Mon
Mar 10 2014
10:48 am

At tonight's work session, self-proclaimed edu-business expert The Parthenon Group is to introduce to the school board its interim recommendations to "reallocate resources" within Knox County Schools.

As anticipated, those recommendations are highly objectionable, as follows:

--Increase elementary-level class sizes
--Cease paying teachers for advanced degrees
--Reduce staff across nine job descriptions (by 300, the report says in appendices)
--Park kids in computer labs, gut principal pay too, stop field trips, focus high school curriculum on English and math, yada yada.

The meat and taters of their proposals is on page 10 of the 14 page PowerPoint.

As usual, the links to the KCS site are acting funky, so I'll link the home page and instruct as follows to get you there:

--From the left of your screen click on Board Agenda.
--The menu to pop up will already reflect March 2014, so click on "Go."
--Scroll thru all of the first page of items (relating to the March 5 meeting already past) and down to the very bottom of the second page (relating to tonight's meeting), where you'll spot The Parthenon Group's presentation linked last. Click on that.

Your first step, the KCS home page, is here.

--

Topics:
Tamara Shepherd's picture

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I left off "scratch Project GRAD."

They estimate the cuts will save over $45 million, presumably between now and FY 2019-20 (also page 10), to cover in part the implementation of other strategies they don't explain particularly well (page 12).

They're looking for an additional $9 million in funding in the budget year under discussion now and projecting a need for an additional $77 million annually by FY 2019-20 (page 7).

Of this $77 million, Parthenon maintains that $42 million would be needed by then even if KCS were not to adopt any changes the firm recommends (page 8).

Mello's picture

End Project GRAD?

Really?

Min's picture

These people.

I loathe them with every fiber of my being. Larger class sizes. Lower pay. No field trips. Really? No, really? That's the best they could come up with?

Tamara Shepherd's picture

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But we saw through that shit, didn't we Toby?!

Seriously, I have to think that even this BOE won't bite?

R. Neal's picture

Nice. You forgot some

Nice. You forgot some headwinds, though.

Average Guy's picture

+1

has synergy just become too dated?

zoomfactor's picture

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More like economic dis-enfranchisement.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

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The complete text of that item, Min, reads "discontinue the district's current investment in fee waivers for student fees incurred due to school-day programs such as field trips."

Does this mean rich kids still get field trips?!

Average Guy's picture

No shit

If the teachers, students and parents of this town got together and made columns on whiteboard, with one column titled “How to make things better” and another titled “How to make things worse”, I’d be inclined to think the entire presentation would go into the “worse” column.

But, I’m more than eager to hear from the “stay the course’ advocates on this one. It would be extremely creative, if not wildly entertaining, to see this bag of crap defended.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

It isn't at all clear to me from that presentation how they'd replace it...

(Did the file open okay for you? Everybody's having problems with it?)

Average Guy's picture

Put that presentation in a word cloud,

and it would rain slimy MBA jargon.

The first 8 pages say absolutely nothing.

And I’m not real clear on what was left.

From my page 12, “Key Initiative” # 2 – “New Elementary Intervention Model” states as part of the goal; “Leverages technology to allow classroom teachers to deliver interventions”

As I’m not even sure what to ask, I’ll just hope somebody can clarify what this means for me.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Parthenon's tendency has been to recommend for students who are performing on-level a computer lab and a teaching paraprofessional (aide), freeing teachers to work one-on-one with struggling students.

Of course, that's a model dependent on the paraprofessional being attuned to the possibility of her own any charges slipping into that "struggling" category, too.

It's also a model dependent on the paraprofessional knowing how to enrich the learning experience for her any charges performing at levels higher that those of the pack.

Basically, it's a lot of responsibility for a teacher aide, period. But that's why they make the Big Bucks.

(Isn't $14,340 per year below the federal poverty rate? The job requires an Associates degree these days...)

jcgrim's picture

Rocketship charter chain model

Rocketship charter chain is the model most aligned with parthenon's recs. they put 50 kids Ina class in computer cubicles with one teacher & an assistant. Several times you heard The speaker refer to personalized learning. That' s MBA gobbledygook goop for software programs they pretend individualizes instruction.

These people are living in a fantasy world and recommending crap for kids that they will NEVER want for their own kids. And trying to sell it to investors as a money maker. They're scam artists.

reform4's picture

Let me see....

1. Conditioning kids to sitting in computer cubicles most of the day.

2. Using PCs and custom-developed software that has to be bought, upgraded and maintained.

3. Bill & Melinda Gates foundation funding...

hmmm......

KC's picture

How convenient.

How convenient.

glostik's picture

Stand with us?

Sorry, driving and dictating, clearly we aren't being loud enough. Is each person on this blog angry enough about this to grab 10-20 friends and show up at a rally/press conference at the end of this week? I believe one is about to be scheduled as soon as I get off the road! Hope to see you there.

Min's picture

I would be...

...if I wasn't stuck in a hearing in Nashville.

MCJ's picture

I can probably find a handful of people...

Although I'm hopeful that this kind of crap wouldn't actually make it past the BoE, I'm not especially optimistic unless it appears that the voters would be upset.

I'm up for a rally. I can probably bring a few people.

glostik's picture

Stand with us?

If this makes you as angry as it does me, are you willing to stand with us this Friday afternoon and bring 10 friends? Looks like it's time for a little less talk and a lot more action. Details coming as soon as I get off the road. Please stand with us for public education!

mizb's picture

public rally

When and where? I challenge the Parthenon group to spend a week in a school before they make the recommendation. And by "in a school", I mean one that has far too many portables, lots of low income families, not enough bathrooms, no way to get to one floor because it's not handicap accessible, and not nearly enough technology to do PARCC. I double-dog dare you. And bring the school board members with you, including the superintendent. Now - the school has to have enough guts not to "pretty things up" for the visitors too. Make it real people.

reform4's picture

Wait a second...

... Parthanon did a $1M study and never set foot in a classroom?

REALLY?

Where did all that money go?

glostik's picture

This Friday at the stage on

This Friday at the stage on Market Square at 4:30!

Stick's picture

Tamara has been on top of

Tamara has been on top of this from the get-go. Kudos!

It's time to mobilize to stop this craziness and (hopefully) present another vision for Knox county schools. I know my harping about having something positive to put forth hasn't made me any friends around these parts, but it is absolutely necessary to offer an alternative vision to the Gate juggernaut. The voters of Knox county have been inundated with visions of lazy, unionized teachers destroying public schools for over 30 years. Without something to positive to offer, it will be even harder to stop these proposals from becoming a reality.

mizb's picture

You betcha. We have some of

You betcha. We have some of the best teachers in the state, but they have been victimized by the masses. I repeat - I double dog dare you to spend a week in a classroom and see what we're talking about.

glostik's picture

Alternative...

Community schools, expanded pre-k and smaller class size in struggling schools is a start.

Stick's picture

Sounds like a great start!

Sounds like a great start! Now, let's get everyone on message...

Greg H's picture

Republicans won't be happy....

Until we are all barefoot back in Butcher Holler slopping the hogs and making moonshine for a little pocket money.

Rachel's picture

Ok, there's a lot of B.S. in

Ok, there's a lot of B.S. in that presentation, but the page with the meat is pretty appalling.

I know some of the other things (class size, salaries, etc.) are much more important, but the one that really gets me mad is cutting waivers for kids to go on field trips. Maybe that doesn't mean what it sounds like, but it sounds like kids who can pay still get to go; kids who can't, don't. How that heck can that improve education?

For that matter, if it means cutting out field trips, period, how does that improve education?

BTW, isn't the Chamber a big supporter of Project Grad? Hmmmm.

Stick's picture

Project GRAD wouldn't be much

Project GRAD wouldn't be much of a loss. The real problems are plopping kids in front of computers, de-professionalizing teaching, and ensuring that working class kids never get to go on field trips. These are proposals that only techno-libertarians, MBA's, and sociopaths could dream up.

Stick's picture

It can still work...

Perhaps he fits into one of the other categories..?

Rachel's picture

You're missing my point. I

You're missing my point. I wasn't commenting on the effectiveness of Project GRAD. I was just pointing out that, if I'm not mistaken, this is something the Chamber et al. are big on. So I was wondering how they would feel about one of their pet projects being on the chopping block.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

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The two-month old Students Parents Educators Across Knox County (SPEAK) Facebook page passed 800, then 900 members just this weekend and our "small group" meeting Friday afternoon wasn't.

I will be there, Gloria, with 50 of my closest friends.

Meanwhile, take a deep breath and read these inspirational, POWERFUL words from John Kuhn, a superintendent of schools in Texas, who predicted an Education Spring at last week's Network for Public Education Conference.

Excerpt:

WE are the reformers. We're here to shake up the educational world and our movement is only growing. This is our spring. This is our opportunity to go toe-to-toe with the people who have turned our kids' education into a sandbox for the rich and famous, with hedge funders desperate for a new investment bubble and who give no thought to what their investments actually do to the nation. This is our chance to call out the Enrons of education, to go on record for democracy and against corporate malfeasance so that when these scams crumble--and they will--we can say "We told you so" and know that we were on the right side of history.

Why can't we hire this man for Knox County Schools?!

Somebody's picture

I seriously hope that the

I seriously hope that the long view here is something more than being able to say "I told you so."

Stick's picture

There have been several

There have been several discussions about "the long view"... Perhaps you missed them? Do you have anything that you'd like to contribute?

Annie D's picture

work session

I cannot believe what I have seen tonight. This school board is insane.

reform4's picture

Is it already over? What happened?

?

Annie D's picture

The Parthenon salesman is

The Parthenon salesman is still pitching. Will they buy anything they are pitched? All I heard is that they want more money. And then, great things will happen.

Anonymou's picture

Twitter

If you go on Twitter, @mykidmyschool gives a pretty good representation of what's going on at the meeting what is being said by who.

Average Guy's picture

From the twitter feed

Fugate says she doesn't think the board has the appetite to do this.

Kincannon says the timing is wrong for what is going on in Knox County right now, "This would not be well received."

The problem is policy, not feelings or timing.

KC's picture

Fugate says she doesn't think

Fugate says she doesn't think the board has the appetite to do this.

Kincannon says the timing is wrong for what is going on in Knox County right now, "This would not be well received."

Take those words as a warning.

It basically is saying that if the BOE wasn't feeling a little heast these days, not only would they "bite," (as one commenter asked earlier) hell, they would swallow it whole.

This BOE needs to go.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

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Right this minute, Joan Grim is tickling my fancy.

She's reading and translating that 2009 Parthenon PowerPoint I linked here last year ("Where can investors play?!") and punctuating her every translation with a long, drawled "okaaay?"

Like her audience is comprised of five year-olds.

KC's picture

Like her audience is

Like her audience is comprised of five year-olds

If the audience is the current BOE and SOS, it's age appropriate. Most people see through it, after the first sentence.

reform4's picture

Long and short of the tweets

(link...)

1. Recommendations are to lower KCS to "benchmark" rural school classroom sizes. KCS board smart enough not to bite.

2. Study shows not much waste (at least not in the classrooms), which we already knew.


THANK YOU KNOX COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD FOR PISSING AWAY $300,000 OF TAXPAYER FUNDS TO TELL US WHAT WE ALREADY KNOW.

Slam the door on these morons and never EVER let them darken our doorstep again. Ever.

Bird_dog's picture

$300,000?

Are you talking about the "matching funds"? As I recall from being at the County Commission meeting, JMc said those funds came from private [I took that to mean secret donors since they were not named] funds - not from the KCS budget. I wondered at the time why Gates Foundation grant $ went to Parthenon to do the job JMc was hired to do...

KC's picture

Just watch how things unfold.

Just watch how things unfold. This Parthenon malarkey will be a distraction and allow McIntyre and the BOE a place to say "we're not like that!" When in fact, McIntyre and the BOE will do everything to incrementally impose it.

Kincannon is a lost cause.

"The timing is wrong? This will not be well received?" Huh.What about right or wrong? Or does that just not fit anywhere when deciding policy?

Just Watching's picture

"The timing is wrong? This

"The timing is wrong? This will not be well received?"

It's only because people are watching. Apparently they will try anything when we aren't watching.

"Kincannon is a lost cause."

I was shocked at what she said about going for more money. This from the person who talks about mutual respect. The have no respect for anyone. McIntyre changed this school board radically. Indya Kincannon was not like this before McIntyre. This is a lot more than Jedi mind tricks. Audit all of them. I have no faith or trust in any of them except maybe Mike McMillan. And they voted him off the island a long time ago. Audit him too just to be fair.

Fair. They don't understand the word. They are acting like carnies. They just want the money. And when they get it, what do they do with it? $300,000 down the toilet. It means nothing to them.

Never again with a Broad Academy Superintendent.

KC's picture

Besides such gems as "The

Besides such gems as "The timing is wrong," which is what Putin probably told his Generals when they asked if they should invade during the Sochi Games, the bigger plan is what has happened in the past.

DC, Chicago, Philadelphia ,et al claimed budget shortfalls to close schools and hand them over to Charter schools/private companies. Then the funds for the budget shortfall are "found" for other uses.

michael kaplan's picture

claimed budget shortfalls to

claimed budget shortfalls to close schools and hand them over

it's always 'financial exigency' and 'managing scarcity.'

CARTESIAN FROG's picture

An invisible dragon

"A penuriosus liar can fio a king,when is pugna an invisible extraho"

A poor liar can become a king,when he fights an invisible dragon

Bird_dog's picture

Was this for tonight's meeting? in 2014?

Knox County Schools Strategic Finance Plan 2015-2020
Executive Summary – DRAFT FOR DISCUSSION
March 2013

Bird_dog's picture

The Draft date is 2013

Maybe their "search and replace" function missed updating the report from the last school system it was used for? Seriously, it read like boilerplate with a few specific numbers thrown in...

Tamara Shepherd's picture

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It's boilerplate. They make essentially the same recommendations everywhere they go.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

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I said just before 3 pm today:

The two-month old Students Parents Educators Across Knox County (SPEAK) Facebook page passed 800, then 900 members just this weekend and our "small group" meeting Friday afternoon wasn't.

Whoa. At 10 pm tonight, that member count had swollen to over 1200.

Dunno if that number possibly includes invitations outstanding (but not yet accepted) or it's all folks who've accepted their invites...but either way, it's indicative of growing interest and concern.

Bird_dog's picture

Wading through the boilerplate document...pg 13

•In KCS, investments in class size have resulted in the creation of nearly 300 incremental teaching positions
•Teacher effectiveness data in KCS (measured by TVAAS) indicates that there is a similar number of teachers identified as Level 1 or Level 2
While this does not suggest that the investment has caused schools to hire less effective teachers, it does mean that the investment has not resulted in the desired student learning improvements

I call BS on this. TVAAS is not reliable, based on the examples I have heard of great teachers getting low scores because their students are excellent...

Tamara Shepherd's picture

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JustWatching (and Reform4), KCS isn't paying Parthenon.

The Gates Foundation paid $800-something K and another $300-something K was covered in some split between the Chamber and the Great School Partnership, for a total of $1.2 million.

KCS is just the conduit for Gates' dabbling in governance models, namely those based on "free market" principles.

(EDIT: Just looked in the KCS news archives for the docs relating to this and all I find is a letter from the GSP pledging $180K of the $360K not covered by the Gates grant. Can't immediately recall if I previously knew where that other $180K came from...)

Bird_dog's picture

notes from July 2013 KCC Workshop - LWV Observers Report

"Some major budget items were originally on consent, but removed when setting the agenda...
Knox County Schools needs approval to accept a grant of $840K with a matching $360K from local funds - reported to be in the current school budget - to hire Parthenon Group to recommend strategies to make KCS more efficient and effective. commissioner Wright had concerns about Parthenon’s interests in moving from public to private education...;"
There must have been more information provided to Commission before the meeting as Superintendent McIntyre’s remarks at the work session were not very informative.
"

AS I recall, JMc said the $360K was from "private" donations but the donors were not identified...

cwg's picture

No, $180 was from GSP and

No, $180 was from GSP and $180 was from KCS. They even tweeted that that night.

(link...)

TNchickadee's picture

180K

I know 180k is just chump change for a budget in the hundred millions range, but any way you slice it, that is my salary 3+ times over...or three more teachers in my school....or 10 more teaching assistants.

Just Watching's picture

"JustWatching (and Reform4),

"JustWatching (and Reform4), KCS isn't paying Parthenon."

Don't care. Grants are an excuse for this bunch. They spent $400,000 of federal money for the Farragut wi-fi. That project should have cost $40,000. But it isn't our money, right? Who pays for the upkeep and support?

We do.

Grants are an excuse I don't buy. We are on the hook for the downstream costs.

reform4's picture

"Donations" from the Chamber.

You are aware that the Chamber receives very very healthy funding from Knox County and the City of Knoxville, right?

You are aware that the Great Schools Partnership gets $2.6 million from Knox County Schools, aren't you?

Launder it however you wish- it's still taxpayer money.

Just Watching's picture

Great Schools Partnership,

Great Schools Partnership, how did that work out? You've got it right, it is laundering money.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

(Double-post deleted.)

Rachel's picture

Let's see, both Fugate and

Let's see, both Fugate and Kincannon indicated that they weren't gonna support the Parthenon recommendations and you guys are complaining about the way they said it?

Sheesh.

Average Guy's picture

WATE interview with McIntyre on Parthenon

(link...)

Sound like a guy looking to bail or wait?

Those indicating they are not going to support Parthenon should be renouncing the use of Parthenon.

Rachel's picture

I saw that on the news. I

I saw that on the news. I wasn't referring to McIntyre, I was referring (as you know) to the comments about Kincannon and Fugate.

When somebody indicates that they're going to do what you want, the best response is to say "thanks very much" rather than to publicly question his/her motives (you can question all you like in private).

Just saying. It's kinda like that honey, vinegar thing.

Min's picture

Sure.

They said they wouldn't support it now, but there was considerable hedging. I think it's the hedging that has everyone on edge. And the fact that no one trusts the Board of Education as far as they can throw them.

Average Guy's picture

Figured the honey was gone,

after the contract extension vote.

Parthenon is here because McIntyre wants them here. And Parthenon's goals weren't a mystery before that vote.

R. Neal's picture

What's interesting is that

What's interesting is that McIntyre has not only pissed off a bunch of teachers, but he also put the incumbent school board members on the collective hot seat by forcing that contract extension vote just before an election and during all the turmoil.

Not a smart political move on his part, and not a very nice way to pay back his supporters on the school board.

But they voted for the extension anyway. Go figure. Maybe he's the Svengali of school superintendents?

KC's picture

They think the Haslam will

They think the Haslam will save them. Ha. Haslam is going to have his work cut out saving himself.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

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That's right, AG.

I ran a search of our RttT grant app just last night, searching for both the words "Parthenon" and "resource allocation."

We made no promise whatsoever in that app to use Parthenon's services and although a question existed on the app as to how we would use data to determine resource allocation, among other things, we sidestepped the question in that regard.

It was McIntyre and McIntyre alone to have fostered this relationship with Parthenon--and I did my due diligence to verify it.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

Steve and JustWatching, agreed that the pledge from the Great Schools Partnership (which is documented at the KCS site's "News" tab by a letter contained in archived docs there) and from the Chamber (which I recalled, but can't document) really is taxpayer money, too.

I do wish the BOE would simply object to this root problem of school systems being used as conduits for billionaires' idle dabbling in public policy, that's all.

Rachel, I think the concern raised with Indya's and Lynn's comments last night as to why they'll reject Parthenon's recommendations NOW is that together their responses caused us to wonder if they'd still be rejecting them if they weren't currently in the hot seat. Lots of us would have preferred knowing they rejected the proposals because they were bad proposals, period.

Rachel's picture

Who is "us"? Are you

Who is "us"? Are you speaking your yourself, or also for the people who made the comments I'm referring to?

Look, quoting Fugate and Kincannan as saying "this would not be well received" (it wouldn't) etc. and then criticizing them publicly for saying it only widens the gulf between you and them and makes it less likely they'll listen to you in the future.

Maybe you don't care. But you should.

And really, when an elected official decides to vote the way I want, I don't really give a hoot WHY (or at least I keep my reservations to myself). In the end, it doesn't matter; the result is what matters.

Just Watching's picture

The why matters a lot.

The why matters a lot.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Rachel:

Q: "Who is "us"? Are you speaking your yourself, or also for the people who made the comments I'm referring to?"

A: "Us" is the 1200 people I said were on a Facebook page last night talking about this concern. Is there some other Facebook page where some other 1200 people were suggesting Parthenon's ideas would be better implemented "later?"

Q: "Look, quoting Fugate and Kincannan as saying "this would not be well received" (it wouldn't) etc. and then criticizing them publicly for saying it only widens the gulf between you and them and makes it less likely they'll listen to you in the future. Maybe you don't care. But you should."

A: It is not possible to explain why one has concerns for an officeholder's positions or attitudes without citing one or more examples as to why that is, that's all. The first step to closing a rift is to identify where it exists.

Q: "And really, when an elected official decides to vote the way I want, I don't really give a hoot WHY (or at least I keep my reservations to myself). In the end, it doesn't matter; the result is what matters."

A: In the short term, sure. Over the long term, though, it ought to be that when members of a deliberative body talk about their differences of opinion--especially to offer why they have them--they better ensure the body's shared vision over time.

(Gotta run. Will check in later.)

Just Watching's picture

Thanks to Lauren Hopson and

Thanks to Lauren Hopson and SPEAK. You can bet your life that the school board would have happily and giddily approved that Parthenon crap had the heat not been on. If the KNS did their job there is no telling how much better the school board would be. Black Wednesday was a speed bump compared to the school board. Lynne Fugate has to go. And I don't see how anyone can support Indya after last night. They are not representing the people of Knox County, they are representing Dr. McIntyre.

Knoxgal's picture

And I Dont See How

And I don't see how anyone can support Sally Absher knowing what we know about her - in spite of the fact she told Bean she no longer belongs to the Tea Party.

R. Neal's picture

Donzilla weighs

Donzilla weighs in...

(link...)

R. Neal's picture

WATE: Board member Indya

WATE:

Board member Indya Kincannon called the suggestions "very disturbing."

(link...)

Just Watching's picture

.

Indya's comments last night prior to the Parthenon presentation don't jive with her late Mea Culpa on Parthenon.

Give me a break. That is hilarious. Too little much too late. She isn't the same person she was. Another good soldier that needs to be voted out. Carson too.

JimCrawford1's picture

Ironically

The Parthenon is a temple dedicated to the greek goddess Athena. Athena is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, just warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill which was not demonstrated last night.

I find it awkwardly interesting that a group proposing cuts on one side of their mouth, also suggests increasing central office staff. If you don'y know how much they make, well thank the County for that Central office pay

For every one of the central office employees, except a few, you could have about three teachers.

Suggesting to not pay teachers for higher degrees is well counterintuitive, after all do we not want the best and smartest teachers? Teachers are required to attend staff development in order to maintain their certification. What the county has to offer is at times mediocre at best.

As for field trips, well I've been on a lot of them, and the school has never payed for one. It is state law that if you go on a field trip during school hours and a student will miss instructional time and cannot pay for the field trip and/or their lunch, the TEACHER is required to pay for the field trip, but you don't hear anyone complaining.

As for class size student ratio, your electives solve that problem. There are no mandated ratios for elective teachers, it's all in the scheduling.

To quote Mrs. Shepherd's earlier post: :WE are the reformers. We're here to shake up the educational world and our movement is only growing. This is our spring. This is our opportunity to go toe-to-toe with the people who have turned our kids' education into a sandbox for the rich and famous, with hedge funders desperate for a new investment bubble and who give no thought to what their investments actually do to the nation."

Go out and find someone running for the school board and vote the ones currently in place OUT!

Just Watching's picture

"If you don'y know how much

"If you don'y know how much they make, well thank the County for that Central office pay."

Remember two years ago when the school board and McIntyre parroted that the Central Office only cost $5 million a year? Donila put up the salaries and they added up to over $8 million a year. Either the lie or they are extremely incompetent. Neither is acceptable. Yet strangely the only school board member ever up for recall was Bill Phillips. He should have been, he was crazy and dangerous. But lying or being wrong by almost double is serious business.

Simple question, how do you know when they are lying or wrong?

TNchickadee's picture

Staffing Cuts

Next will come McIntyre's proposal to bridge the budget gap by cutting positions. This will be his payback to teachers for challenging his authority and outing his misuse of money to the county commission. Not too long ago he threatened to release 90 some teachers or freeze teacher pay, screaming that the money was just not there. KCEA, who had bargaining rights at the time, said "Find the money elsewhere," and magically, he did. He paid them back with support of the state's efforts to end bargaining rights and trash the salary schedule. I hope the public doesn't buy the act.

Anonymou's picture

Politicians

I'm inclined to be in the belief that how do you know they are telling the truth when they are talking. Someone commented earlier on the "why" it matters. It's all about the motive behind what is being done. The politics of education are dirty, and the people who make the rules, don't play by them. Question everything. You won't get any of them to admit they are lying, that would take are real leader to own up to his mistakes. Mac needed a PR team in place of his PR team, there's obviously a lot of problems internally. The best way to catch them in a lie, public records requests. Request emails, documents, get it all, any document when the board meets, even a little piece of paper passed to another member is public record.

Anonymou's picture

Politicians

I'm inclined to be in the belief that how do you know they are telling the truth when they are talking. Someone commented earlier on the "why" it matters. It's all about the motive behind what is being done. The politics of education are dirty, and the people who make the rules, don't play by them. Question everything. You won't get any of them to admit they are lying, that would take are real leader to own up to his mistakes. Mac needed a PR team in place of his PR team, there's obviously a lot of problems internally. The best way to catch them in a lie, public records requests. Request emails, documents, get it all, any document when the board meets, even a little piece of paper passed to another member is public record.

KC's picture

So if the BOE members imply

So if the BOE members imply they may have supported Parthenon, if some political heat hadn't been recently sent their way, that's ok!?

Because you know, if we retain Kincannon and Fugate, at some point "the timing" will no longer be wrong, and the BOE can adopt the Parthenon's advice, without it being the final nails being driven into their political coffins.

I hate to use this phrase, but words do indeed have meaning for public officials. The seismic shift is growing to be greater than the consequences of Black Wednesday.

Rather than taking a principled stand, one way or another, the BOE has basically said the Parthenon groups advice is bad politics...right now. We can assume those who didn't speak are just wishing It.Will.All.Go.Away. But it won't.

And as far as using this group in the first place, I find it hard to believe UT can't do something like this at a fraction of the cost. But then that wouldn't have allowed Parthenon to get their foot officially in our door, would it?

Watching and Waiting's picture

Children

Where in the Parthenon presentation does it say anything about what's best for the children? Isn't that the responsibility of a school system? Where do the kids fit into this? Larger class size, computer teaching, losing Project Grad, lower income kids being left at school during field trips, raising the Central Office staff, increase principal pay, eliminate some 300 teaching positions, reallocating teachers aides to computer labs, not recognizing higher level teaching degrees? Do any of these sound child centered?
As for adding Recruitment Officers and 4 HR positions? Wouldn't that money be more useful adding positions that directly deal with children on a daily basis?
I am appalled that the children in Knox County have taken a backseat to the money! Shame on McIntyre for single handedly changing the face of Knox County Schools!
Let's put the focus back on the kids! What's best for THEM, what's going to help THEM succeed should be our goal!!

KC's picture

FYI: KCS has already been

FYI: KCS has already been cutting out field trips.

Bird_dog's picture

Advice from Fox

Surely what applies to affordable health care applies here:
Children should just stop being poor!
Problem solved...

Tamara Shepherd's picture

Question for reporters:

When did school systems begin entering into consulting contracts that require them to actually hire and put on their payrolls the consultants themselves?

Since I find no such obligation previewed in this school system's April 2013 Proposal to Maximize Resources for Student Success, would one of you paid super sleuths please tell us by what device Morgan Camu, delivered to KCS via The Parthenon Group's subcontractor Education Resource Strategies (ERS), came to be added directly to the KCS Central Office payroll?

My original understanding was that she would perform this work as an employee of ERS, not KCS?

And for how long might we anticipate being stuck with her?

I find her in the News-Sentinel's database of KCS employee salaries here.

Anonymou's picture

One would have to ask

Then who does she work for??? Interesting though she is listed as in the office of the Superintendent, but on the email list her title is other:
MORGAN CAMU · morgan.camu@knoxschools.org
Other

Just make a public request for all of her emails before she deletes them.

SnM's picture

(link...)

Average Guy's picture

What does "engaged to work

What does "engaged to work with" mean as far as who hired her and who does she work for?

Also, that's a very interesting document to see in regard to last year's principal moves.

In a cursory way, I'd see that mentioned or referenced, but never actually saw the list.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

I remember seeing that agenda, Scott, but I didn't understand it to mean she had been hired.

Here's how the agenda read:

Morgan Camu, a doctoral candidate in the Education Leadership program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, had been engaged to work with KCS over the coming months and help Superintendent McIntyre facilitate the effort to develop the next five-year strategic plan. She began work on July 8, 2013 and would be working closely with staff, school leaders, teachers and community partners over the following ten months.

I guess I was thrown because the agenda said she was expected to work here only "over the coming months." Shouldn't all that italicized text have just been replaced with the word "hired?"

However, I do now find this explanation on page 22 of the 26 page "Proposal to Maximize Resources for Student Success as part of the Strategic Use of Resources Initiative":

Internal Capacity: The Director of Public Affairs will devote 20-30% of her time to these efforts, depending on the phase of the project. In addition, the Chief of Staff will also dedicate part of his time to this effort. The KCS has also created a Director of Strategic Planning term position. This position will be filled by Morgan Camu, a Harvard Ed.L.D. candidate who will join the district in July 2013 to coordinate the stakeholder engagement and strategic planning process. In this role, Ms. Camu will be able to draw on her past experiences (as a high school teacher and later as a district administrator); she will focus on this effort full-time and will report to directly to superintendent. Finally, other district staff will also assist, as needed, in facilitating some of the engagement sessions (for example, instructional staff will be called on to facilitate focus groups with principals and teachers).

I can't recall what it was I saw back then that led me to think she worked for ERS...

In any event, if KCS is paying her $65K for this "term" assignment, it seems fair to tack that onto the $180K in grant matching funds they also supplied to Parthenon? KCS therefore spent $245K for this tripe?

KC's picture

If McIntyre had any past

If McIntyre had any past relationship with Parthenon or ERS, isn't that a conflict-of-interest?

reform4's picture

Not sure

I think the Ethics policy would restrict a COI to an existing or current relationship. Technically, you couldn't personally benefit from a past relationship.

But yes, our COI rules, as thin as they are, are big enough to drive trucks through. There's nothing, for example, that would keep JMc from working for Parthenon or ERS after his contract is up.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

There's nothing, for example, that would keep JMc from working for Parthenon or ERS after his contract is up.

And Broad superintendents nationally are prone to do this, racking up even bigger salaries in the process.

Just one case in point: Dr. Peter Gorman in Charlotte-Mecklenburg moved from there to Amplify (a division of Rupert Murdock's News Corp), picking up another $100K or so annually to boost his new pay to around $350K.

More recently, he's stirred up a stink by peddling his wares to his former employees.

(Too rushed to track down link, but search his name here at KV to pull up prior convo to substantiate both points.)

KC's picture

As I'm sure you know, in

As I'm sure you know, in politics, perception is reality.

Of course, lots of times, if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, etc, it's probably a duck.

In a short time, Dr. McIntyre's supporters will explain why it's not a duck. I'm sure they will have ample opportunity to do so. I am eagerly awaiting an explanation.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

A KCS teacher writes this morning to report that s/he has been told by the school principal that fee waivers are no longer available for Economically Disadvantaged students to participate in field trips? That the families of such students must "find the money" to participate?

Also, at this week's March 31 school board work session, I wondered at the presentation by Green Magnet Principal Beth Lackey, who has completed Dr. McIntyre's Leadership Academy. Where did she find the money to take her teachers from a 200 day contract to a 221 day contract? She said the move cost $160K and cited "staffing changes" enabling the change? Does this possibly mean larger classroom sizes, aides rather than teachers, or TFA recruits are part of her implementation plan?

I don't know, but together these two incidents caused me to wonder if some of The Parthenon Group's proposals not requiring BOE approval might already be underway???

TNchickadee's picture

2 Points

First, OF COURSE the proposals are already underway. This is the way the superintendent works. He decides what he wants to do, THEN has a community forum so it will seem like he is taking community input into consideration. The board would love for us to think that the last Parthenon presentation was just a list of suggestions, but it was actually a road map to where we are going.

Secondly, the failure to offer fee waivers will end up causing even more of a divide between the "have" and "have not" schools. A long time ago, the Supreme Court decided that there was no such thing as "separate but equal." However, everyone will know who the fee waiver kids are when they are routinely left at school while their class goes on a field trip, which is a violation of their confidentiality protection. Either that or the kids at the poorest schools will never have the field trip experience...those children who are in the most need of just that experience. Our schools will become even more separate, but unequal. This is discrimination of the worst kind against children who live in poverty, you know those children that the new reforms are supposed to help. But wait, they are not profitable enough. Why bother?

Min's picture

Not to mention...

...it's just plain mean.

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