Prior to running for school board originally, a former school board member and friend told me that I would be surprised at how much was determined at the state level for our local schools. Back then, I was so busy in my classroom taking care of--and teaching--the children in my class that I had not noticed all the terrible decisions being forced on our schools at the local, state and national level. I had had enough. I decided I would try to begin to change what I could locally. I was given that chance by being elected as the District 7 School Board Representative and am so grateful. Some of the more important changes that have occurred while serving on the Board of Education over the last five years:
1. Eliminating the t-cap standardized test for K-2 in Knox County
2. Eliminating the Leadership Academy that was costing Knox County over a million dollars
3.The change in leadership of Knox County Schools. This year our superintendent produced a balanced budget that included pay raises for certified AND classified employees, and requested three much needed new schools. I am excited that the Board voted to make Adrian Burnett a priority. There are some additional projects at some of the other schools in district 7 scheduled, too.
While serving on the Board, I have been to Nashville twice to speak before a subcommittee: once on the failed TN Ready testing and once concerning the Kindergarten Portfolios.
Most recently, I traveled once again to Nashville with other board members and superintendents for a private meeting with Governor Lee to explain the harm vouchers would have on our counties and plead with him to reconsider his decision.
I have worked tirelessly to defeat the Charter Authorization bill and the Education Savings Account bill (better known as educational vouchers) at the state level. I have called, emailed, texted and made visits to the Capitol. Unfortunately both of these bills were passed by a legislature that succumbed to bribery, promises and gifts in exchange for votes. This vote was also passed without an accurate understanding and description of financial costs to taxpayers.
The citizens I have spoken with are very angry about the vouchers (ESAs) being passed and the way they were passed. Time will tell how mad. Pray for Tommy and I as we seek to serve and do what is best for the students, parents, teachers, taxpayers and all Tennesseans.
Maybe now is the time to consider running for State Representative and try to effect change?