TNchickadee's picture


The man just doesn't get (or care) that he is four years too late. No amount of flowers, cookies, and contrived video messages will repair the damage he has done or make teachers believe his intentions are pure.

Knox Observer's picture

great timing

Rachel's picture

The derision took a lot

The derision took a lot longer than I expected.

peixao's picture

So are you satisfied with the

So are you satisfied with the course of the schools? It's pretty urgent for those of us with kids in this breaking-down broken system.

Sorry, but your apparent suggestion--wouldn't want to put words in your mouth, I get how much you dislike that--that we politely work within the system, in spite of the BOE's needless extension of the super's contract, seems like it'll likely be as effective as standing on our heads and defecating at the stars.

Rachel's picture

wouldn't want to put words in

wouldn't want to put words in your mouth

Then don't.

GSD's picture

The derision...

Come on, Rachel. "Derision"? That "message" was patently disingenuous and clearly staged.

Calling it as anything else demonstrated the same hopeful naivete as believing in the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy. That ridiculous video was nothing less than McIntyre fulfilling the Board's suggestion (per his just-completed performance review of 12/2013 ) that he "get along with people better".

And I'm sure he'll check THAT requirement off in his "to do" column before he moves onto the next box to check, which is probably a "to do" sent to him by an entity with "INC" added to it's name.

Did you know that, since his contract was renewed, the "survey" he promised to issue in order to get "feedback" to consider was administered to his frontline staff under full supervision of their principals (who serve under McIntyre's pleasure - and we have SEEN how he "punishes" and "rewards" them) AS WELL AS in NUMEROUS cases administered with the caveat to teaching staff FROM said principles that "These vicious attacks on McIntyre will not be tolerated" - before the "anonymous" surveys are then handed in - IN PERSON - to these same principals?

Did you know as well that teaching staff were told that the standardized testing - OUTSIDE of state and federal requirements -the same standardized testing to which so many parents and teachers have strenuously objected - has been FURTHER ingrained into the KCS curriculum with teachers being told - AND I QUOTE - "Don't call the CRA assessment the CRA assessment any more, because it upsets parents?' OR told that "Testing is now a "part of the curriculum")?

How could ANY Knox County teacher (And I AM one) or informed Knox County parent, resident, taxpayer, stakeholder, etc... See Mc's "Holiday message" as anything LESS than worthy of "derision"?

Rachel's picture

I don't see why you're

I don't see why you're fussing at me. I said the video would be derided on KV, and you are explicitly agreeing with me that it was.

GSD's picture

Not picking a fight with ya,

Not picking a fight with ya, Rachel. Just sharing a different view.

But it seems to look like you are waiting for an argument, or even PICKING one with hot-button words like "derision".

peixao's picture

And here I thought she was

And here I thought she was just stuck on spelling.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Where's the warmth?

I confess I was distracted from listening closely for looking over his shoulder...

Did you notice that there's nothing hanging on that wall over the fireplace mantel? And that there's nothing on the mantel, either, except for those two very small picture frames positioned at each extreme end?

And the walls are off-white and the blinds are off-white and the windows lack any draperies?

And he's wearing a white shirt?

When they take that tree and those stockings down next week, that room will look like a sensory deprivation chamber.

And somehow, none of that surprises me.

Rachel's picture

Is it really necessary, with

Is it really necessary, with all the serious issues facing Knox County schools, to pursue this line of criticism? It bothers you that the walls are off-white and that McIntyre is wearing a white shirt? Srsly?

Boy, I'm glad you didn't see our master bedroom that had nothing on the walls for over ten years. God knows what you would have concluded about me.

This kind of crap is exactly why I have trouble taking some of you seriously.

On another note, interesting info, Bean.

Min's picture

Am I missing something?

Taking shots at public figures is the raison d'être for sites like this. You seem to be taking the McIntyre criticism kind of personally, Rachel.

metulj's picture

Sophistication.... I take


I take Rachel's objections as questioning the sophistication of the criticism of MacIntyre. This is valid and sufficient. Just saying "Fire him he sucks" is not enough. NB. I don't think he is qualified to run a petting zoo.

Rachel's picture

I am offended by this kind of

I am offended by this kind of bs "criticism" when there are so many real issues surrounding the school system.

And pardon me, but I never saw the raison d'etre of KV to be "taking shots" at anybody, especially this kind of cheap shot. I expect more from KVers than you do, I guess.

Sue me.

Min's picture


I still think you're acting awfully sensitive about McIntyre.

Rachel's picture

Think what you want. I've

Think what you want. I've never met the man and have no personal dog in this fight other than wanting, like most everybody else, to see education improved in Knox County.

I've told you what offended me. If you can't accept that, it's not my problem.

Knox Observer's picture

quite bizarre

You are not the only person who found McIntyre's video to be bizarre. Why the good Doctor had to spike the ball in the end-zone makes no sense. The Grinch feel of that video is creepy.


McIntyre says 'Happy Holidays' to county teachers in an odd video
In a seriously bizarre video, an uncomfortable looking Knox County Superintendent Jim McIntyre wishes teachers a happy holiday.

Bbeanster's picture

Today let’s have a little lesson on education profiteering.

We are a model for the rest of the state. Here is Amy Frogge's message to her Metro Nashville School Board colleagues:Today let’s have a little lesson on education profiteering.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently awarded Knox County Schools a one-year grant of $840,000, which Knox County Schools will match with taxpayer dollars in the amount of $360,000- for a grand total of $1.2 million. According to Knox County Schools, this money will be used to strengthen its ability to ensure “resources stay aligned to priorities.”

So where will all this money go- directly to the schools? No, not one penny of the $1.2 million will make it to classrooms. $950,000 of it will go to The Parthenon Group. (Knox County Schools will funnel grant monies to Parthenon in monthly amounts ranging from $140k to $168k over the next year.) The remaining $250,000 will go to Education Resource Strategies (ERS).

The Parthenon Group, a Boston-based (and international) organization, will be paid to “assist with data collection, and resource and return on investment analysis.” Parthenon helped sponsor a conference on January 15, 2013 to teach investors how to make money from public education. The conference was entitled “Private Equity Investing in For-Profit Education Companies– How Breakdowns in Traditional Models & Applications of New Technologies Are Driving Change.” The standard fee to attend this event was $1395. Here is a brochure description: “Private equity investing in for-profit education is soaring, and for good reason — the public and non-profit models are profoundly broken. This is why for-profit education is one of the largest U.S. investment markets, currently topping $1.3 trillion in value.” (This conference was co-sponsored by the law firm Drinker Biddle & Reath and chaired by Harold Levy, former Chancellor of the NYC public schools and now a partner in the Connecticut venture capital firm Palm Ventures that invests in for-profit education.)

According to its website, Education Resource Strategies is a Massachusetts-based non-profit organization “dedicated to transforming how urban school systems organize resources." Although ERS operates as a non-profit organization, its 2011 Form 990 lists six full-time (40 hour/week) employees who are paid salaries ranging from $117,000 to $172,398. It also lists a seventh employee who worked 16 hours per week in 2011 and made $61,400.

Parthenon and ERS support such things as larger class sizes, moving away from class size mandates, and “revamped teacher evaluations” (which I gather would include TN’s current flawed model). These organizations are manned not by education or education policy experts, as one might expect, but by business people, including MBAs, economists, and lawyers.

So in summary, Knox County Schools will receive a one-year grant to analyze “return on investment" that will ultimately cost them $360,000. Although $1.2 million will be generated for this purpose, none of this money will go toward classrooms. The money will go to business consultants (with no particular training in education or education policy) making six-figure-plus salaries and to companies that train “investors” on how to turn a profit from public education. These people will fly in, rake up their money, and then disappear. Meanwhile, our teachers will continue to earn only $46,000 per year on average, and our schools will continue to struggle financially for such necessities as computers for the new state-mandated online testing.

And that, my friends, is how you turn a profit off public schools. Kudos to Memphis mamas for digging up all this information.

Knox Observer's picture

if a tree falls in the woods...

How do we get the word out? As long as the KNS is only a PR arm of KCS, only people who come here, watch WBIR or WATE, read the Shopper or the Focus, or have friends on FaceBook know what is really going down.

How do we get to the low information voter/non-voter?

GSD's picture


Thanks, Betty. But will our SCHOOL BOARD understand the implications of this?

Bbeanster's picture

Worth repeating:

So in summary, Knox County Schools will receive a one-year grant to analyze “return on investment" that will ultimately cost them $360,000. Although $1.2 million will be generated for this purpose, none of this money will go toward classrooms. The money will go to business consultants (with no particular training in education or education policy) making six-figure-plus salaries and to companies that train “investors” on how to turn a profit from public education. These people will fly in, rake up their money, and then disappear. Meanwhile, our teachers will continue to earn only $46,000 per year on average, and our schools will continue to struggle financially for such necessities as computers for the new state-mandated online testing.

peixao's picture


This is part of the silliness of the state accepting the Race to the Top money in exchange for selling out the teachers' unions. We took $500 million, over 2-3 years, divided among 96 counties, which doesn't amount to all that much. Teachers lost tenure in all but name and collective bargaining rights, when the governor and legislature got together on the issue.

So now we're on the hook for ungodly amounts to spend on technology infrastructure to do the blasted tests. Then there's the issue of inherent advantages to kids who have computers in the home. Oh, and adios to handwriting; they'll be teaching keyboarding in k-2 soon.

I'd feel differently about it if the testing actually worked. Or the charter schools we'll be seeing in inner-city Knoxville in a few years.

A funny thing I was talking about to another parent recently is how there are no metrics or rubrics to measure student-teacher relationship, which is huge in how a student performs. Of course, when they're stressed out about losing their jobs over the insane evaluation system, how are they supposed to give kids the love, attention, and respect they need?

Bbeanster's picture

I'm trying to get myself

I'm trying to get myself informed about these issues (I am light years behind where I need to be to cover them), and I am struck by how worried teachers are about these tests that children must take on computers. How are they going to test 27 children in a classroom with three computers?

Stick's picture

And, we're expecting that

And, we're expecting that these children can type and effectively use a computer.

fischbobber's picture

Let's not forget

We've built an incredibly complex and far-reaching education system here in Knoxville. We have an IB program (one of 200 in the US), a STEM school that is a prototype, a communications magnet school (at Fulton) that is a uniquely functioning entity as well as an Arts magnet school (A.E.) that appears to be getting traction. Our middle and grade school levels are similarly complex.

In addition, there is strong anecdotal evidence to suggest that results are being manipulated in order to have the data tell a certain story , and our downtown leadership appears to be totally out of touch with parents, teachers, and students.

Add to that the Knoxville way of politics, ("Just exactly who is your child anyway?" is a question/veiled threat I have heard more than once) and you have a superintendent's job that has an incredible skill level requirement. What this town needs is an effective school administrator committed to the public sector, who doesn't have to destroy or downgrade the system that is in place in order to move forward. The school system needs a people person committed to those of us that are participating, not someone committed to the people that are trying to strong-arm the county out of the public education business. People think that firing McIntyre will solve all the problems, but the reality is that , without the right people in place to move this system forward, firing McIntyre may well create more problems than it solves.

Stick's picture

Ends and Means

People think that firing McIntyre will solve all the problems, but the reality is that , without the right people in place to move this system forward, firing McIntyre may well create more problems than it solves.

For the most part, I agree with this, but I would say there are important questions that must be answered first. What ends are we pursuing? What do we want the system to look like? What are our priorities?

The ends always seem to be assumed. However, with limited funds, these are the questions that must be answered first. We can't have it all. If we truly want equality of educational opportunity [you know... progressive ideology] then hard choices will have to be made.

Bbeanster's picture

People think that firing

People think that firing McIntyre will solve all the problems, but the reality is that , without the right people in place to move this system forward Blah blah blah blah

Who the hell thinks that, Bob? This is a complex problem from top to bottom. The Dec. 9 BPA meeting was not about firing JMac. It was about JMac wanting a vote of confidence that would extend his contract from 3 years to 4 to counteract the effects of an unprecedented teacher uprising.

Did you watch the meeting and listen to what was said?

Stick's picture

I think that's a reference to

I think that's a reference to some of the commenters around here.

fischbobber's picture

The reference

The reference is to what I'm seeing on various outlets and sites and hearing in the local media and community. I understand that there is a tendency to look at things with blinders depending on what we see, but I'm not seeing a picture of the type superintendent that we want or need, emerge. I've been screaming about teacher pay and benefits since the eighties and knew the topic would eventually reach critical mass. I'm not surprised that we're at the spot we're at. In fact, looking at the people we've put in office, my real question to all outraged people is," What did you think was going to happen?"

I spent three years in the system in the early eighties, subbing around various schools, trying to figure out if the gig was for me. I loved the job. I loved teaching. I loved platform of the classroom. But they treated teachers like second class citizens then, and its only gotten worse.

As for what I do to improve the school system Betty, I was working 72 hour weeks so my son could afford to participate in high school athletics. He plays two sports. He earned a varsity letter in one before the doors opened for school in his freshman year. I helped the Middle School TSA team. My son's teams took three top 10's in that world wide competition to help establish Knox County's spot on a worldwide platform. They were disappointed at their poor performance, but as I told him, "There's only 24 hours in a day." I'm the parent getting blamed because the school system underperforms, and I'm getting tired of good people taking crap because we're doing what we should be doing. If you think the big squeeze is the best way to shut me up, you may want to rethink that position. I've vested my pension. In my spare time, I try to help out with his Boy Scout troop, monitor his Sunday school lessons, and make sure he understands that academics supersede athletics. I talk to him about his obligation to give back and that, despite what it sometimes seems, we are lucky in the broad scheme of things. I listen when he tells about how High School culture discerns the rich from the poor and what it means to be on either side of the fence. I cross my fingers and pray every day that the decisions I make as a parent are the right ones. I've always felt like I do pretty good for a truck driver, but there's always people that disagree.

As for McIntyre, he's a huge part of the problem, but he's not the whole problem. It's probably time to work on a post-McIntyre progression ,but, is Tim Burchett really going to support a progressive as superintendent? Are we really going to be better off?

Honestly Betty, I get the feeling that you're just getting started. This is a tough playing field. As a parent, it's hard to know when to bitch and when to shut up, and it's becoming clear that politicians and reporters face those same challenges.

Finally, if you want to know who thinks firing McIntyre is the beginning and end of the schools systems problems, get on Facebook. Those folks will tell you all you want to know and then some.

Bbeanster's picture

Simmer down, Bob, it's hard

Simmer down, Bob, it's hard to respond to you because you say some baffling stuff, and tend to make everything about you.

I don't have the first clue what you meant by

"If you think the big squeeze is the best way to shut me up, you may want to rethink that position..."

And I wasn't asking you what you do for the schools, and am flabbergasted that you would say that I did. What I asked is whether you have been listening to what's at issue right now, today:

" I've been screaming about teacher pay and benefits since the eighties and knew the topic would eventually reach critical mass. I'm not surprised that we're at the spot we're at. In fact, looking at the people we've put in office, my real question to all outraged people is," What did you think was going to happen?"

I've been talking to teachers and parents every way I can this month – on Facebook, here, in person, via email, formal interviews and informal conversations, and I can tell you this this is not about money. That's not to say that teachers wouldn't like to be better paid, but I haven't heard one single teacher talk about money. They talk about their students, their colleagues and the direction we're headed.

fischbobber's picture

Teacher's pay

Pay was an issue to me because I was starting from scratch in life. It was an issue then, it is an issue now, but it is a contextual issue. It's one thing to start out at the poverty line doing something you believe in and love, it's another issue entirely to be asked to do this to the detriment of what you are committed to do.

That's why the teachers allowed their union to be taken away. They care more about the kids than they do themselves. The dichotomy of that quality of local Knoxville teachers is why the folks downtown and our governor are tearing our teaching force to shreds. It's their Achilles heel.

peixao's picture

I don't think firing McIntyre

I don't think firing McIntyre is the end of the system's problems, but it's a start and an important symbolic one.

Burchett didn't pick McIntyre; Haslam and Edwards did.

fischbobber's picture

True that

So the broader implication would be that the powers that be aren't likely to pick a progressive superintendent.

And here is the crux of my point. Both Vine and A.E. have been set up to fail , and I believe the reason is to justify charters. West is an interesting situation. I'm still trying to figure out what is going on. I've heard grand things about the programs at STEM and Fulton, but don't have a clue about the nuts and bolts of the daily operations. It would seem that someone has figured out how to manipulate achievement numbers via personnel decisions.

Say what you will, McIntyre is not stupid. He has established the demand for a superior school district. He has convinced the board that he is the man to make it happen. He has made enough questionable personnel decisions to establish an argument that what he is doing is contrived. And should he pull the rug out from underneath the system, via churning or intimidation, he can make an argument for charters to those that can't see beyond money. Whether or not this is the ultimate goal, those of us truly concerned about what is going on must recognize this possibility.

In order for our school system to build on what's been done in recent years, it is imperative that the right person be selected to run this show. We need something more than someone with backbone and a conscience, we need someone with backbone, a conscience, and a level of talent superior to McIntyres'. Once again, the guy is smart. Finding his replacement won't be easy, unless that guy is looking for us.

In my opinion, two things need to happen in order to find the next superintendent. We must reach some sort of community consensus as to the direction we want to go. And we must demand that the superintendent serve the community, not a small private sector. It might sound easy and simple, but it's not.

Knox Observer's picture

not so fast

You say, "Say what you will, McIntyre is not stupid. He has established the demand for a superior school district. He has convinced the board that he is the man to make it happen."

I don't see it that way. I don't see any proof that supports what you claimed. That is your theory. Don't claim it as more than that.

McIntyre didn't do any of what you claim. He sure didn't establish any kind of demand for a superior school district. And he sure didn't convince the board he was the man. The big man who flew him down on the company jet did that.

Jim Haslam and Gov. Bill Haslam decreed what was what. Bill Haslam is the education Governor and his daddy wants him to be the education President. Don't inflate McIntyre. And how is he not stupid? He just sacrificed the school board members up for re-election for a golden parachute.

fischbobber's picture

Like him or don't

McIntyre is the driving force behind our magnet program. What STEM, Fulton and the West program have shown parents is that you can run a school system catering to niches for talented students who might otherwise not get a challenging and compelling curriculum suited to individual talents. It's been a tougher row to hoe at A.E., but the recent publicity out of that school would indicate that positive steps are being made in their magnet program as well.

So why are we churning administrators and replacing honors teachers in midterm at West? Why are we firing and churning at Vine, the primary feeder for A.E.? What McIntyre has done is establish a charter system within the school system, but with a caveat. It has holes in it one can drive a truck through. This is all still new, and we know we are lab rats, but if you think our school system isn't progressive, you're not looking at it very hard. And it's very much McIntyre's doing.

The problem is not conceptual, I personally like what McIntyre has built, but rather it is a functionally pragmatic problem. He cannot seem to manage, either by design or overload, what he has built. There is evidence to suggest that this is by design, just look at his background and the flow of grant money. There is also evidence to suggest that the system has just moved past his ability to manage. A lot of what McIntyre has done is a good thing. A lot is shaky. What is clear is that we need someone running the show that can relate to people, and it's looking less and less like McIntyre is that guy.

Anyone that doesn't believe the demand is strong for a superior school district doesn't exist in Knox County doesn't have children in school here . Talk to the parents and see.

Knox Observer's picture

Fish, do you know that West

Fish, do you know that West High School is down 2 points on ACT? I don't see how when Knox County has gone from 20.6 ACT to 20.2 in the last year on ACT anyone is keen on McIntyre. I know the Sentinel doesn't report the story, but the Shopper and the Focus do. And so does WNFZ FM.

The story is out there if you dig for it. You have to look for it. It isn't on the Sentinel or the KCS website. Why do you think Lauren Hopson came forward? This isn't about teacher pay. This is a crisis that somehow is only being learned about. It is about censorship. It's about intimidation. You're only seeing the tip of this.

If you knew what the remedial college course rate of Knox County high school students was, you would retract your claims about McIntyre doing well. Then tell us what a great job five years of McIntyre have been. It's bad nationwide. But you will not believe what it is here.

Call Lynne Fugate and ask her. Then ask Tamara or Betty. Or maybe you should find it yourself? Because this will change what you believe. Then you will get it.

fischbobber's picture


I'm aware that West has been through some trying times. I also believe West is a school on the rise. Maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong.

As for McIntyre, I'll say it again. He can't manage people and it shows.

I wish just one of y'all would bring an example of a system in this state with a better magnet program to the table though. I feel like there's this big secret that I'm not clued in to just lurking out there. What do the other public magnet programs look like? Are we really that far behind?

If you think censorship and intimidation are not ongoing problems in this school system, you're not active enough in trying to get something done. With or without McIntyre, I wouldn't look for that to change. People around these parts like their power don't you see.

Knox Observer's picture

the only graphic about McIntyre you need to see



"The above scores produce high school graduates, 79-80% of whom are not ready to be trained for a job. Furthermore, the public who pays for the education system with their tax dollars is not informed of this poor performance, yet we are the second largest spender per student in the world since 2011. Where would the average ACT score have to be to produce only 20% who are not ready? Between 24.5 and 25.

No one in our political leadership took significant enough steps to reverse the damaging public education performance to regain what we lost since 1970."

McIntyre's report card is straight F's. The college remediation rate of Farragut graduates is 40%. County wide the college remediation rate is 79%. We pay $565 million dollars a year for this?


"In 2013, not even counting high school dropouts, our public education system produced students with a regular high school diploma, 74% of whom are not even ready to be trained for a job or finish the first year of any college or technical school nationwide according to ACT ((link...)). The percentage not ready in my state of Tennessee improved from 2012 to 82% in 2013, in Knox County, Tennessee it stayed unchanged at 79%, and among black students in Tennessee it is 97%, 95% nationally (ACT readiness references). That's horrible performance, when we are the second highest spending country per student in the world. The outlook for such young people is minimum wage jobs and increasing unemployment. Increasing replacement of low-end jobs with more advanced robotics and software tools will create such a change."

You cannot believe what KCS and the Sentinel tell you. The report card is horrific. Yet we pay McIntyre more than the Governor of Tennessee for these results.


GSD's picture


You may have a point there, Fischy, but a "STOP" on Mcintyre is a "STOP" on the bleeding of our school system in the name of outside for-profit interests and agendas.

Come full stop, drop the anchor briefly, then let's reassess and HOPEFULLY move in the direction of what KNOX COUNTY needs - which is NOT providing a "revenue stream": for Pearson inc., Gates, Teach For America. INC, The Broad Foundation, the local Chamber of Commerce, etc.

Is our School Board, as currently staffed. capable of accurately, impartially, and responsibly making such an assessment? Yellow Monday showed us the answer to THAT question very clearly.

And McIntyre's "message" is provides clear evidence that the man is NOT, and NEVER WILL BE, "in touch". Just saying.

fischbobber's picture


Look, if we were siting down over beers and bitching, I've got plenty to bring to the table. But the simple fact is, we've got a lot going on and a child can't just transfer out of a school because the administration has dropped the ball. If a child participates in sports, his/her choice of a high school is a big choice, because if he/she changes his mind, or circumstances change and he/she must transfer, then he/she loses a year of eligibility. This rule was designed for the twenty kids a year that are exceptional athletes on the state level, but it affects that kid struggling to hold on to his/her starting position as well.

Academic pursuits and athletics hold this in common. People are treating this like it's a decision about where to buy naval oranges. It's not. These are our children. Specifically, I have a child involved in this process and this idea that I should back down from doing what's in his best interest is losing its appeal. I don't have time to work to pay the many thousands of dollars it costs to go to public school and go to all the meetings. That's why I read the paper. That's why I depend on professional reporters to bring me the detailed news, cut relevant clips and post them to youtube, and that's why I discern between reporting and opinion. Mostly, I read reporting, I write opinion.

Finally, stopping McIntyre is not stopping the board. They've approved all this. I believe this process should move forward, but perhaps someone (and there are these people) should step up to calm down and lead the lynch mob.That person, several in fact, is out there.

GSD's picture

I hear you, Fisch. But my

I hear you, Fisch.

But my concern is that McIntyre is MUCH smarter than the ENTIRE board COMBINED.

I have seen / attended the board meetings, work sessions, etc. since McIntyre's agenda came into play here in Kville. Our school board does NOT conduct due diligence. They do NOT fulfill their fuduciary duties to the students of Knox County. They don't seem to have any CLUE as to how decisions are made and by what criteria they are made by the superintendent's office of Knox County Schools. They seem clearly content to accept and digest the fancifully-worded talking points of the superintendent at face value.

This has been made clearly evident. Our elected School Board has shown themselves to be out-of-touch, tone-deaf, arrogant, entitled, and willfuly ignorant at best. I won't even get into the statements and behavior exhibited by Vice-Chair Deathridge and S. Knox Rep Trainor over the course of the past month's School Board meetings. Their words and actions speak loudly enough on their own without additional analysis or comment from a Plebian like myself, IMO.

I fear that, in light of my above statement, that if Knox County residents continue to elect such nincompoops to our school board, we may just end up with the school board we "deserve"... to the GREAT detriment of our community's future. And not only am I a TEACHER in this system, I have my own kids in it as well, So I have some skin in the game.

Knox Observer's picture

Pam Trainor

Seriously? How do you let this continue? How bad does it have to be? Is there a recall option for School Board?


Average Guy's picture

What this town needs is an

What this town needs is an effective school administrator committed to the public sector, who doesn't have to destroy or downgrade the system that is in place in order to move forward. The school system needs a people person committed to those of us that are participating, not someone committed to the people that are trying to strong-arm the county out of the public education business.

Make a line item list of those qualities and check the ones that apply to the current superintendent.

It's up to the people's elected representives to find a leader that fits the needs of the people.

GSD's picture

And that's the rub, Average

And that's the rub, Average Guy. As much as I was disappointed in the decisions of our elected School Board this fall, I am heartened to see that so many have decided to contest the elected seats up for renewal in '14 .

Let's hope that a fire has been lit in the area of active participation in the democratic process by our local citizenry,

fischbobber's picture

McIntyre's fans

I'm not one of them.

I just don't hate him as much as I care about the kids we may well be fixing to hose.

People have forgotten that it's about solutions, not problems.

Bbeanster's picture

There are all kinds of

There are all kinds of competing interests here:
The far right classifies Common Core as part of Agenda 21 (whatever that is).
Old-time East Tennessee Republicans think having an elected superintendent would solve much of what ails us.
Many progressives are worried about the corporate takeover of our public schools.

And, as I've said before, this issue is making strange bedfellows: Barack Obama and Arne Duncan =Bill Haslam and Kevin Huffman. Far as I can tell, There's very little daylight between them.

I am unclear about McIntyre's position on charter schools, although it's been pointed out to me that he made no moves in that direction re Vine Middle.

I am puzzled by the position of one of McIntyre's most effective and outspoken supporters, Buzz Thomas, (link...), who wrote this column, which appears to me to run philosophically counter to his vehement defense of McIntyre's methods and philosophy.


I have more questions than answers.

GSD's picture

Well Betty, I don't think

Well Betty, I don't think Buzz Thomas is as well informed as he may need to be. And I think Buzz Thomas is not aware what he doesn't t know.

I postulate that McIntyre will accept his support as-is until he needs some "re-education" in order to make his viewpoints more "aligned" with McIntyre's agenda. I'm sure there are some talking points already prepared with Buzz Thomas's name on them.

As those of us who noticed may remember from December 4, Buzz seems to think that "being smart" and being a "nice guy" as judged by a "Baptist" are qualifications enough to lead and to make EXTREMELY high-stakes decisions WRT our county's school system.

I don't think our superintendent will have to present a very hard case to keep ol' Buzz "in alignment" with "the Vision".

fischbobber's picture

The most salient comment

I think you have grasped the broad gist of this problem. Either that or I don't grasp it at all. In either case it reminds me of the old CSN line-

Just beneath the surface of the mud, there's more mud here. Surprise.

Bbeanster's picture

Near as I can tell, the

Near as I can tell, the community schools that Buzz Thomas' outfit has set up have been very successful, and do get at some of these root issues – hungry kids, latchkey kids, kids who need after-school help, encouraging family involvement.
I'm not sure that wholesale blowing up schools does. And I'm not sure that using 40 days of instructional time to teach kids to take tests does.

GSD's picture

I DO agree with the

I DO agree with the "community schools" concept in that it appears to address many of the root causes of academic under-performance of a certain population of students: namely poverty, lack of community support, family stress, lack of access to community resources, etc. And GOOD for Buzz for supporting KCS in that area.

I don't doubt that his intentions are good WRT community schools, and they "align" with the Broad agenda as a means to an end at this time - But I think he still needs to educate himself beyond the talking points.

How else could Buzz kick in $180,000 from the Great Schools Partnership in addition to ADDITIONAL $180,000 of TAXPAYER dollars to SUPPLEMENT the massive grant that the Gates Foundation (INC) gave to KCS with the REQUIREMENT that ALL of that cash be funneled to the PARTHENON GROUP? (And we already know about how THAT outfit operates).

Absent a counterpoint , I am afraid that McIntyre will play him for a fool when all is said and done.

Rachel's picture

I visited one of the

I visited one of the community schools as part of a class project last semester, and I was EXTREMELY impressed with what I saw.

More of this, please.

Knox Observer's picture

what can be done here

People are saying that nothing can be done because all of this comes from Nashville and Washington. Sounds like KCS/BOE PR and most probably is.

There are three areas that we can do something about locally by carefully voting in the School Board election next year.

When you vote for School Board your vote may: decide the future of Dr. McIntyre, influence the selection of his replacement, influence the changes to the Central office, and decide how Common Core will be implemented in Knox County. Those are powerful local issues.

If you seek change you must first believe change can occur.

The mantra from the School Board and their supporters is that they know best and we should stay the course. If you support that, they vote to re-elect the School Board incumbents. If you seek change, then vote out the School Board incumbents. Choose new School Board members who will support the changes you demand. Maintain a relationship with these new members and be involved in the process going forward.

It really is that simple.

Bbeanster's picture

Is it true that cursive

Is it true that cursive writing isn't being taught anymore?

Knox Observer's picture


Yes, in some places. The trend is even more concerning.


peixao's picture

No more cursive, and I'd

No more cursive, and I'd expect handwriting to become extinct once we go 1:1 computers/iPads.

Bbeanster's picture

Oh, Bob, there you go again.

Oh, Bob, there you go again. Seriously, you'd be much more effective without the hyperbole.

Of course parents want good schools. You think anybody's for shitty schools? The issue is how to get there.

And, by the way, I used to cover West High pretty intensively and I can tell you that planning for the IB program at West High predated the arrival of McIntyre. It took years to prepare for that, and although he was helpful, it was going to happen regardless of who the supe was. Hardly anybody except a handful of wackjobs opposed this.

It was Greg Roach, who was widely acknowledged to be the best high school principal in the system – remember, in those days West was twice named one of the 100 best high schools in America – who deserves the credit for shepherding that program (he even traveled abroad, on his own dime, to research it).

And by the way, he is now the principal of Maryville High School. Big loss when he left. Ditto the departure of assistant principal Donna Fielden, who took early retirement the following year. Those two were the heartbeat of that school.

fischbobber's picture

Greg Roach

I am aware of the Greg Roach situation. I am also aware that enrolling my son in the program carried a risk concerning administration of the program, both from the people in charge at the school, and the personnel put in place by the downtown administrators. Roach was a great loss, but we feel things are back on track. Life involves risk. I'm not wild about the amount of risk involved in choosing a high school path in Knox County, but we live in interesting times.

As I've repeatedly said, McIntyre certainly has a problem dealing with people, but I'll also add, no sane person with the qualifications we needs to run this system would want this job after studying how we run people out of this town once we turn on them.

McIntyre is the past. He has lost the confidence of his community. That's pretty obvious. What's not obvious is where we are going to go. And, for better or worse, the manner in which we conduct ourselves on this site could have an effect on the next superintendent.

And Betty, you don't have to be condescending to get my respect. I've read and admired your work for years and I don't see a reason to get snippy because we happen to view a topic from different perspectives. I'm a writer, not a journalist.

I don't believe acting in a civil manner on this issue, regardless of how things may usually be done around here, is an unreasonable expectation from those who truly want what's best for our county.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


And (our local magnet program is) very much McIntyre's doing.

Say what?

The magnet at A-E came about in the early 1990s as the result of outside forces, namely the Office of Civil Rights demanding school segregation.

The magnet at L&N came about in 2010, also as the result of outside forces, namely Bill Gates' grant writer for our RttT app promising a STEM school in Knox County (to which Phil Bredesen gave an "amen").

The magnet at Fulton came about in 2007 as the result of a bottom-up effort, namely the urging of former Fulton Assistant Principal Jon Rysewyk to form "academies" there (for which he won that year's Milken Award). McIntyre hadn't even been hired by KCS at the time.

The magnet at West came about in 2008 as the result of another bottom-up effort, namely the urging of former West Principal Greg Roach and teacher Lou Gallo to form an IB program there. McIntyre hadn't even been hired by KCS by that time, either.

Of the four magnet high schools you cite, two were created due to forces outside KCS and the other two were created due to the bottom-up efforts of the schools' building-level administrators.

Jim McIntyre didn't instigate any of them.

fischbobber's picture


McIntyre started in 2008 and oversaw the institution of the magnet programs at both West and Fulton. As I've said, he's likely overstayed his welcome, but to deny his effort in getting these programs established, and their current worth, is just hogwash.

As for the STEM school, that was McIntyre's baby. The private funds you cite are a far more persuasive argument for taking these schools charter, than they are for acknowledging what can happen in the public sector.

And lets get serious about sources and their timing. You've got a grins and grimaces about a $25,000 grant and a press release from the time McIntyre was being interviewed. One of his functions when he was hired was to bring the IB program online, and 25 grand didn't begin to fund the program at Fulton.

You bring a lot to the table as a candidate Tamara, but your insistence that your view of history is absolute despite what facts might indicate might warrant rethinking. I'm not your enemy.

I do believe that the next step of the process is to take these four magnets charter, and that it would be to the detriment of the community if that were to happen, but I'll be happy to argue the facts of the past rather than the vision for the future if you think that's the direction best suited for the community.

As for the magnet at AE. , lets face it, it was a joke up until the last couple years, and, while great strides have been made, what KCS has been doing is zoning kids out of AE and dropping the number of kids to the point where they can manipulate test scores with magnet students. The reality of what's going on is not that hard to see. They have also improved the magnet programs.

McIntyre has done what he was hired to do. He built the model. He just doesn't appear capable of running it. We now need to hire someone capable of running the show without tearing it apart.

Up Goose Creek's picture


when Knox County has gone from 20.6 ACT to 20.2 in the last year on ACT

Just curious if this could be a result of academically challenged students staying in the system instead of dropping out?

Bbeanster's picture

I'm aware that West has been

I'm aware that West has been through some trying times. I also believe West is a school on the rise. Maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong.

Not sure what you mean by "on the rise." Not all that long ago, West was good as it gets in Knox County.


Bird_dog's picture

Donna Wright

was principal at West when my kids started there... I miss her. Those were some good ole days.

Bbeanster's picture

She sure left the county

She sure left the county quietly. Lots of people miss her.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Real quietly. Donna lived on my street (Meredith Road) and even I didn't get to say good-bye.

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