problem busting up Haslam's education plans using his own wedge.

AnonymousOne's picture

A campaign slogan of "I'm

A campaign slogan of "I'm against McIntyre" will probably suffice in 9 out of 10 homes to get their votes. The rest is just noise.

Observer's picture

now you are seeing it

"This is more of a Chamber of Commerce Party effort than a partisan thing."

Too many people believe the solutions can only come from liberals and progressives. You may not like it. But the right wing was dead on with Common Core. It doesn't mean you have to date them or marry them. Move on. Call it a blind squirrel tripping over an acorn. There are not enough liberals and progressives to stop Common Core. It has to be non-partisan. A big tent.

In fact, Common Core doesn't have to be stopped. A blended curriculum can be the work around.

You have to accept Common Core to get the state and federal money. There is no choice. But a wise Superintendent could blend in Singapore Math with Common Core Math. That is why McIntyre has to be fired. He will not allow a blended curriculum because Gov. Haslam will not allow a blended curriculum.

Take the Common Core money and blend a curriculum that won't doom these kids to STEM schools. Or worse.

Wake up and smell the coffee. This is about making sure that there are automotive mechanics and people to work at McDonald's and Applebee's. The corporatists are the ones who invented this. They don't care if we import the Doctors, the IT people, the accountants. Now the lawyers, oh they care that they be from here. That's is who the corporatists are. Apple and Microsoft make billions from Common Core instruction programs while these kids end up in STEM schools. If they get that far.

You want fries with that? That is what Common Core is about.

schull's picture

There's nothing wrong with

There's nothing wrong with working as an auto mechanic, a service most adults rely on from time to time. We aren't all going to fix our cars. And as a cook I can certainly say that enough people enjoy what I do to keep me busy. There is certainly value and validity in any honest work, whether or not someone else wants to do that work.

Min's picture

No.

Common Core is about further enriching the corporate testing cartel. They don't really care what kind of future the students pursue, just how much money that can make off of them now.

Greg H's picture

Maybe CC is what you say...

but without appropriate comparisons, it is impossible to know whether we are doing a good, bad or indifferent job of educating students.
If every state or school district creates their own curriculum and nobody takes any of the stupid standardized tests - we got nothing. Just sayin' bailing on Common Core or standardized tests is easy to say and hard to do.

lonnie's picture

Thanks for stating the truth.

Thanks for stating the truth.

barkers's picture

Common Core and Singapore Math

Achieve, the organization that helped develop Common Core, used Singapore Math as a model for developing the math standards. According to Achieve, the Common Core standards and the benchmarks used in Singapore Math line up fairly well. In other words, a Singapore Math curriculum most likely will meet the Common Core standards. There is no "blending" necessary. In Kentucky, the first state to adopt Common Core, the Lexington and Louisville systems, among others, have been using Singapore Math.

Observer's picture

Editorial supporting Singapore Math?

Yes, you are correct. Teaching Singapore Math in parallel with Common Core is curriculum consistent and can be done and is being done in other places.

Will you advocate this for Knox County in an Editorial? So far Dr. McIntyre will not comment on Singapore Math despite being asked multiple times. Perhaps you could get him to be less evasive?

It's for a good cause.

AnonymousOne's picture

You can appoint a decent

You can appoint a decent superintendent, but that's not the way it's done here. They appoint a weak sister, knowing full well they'll have to-go-along, to get-a-long with the powers-that-be, the COC, etc.

Same way with UT coaches. They'd rather pick a yes man and dump him in 3 years than pick a real leader who may not put up with their BS.

Appoint Tony Norman.

Rachel's picture

Let me say upfront that I

Let me say upfront that I have not always been happy with the superintendents appointed by the school board.

But I strongly support having an appointed super - or maybe I should say I strongly oppose electing a super, and for the same reason I oppose electing a law director. Most voters, me included, have absolutely no qualifications for judging the merits of candidates for these offices. On top of that, an awful lot of people get elected around here not because they are best qualified, but because they have the right letter next to their name, or belong to the GOB network.

And electing a super limits us to local candidates. I'm all for finding a local person who is well-qualified, but that doesn't always work.

AnonymousOne's picture

Appoint Norman.

Appoint Norman.

Bbeanster's picture

Norman who?

Norman who?

AnonymousOne's picture

See above. Tony Norman.

See above. Tony Norman. Experienced classroom teacher. Nobody's "boy."

Bbeanster's picture

Phew! I was scared you meant

Phew!
I was scared you meant this guy: (link...)

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

I said:

If Grieves or anybody else on commission had been keeping up with their workload they would have recognized them as such and called me out for relying on an argument that was still being weighed in court chambers just down the hall from the Large Assembly Room. I think they call the tactic "playing chicken?" Still gives me a chuckle...

I was thinking about this post last night and realized that you may or may not recall that, soon after I presented this argument in that resolution, the chancellor ruled in summary judgment for the school board on the points they advanced using the same argument I had borrowed from them (and the same legal citations).

I therefore want to clarify that the risk I took in incorporating those citations into that resolution as I did related to timing, not to the ultimate credibility of the argument itself.

That is, I was not knowingly advancing any bogus argument, because I wouldn't do that.

Carry on.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Somebody said:

The reaction to common core and other associated initiatives is not (for many at least) a criticism of over-reliance on testing or on the scientific or statistical methodology, but is instead a wholesale rejection of any kind of testing and of any use of statistical outcomes measurement. (Science is bad.)

Somebody, I hope you recall the appreciation I've extended to you previously for your contributions here and I'm relieved to think you better understand my objections to the TEAM/APEX model.

I tried to dig up that previous comment I made on the subject of testing that so rankled you (I thought that it was on a blog Stick created), but couldn't immediately find it.

My recollection was that my comment was to reject what we're reading into TVAAS data specifically and that it was not any wholesale rejection of standardized testing per se (and for the record, I'm a parent who paid $600 just this school year to enroll my son in an online course offered by Kaplan to better ensure his strong ACT score).

If anyone should be able to dig up that comment and it should reveal that that's not quite what I said, I'll need to apologize for an angry outburst that didn't fully describe my frustration.

I don't think my skepticism of how we're using TVAAS data is any Tea Party-ish sentiment. One doesn't have to be a statistician to understand that the data only pinpoint where growth did or did not occur, but don't truly assist in a determination of why growth did not occur for selected students. This, I believe, is due to statisticians' inability to incorporate into the formula the myriad outside factors influencing students' growth.

Folks on both sides of the political aisle share this common sense realization, whether or not they're mathematicians (and I have no problem conceding that I'm not one).

...and Greg H said (in regard to Common Core):

...but without appropriate comparisons, it is impossible to know whether we are doing a good, bad or indifferent job of educating students.

Greg, I want to point out here that it was just last week that I linked an Ed Week article to the fact that we now have two different state consortia to have developed to different national assessments approaching "read aloud" accommodations for special ed students in two different ways.

I'm still on the fence regarding the propriety of the CC curriculum itself, but it should be obvious to us that the two assessments to be implemented to measure students' mastery of it, varying as they do in their approaches, will not allow meaningful national comparisons among students, which was the whole point of adopting CC in the first place.

I am therefore put off by more meaningless data to come.

And finally, Rachel, having known and respected you for as long as I have, I remain incredulous that you don't take exception to the public processes to have brought us so many of these reform policies.

For starters, Indya Kinncanon, whose praises you often sing, attached her signature of endorsement (as former school board chair) to a 267 page federal grant application she had not been allowed to read. So did every other urban school board chair, of course, as did a slew of state legislators. Why wouldn't a public process of that sort give a chill to any and every onlooker supportive of transparency (and of informed decision making)? Why wouldn't Indya herself be deeply angered to have been compromised this way?

As to your recurring demand that I explain and defend why I believe Jim McIntyre's departure might be instrumental in helping us reverse the most egregious of these reform policies, we've heard from several quarters which are the policies he has implemented in excess of those required by state and federal mandate.

As I've reported previously, it was Indya herself who first advised me that the school board has other choices available to them in the way of local teacher evaluation models and that they have a window of opportunity annually in which to make any change (and Indya also told me herself that she had not understood APEX was the work of Battelle for Kids and not Nakia Towns in the Central Office, as did two other school board members concede their prior ignorance on this point, but that's another story).

Other instances of the board implementing policies McIntyre has pushed in excess of those required by state and federal mandate include delivering the SAT 10 to very young students and now incorporating student surveys of their teachers into our already-flawed teacher evaluation model, we're told.

Naturally, you may depend on me to authoritatively verify these two allegations and I'm working on that now, although I find it prudent to rely on the authoritative word of education experts outside Knox County.

And finally, Rachel, I have to extend the same condemnation of your lackadaisical inquiry into these matters as I had for my old friend Anne's: If you don't follow the "endless citations," you necessarily forfeit any qualification to opine on them. I just don't know how else to say it.

Sigh. Thanks to every one of you for this feedback so helpful in pinpointing potential static in my message.

AG and others, my apologies, too, for this post of probably 1600 words rather than my customary 600. I hear you on this subject of my need to convey these numerous and often obtuse concerns much more succinctly than I have been (and to "keep my message local"). Damned if that won't be hard to do.

Greg H's picture

Thanks for the reply on CC

To be completely honest, I don't know the details of implementing Common Core well enough to have an informed opinion.
As for "appropriate comparisons" or "appropriate measures" I think we should get away from simple, multiple choice, standardized tests as the only metrics that matters. A multi-year longitudinal qualitative study of the college and career (and life!) success of a large number of students would be oh, so very nice! That would get to the heart of the matter: not just "we said we are teaching X and yes, the students learned x", but also, "students learned x, applied x and that helped them succeed in their careers and personal lives." That would be success metrics nirvana!

Rachel's picture

And finally, Rachel, having

And finally, Rachel, having known and respected you for as long as I have, I remain incredulous that you don't take exception to the public processes to have brought us so many of these reform policies.

Have I said anything about the public processes? I think not.

For starters, Indya Kinncanon, whose praises you often sing, attached her signature of endorsement (as former school board chair) to a 267 page federal grant application she had not been allowed to read. So did every other urban school board chair, of course, as did a slew of state legislators. Why wouldn't a public process of that sort give a chill to any and every onlooker supportive of transparency (and of informed decision making)? Why wouldn't Indya herself be deeply angered to have been compromised this way?

I don't recall singing anybody's praises that much, although I try to refrain from personal attack. Otherwise I probably would have asked what the hell you were thinking when you called a school expecting them to give you a student's home address.

As to your recurring demand that I explain and defend why I believe Jim McIntyre's departure might be instrumental in helping us reverse the most egregious of these reform policies, we've heard from several quarters which are the policies he has implemented in excess of those required by state and federal mandate.

The thread Stick started is really helping with that. I appreciate it.

And finally, Rachel, I have to extend the same condemnation of your lackadaisical inquiry into these matters as I had for my old friend Anne's: If you don't follow the "endless citations," you necessarily forfeit any qualification to opine on them. I just don't know how else to say it.

Then don't say it at all.

I really don't know what I've done to earn all the invective. My last post on this thread was about electing/appointing a school superintendent.

I don't live in your district, so I guess it doesn't hurt you to take this tone with me, but I'd be damn careful about doing it with a potential constituent.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

I don't recall singing anybody's praises that much, although I try to refrain from personal attack. Otherwise I probably would have asked what the hell you were thinking when you called a school expecting them to give you a student's home address.

I didn't call any school. I called the school board's secretary, who keeps minutes of their public meetings, because she is the person to record public speakers' names and addresses when the chair asks those speakers to "state (their) name and address for the record."

And I acknowledged that, when she informed me the name and address of any minor speaking at public forum is redacted from the public record, her reply seemed "appropriate."

So, how did you know that Ethan Young was a minor?

Both my nephews were actually 19, not 18, when they graduated from high school.

I really don't feel the need to clarify any further the rest of my comments to which you appear to take exception and will just leave passers-by to arrive at their own opinions of them...

Rachel's picture

I'm out.

I'm out.

GDrinnen2's picture

The tone of this thread to

The tone of this thread to those seeking concise information is the problem I have with trying to have productive conversation on this topic. I get a very strong sense of "yer either fur us or agin us" from friends who come at this issue from opposing view points.

I appreciate the passion, despise the tone. That goes for folks on various sides of these issues. Every single person I know personally who is involved (emotionally, professionally, volunteer, staff) is coming from a sincere place. These are extremely important issues that deserve respectful debate.

I hope that starts to happen more often.

Somebody's picture

Bingo.

Bingo.

Pam Strickland's picture

Yeah, respectful debate would

Yeah, respectful debate would be a very nice thing for folks who are on opposite sides. And even for folks who don't have 24 hours a day to read footnotes.

Stick's picture

However, informed debate is

However, informed debate is just as important as respectful debate. Sometimes you gotta read the footnotes or you're just working from pure ideological belief.

Pam Strickland's picture

What I'm talking about is the

What I'm talking about is the way some folks get in the damned weeds. It's ridiculous. I know it's important to be informed, but when every sentence ends with see link blah, blah, blah, you lose folks.

Tamara is talking about running for office. That's not going to get votes. People's eyes are going to glaze over. I've been out there on the campaign trail, I've seen the eyes glaze.

And, as I've said before, one reason that I don't spend much time here is because the level of respect for someone who is on the opposite side is more often than not the same as a poorly mannered second grader. I've got better things to do with my time and energy.

Stick's picture

"Sound bites for all"

when every sentence ends with see link blah, blah, blah

And the Enlightenment project upon which our fine republic was founded finally implodes. RIP. It was a good run.

Somebody's picture

Let me offer to refine that

Let me offer to refine that one a little bit. It's not the inclusion of the links that's the problem. In fact, I greatly appreciate people who cite their sources.

The problem is more in the explanation that precedes the links. As a rule, it should be possible to understand the argument being presented without reading the footnotes and bibliography. This is particularly true if the purpose of the information being presented is advocacy for a particular public policy position.

As an example in another subject area, you could link to and cite massive volumes of medical research on the effects of lead in childhood cognitive development and quite possibly even find research that looks at the long-term, multi-generational socio-economic impacts of exposure to lead paint, but for most people, that's much less helpful than a simple explanation to parents: "Don't let your kids eat the paint chips. It causes brain damage."

Stick's picture

Good point. I would agree

Good point. I would agree that extremely long posts without an easily understandable central claim are less than helpful, and I've certainly been guilty of that. I guess that my issue is this: Pam has this bad habit of helicoptering into threads as the voice of reason and moderation without offering anything of value except what comes across as uninformed opinion. No links, no nothing.

Democracy is a messy business. If we're not willing to get our hands dirty then all is lost. Then again, we all need to be willing to listen to one another even when we disagree. Point taken. Pam, my apologies.

Pam Strickland's picture

Let me say that I

Let me say that I wholeheartedly agree with Somebody's explanation.

As for Stick's complaint about what he sees as my habit, it's probably because I get so damned tired of everybody else's high and mighty know it all attitude. I'm not the least offended because I wouldn't speak up if I didn't feel comfortable about what I was talking about.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

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TEAM is not "state law."

It is a teacher evaluation policy adopted by the State Board of Education in excess of what "state law" required.

Our "state law" WRT teacher evaluations emanated from legislation introduced as the 2010 First to the Top Act and it was codified at Title 49, Chapter 1.

Our "state law" does not mandate that the evaluations of 55% of teachers lacking TVAAS data be linked to the TVAAS data of students taught by other teachers.

Our "state law" does not mandate that the evaluations of kindergarten teachers be linked to TVAAS data produced by children still learning to hold a pencil.

Our "state law" does not mandate that the evaluations of 100% of teachers be linked to the personal opinions of petulant children.

As for me, rather than stumbling around asking umpteen people who aren't lawyers what the "state law" says, I tend to just go read it.

But to each his own.

Stick's picture

I stand corrected. I knew

I stand corrected. I knew that TEAM was a product of Race to the Top, but it looks like there is some wiggle room.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

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I don't mean to sound rude and abrupt to anyone here, I'm just so overwhelmed right now...and, yeah, I have linked this stuff so very many times before.

Please follow the FttT link to see that the Act says only of the evaluations of "testless" teachers that they must rely on some growth measure, but not necessarily TVAAS.

Please follow the State Brd of Ed link to see that 1) TEAM was the State Board of Ed's model in excess of what was required by "state law," and 2) Huffman can allow alternate models among those listed at the State Brd's site; click on "policies," then scroll down to "personnel," I think it is.

As to our local APEX policy, I have no authoritative link at hand to confirm for you that we have this window of opportunity each April in which to choose another model from Huffman's (short) list, but this I pass on from Indya directly.

I'd also like to encourage interested readers (who will follow links) to please duck into the thread on the Tripod student survey, where I've offered many links as to the growing incidence of states and individual districts alike simply rejecting certain state and federal mandates due to the edicts that accompany them.

These states and districts now number in the hundreds. NY and Ohio, in particular, now lead this "full speed reversal," as Politico characterizes it.

(Goose, I love ya, dump that dial-up and follow a link now and again! Later!)

Tamara Shepherd's picture

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2010 First to the Top Act here.

Tennessee Code (Title 49, Chapter 1) here.

State Board of Education Policies here.

Up Goose Creek's picture

Advice

I have to extend the same condemnation of your lackadaisical inquiry into these matters as I had for my old friend Anne's: If you don't follow the "endless citations," you necessarily forfeit any qualification to opine on them. I just don't know how else to say it.

Tamara, you really need to get over your expectation that others are going to delve deeply into educational issues.

That's the beauty of this blog - we know who is trustworthy and who is a troll. Or someone may be trustworthy and we don't happen to agree with them on an issue. The important part is we don't have to delve into every. single. issue. that comes up.

Advice #2. Edit, edit, edit. As an exercise, go over old posts and see how you could condense them by 80-90%. Someone you are adressing in person doesn't have a scroll bar. Focus on the soundbites. You can have a handout with citations in the unlikly event a voter wants to delve deeply into the issues.

Pam Strickland's picture

You need to listen to this,

You need to listen to this, Tamara. The general public is not Bill Clinton, eager to have a policy wonk discussion. Heck, I'm not even eager to have most of the policy wonk discussions that you seem to get all hot and bothered about and I like policy discussions.

You need to get to the point, and move on.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Stick and Rachel, I'd like to offer one quick clarification as to why I didn't want Rachel to have the mistaken understanding that TEAM is "state law."

She's quite savvy politically and I know that when she hears TEAM is "state law," she will immediately process that info to conclude that the task required to break from it is to establish a majority in the state legislature intent on breaking from it--but that's not the only option open to us.

Locally, we can move to another model on Huffman's list.

Locally or statewide (and if we're especially daring), we can also reject RttT monies linked to reliance on TVAAS data and instead do any damned thing we want, as droves of other states and districts are now beginning to do.

And another electoral option aside from establishing a legislative majority is to establish just a state-level governor on our side whose Ed Commissioner might lead the State Brd of Ed in a different direction. Yeah, I know, but it *is* fewer people to elect.

Anyway, I just wanted to clarify for her that options exist, variously daunting as their consequences may be.

Rachel, hope we're better understanding each other on that point.

Bye, again.

Stick's picture

No worries... I'm not always

No worries... I'm not always up-to-date on the local stuff as my work is more national and global in orientation. There is only so much time in the day to read and do research. We all have our blind spots. The beauty of this place is that we can exchange ideas.

I've amended my thread to reflect your input. I'm also all for using local institutions to push back against the madness coming from Nashville and D.C. [not to mention removing a Broadie from the local machine]. As you correctly note, much of the opposition today is at the local level. But, opting out altogether would threaten Title I monies, no?

My main concern with the other thread is that we now have the pleasure of a bunch of (not verified) bomb throwers who bring more heat than light. I assume that the KNS firewall has something to do with this. When one of them started insulting people in an incredibly stupid, 'Agenda 21' kind of manner that sent me over the edge. I wanted to bring to light that they have nothing to offer but Tea Party dog whistles. When someone with a 'R' next to their name starts running federal ed policy they will move on to the next thing. They are not advocates of public schooling.

Observer's picture

"My main concern with the

"My main concern with the other thread is that we now have the pleasure of a bunch of (not verified) bomb throwers who bring more heat than light. I assume that the KNS firewall has something to do with this. When one of them started insulting people in an incredibly stupid, 'Agenda 21' kind of manner that sent me over the edge. I wanted to bring to light that they have nothing to offer but Tea Party dog whistles. When someone with a 'R' next to their name starts running federal ed policy they will move on to the next thing. They are not advocates of public schooling."

I just made a joke about that in the other thread with a Chuck Norris joke. There are not enough people who think the way you do to create a change. You seem to understand little about how change occurs. When people talk about "R's" or "D's" they are saying they won't work with anyone different from them. That means you will fail.

Big tent, or no results. You need those "incredibly stupid" people to change anything. Ergo, I don't see you want change. Odds are Common Core can't be stopped. But it can be changed. But not with small minded people. The motto of small minded people is "not invented here". If it isn't their idea it isn't worth doing. If their pack isn't for it it isn't good.

Dr. McIntyre got an earful last night from the teachers. Let's see if he changes anything of substance. There is plenty of time before the next election. I bet nothing will change of any importance.

The difference between the not-verifieds and the old pros here is about who wants change and who just wants talk.

Stick's picture

Cutting edge analysis. Keep

Cutting edge analysis. Keep up the good work.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Tamara, I am sorry, but you'd better read up on the pertinent laws WRT to student records before you wade in any further. You really tried to get the kid's contact info? C'mon. I thought you were going into politics here. You can't do it.

Toby, this is no big deal but after you and Rachel both commented on it, I did make a couple of calls to confirm my assumption that it's the state's open records law, not the fed's FERPA law (privacy of student records) that guide.

The tack I took is that the young man voluntarily spoke in public forum at a public meeting of a public body in a public place, where he was asked by the recoding secretary of the public body to "state (his) name and address for the record."

He did so, it aired on both the public body's live streaming and its TV broadcast, and I'm told it also aired on the TV station's re-broadcast a week later.

The two folks with whom I double-checked my assumption, one a journalist of probably 30 years and the other the recording secretary to a public body elsewhere, both affirmed that state public record law guides.

I therefore suspect the school board secretary just acted with an abundance of caution to decline to repeat for me what address he had offered, which I said before is probably "appropriate."

Still, if push came to shove and I had demanded the record, the school board secretary really had no legal obligation to withhold it. FERPA doesn't any more require schools to protect their students in their voluntary participation in public meetings than it requires schools to protect their students standing on a public street corner.

FERPA guides how schools are to protect their students from within the walls of the schools those students attend, but not from outside of them.

So it doesn't guide in this particular matter.

barkers's picture

public meeting

FERPA covers student records. It does not cover statements made at public meetings. And there is a distinction.

A student's utterances during a public meeting of the school board do not constitute a "student record." They are part of a record of the board of education's policy-making process, not a part of the student's academic file.

Even if FERPA applies, it doesn't mean that all student information is automatically shielded.

According to the U.S. Department of Education: "Schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school."

Note that schools can disclose addresses without consent. As long as the school system has notified the family they can request nondisclosure, the school system is covered.

Of course, as Tamara said, there is the video record as well. CTV definitely is not covered under FERPA.

barkers's picture

FERPA

I would argue that FERPA does not even apply to school board meetings. The records of school board meetings are not student records, they are board records. And board records are covered under the Tennessee Public Records Act.

Oh, and you can call the school to ask for any information you like. The onus is on the school to provide or deny the information. The "no-no" you mention is on the school, not the person asking for the info.

barkers's picture

to be clear

If you ask the school system for student information that is contained in a student's file, it is covered under FERPA.

If you ask the school system for information disseminated at a public meeting, it is covered under the Public Records Act (and, if you are in attendance, under the Open Meetings Act).

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

If you ask the school system for information disseminated at a public meeting, it is covered under the Public Records Act (and, if you are in attendance, under the Open Meetings Act).

Thanks, Scott.

Like I said, this was my thought and it was also the understanding of a couple of people I'd think know more about open records and/or FERPA than I.

And again, Toby, I didn't call any "school." I called the secretary for the public body that is the Knox County Board of Ed and who records minutes of their public meetings.

Nor do I have any interest or inclination to "troll the student records" of this or any student.

Like I said, my post to you wasn't because the question is any big deal.

I thought to try and contact the young man, I decided I had enough on my plate already, I ceased the effort.

I agree with you that in any more important setting, we both should defer to an attorney for the most authoritative word on the question.

barkers's picture

metulj wrote: "Also, there

metulj wrote: "Also, there are proceedings of the school board in its authority that direct influence single student records and would be included in reports to the school board by the disciplinary hearing authority.
I suspect those board activities are covered by FERPA."

I suspect you are incorrect in this instance. This student (at least we assume he is a student; all we have to go on for both his status and his address is his comment to the board) voluntarily disclosed his address during a public meeting. That's not a "student record." It is a record of a public meeting. His comments at the meeting have no relationship whatsoever to his student records.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

No, that's not allowable under FERPA for disclosure.

Student disciple matters are addressed at the school board's work sessions at the very end of their meetings and the room is cleared of all onlookers.

But again, I think it's safe to assume that a student whose disciplinary record is being discussed would just as soon it were not shared with even the board, much less the public.

In contrast (and to the extent that his address might be considered a "student record"), Ethan Young shared his address with the public voluntarily.

Enthusiastically, it seemed :-)

Surely the student's consent comes into play?

barkers's picture

Beat the dead horse

Again, this isn't about Ethan Young's student records, which are covered under FERPA. It's about the record of a public meeting, which isn't. There is no expectation of privacy when you speak at a public meeting, regardless of your age. None. Zero. Zip. Nada.

barkers's picture

Beats me

You were the first one, in my recollection, to bring it up. I just jumped in because Tamara's request actually is about the records of a public meeting, not student privacy.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

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It was first Rachel, then Toby who implied that FERPA guided.

I guess that was their implication. I can't imagine under what other state or federal law either of them believed the record to be a protected one?

This is beating a dead horse, though. I've outlined my thinking and conceded that in any crucial, timely circumstance I'd want to double-check my thinking with an attorney. Polite curtsy and I'm out.

Rachel's picture

Ok, stop using my name,

Ok, stop using my name, damnit. I'm out of this thread, and just happened to see this.

I never brought up FERPA. I questioned the wisdom of asking the school system for a student's home address.

I think that was inappropropriate, and I applaud the school system for not giving it out.

Getting the address from the CTV tape of the meeting, which is a public record, is totally acceptable.

Now STOP referring to me because I won't be around this thread any longer to defend myself.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

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My name isn't "dammit." Maybe you're thinking about my dog, Sam Dammit.

Sam poops on my rug, but not on my blog.

Bbeanster's picture

You kids settle down!! Don't

You kids settle down!!

Don't make me come over there.

fischbobber's picture

Count me as with ya on this one.

This is why we can't ever have nice things.

AnonymousOne's picture

To change the subject, as I

To change the subject, as I saw a teacher post on FB, how could Knox County have done so great on its report card with so many teachers getting so many "letters of concern?" Is McIntyre weeding out the "disloyal" and "disrespectful?"

Nah, he wouldn't do that, would he?

Or have plants at the budget meetings looking for teachers who weren't towing the Central Office line, as Jake Mabe reported then?

But it really doesn't add up, does it?

Observer's picture

But it really doesn't add up, does it?

I heard from a teacher that Dr.McIntyre is claiming cost savings when higher paid more experienced teachers quit and are replaced with new graduates. A savings of $10,000 a teacher. Is that why the surprise evaluations are happening?

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