Hundreds of Nashville Charter School Parents Say ‘Our Children Matter, Too!’

In an editorial in the Tennessean, charter school parents from across the city delivered the statement of all statements by brilliantly banding together in a demonstration of resistance. About the same time Dr. Joseph was preparing for his inaugural State of Schools speech, the Tennessean was preparing to roll out a list of 374 names of charter school parents demanding respect from the school board and school administration.

Contrary to the picture some board members paint, we are intelligent, engaged, determined parents who want a better life for our children. All parents want what is best for their children, and we are no different. Our children are thriving. They are working hard and learning every day. They are encouraged at school to dream big, and they are receiving the education they need to reach those dreams.

Charter schools have been part of Nashville’s education tapestry for more than a decade, but the bitterness and brutal language surrounding the charter narrative only gets worse. So, for these parents to enter the bloody arena, take a stand, and sign their name is nothing short of courageous.

I can’t adequately express how proud I am of these parents for taking a public stand for their children, themselves, and the schools they have chosen. I’ve heard from too many parents who feel threatened by the officials elected to work on our behalf and it saddens me. Even sadder, many of them are not on the list. So please understand, 374 is a lot of parents, but there are others. And if you’re the kind to dismiss parent voices or comfortable with the idea of parents bullied into silence, you are a problem and should be removed.

Read this editorial and check out the names!









The MLK Day Commemorative March of Today Must Replace Ceremony with Intention

Today, I am not in the mood to march.

My former self would have clapped back with brute force at such a selfish statement. Armed with $100 worth of guilt, I would have said “What if Dr. King would have said ‘I don’t feel like saving Negroes today?'”

But today is a different kind of today. The black people of yesterday knew their enemy, understood their prospects, and were clear on how to overcome. Unlike today. This today is strangely unsettling for we know neither the form nor degree to which today’s hate will manifest.

We are on the precipice of an era that will, undoubtedly, redefine our nationhood. Strikingly, the American people have hired the most emotionally fragile, uncaring, arbitrary, impolitic male to lead our country. The filthy rich stand to reach stinking status and the stinking is in position to rule. So, where are historically marginalized groups in this narrative?

Herein lies the motivation for my current mood.

We are in a state of emergency

Let’s take a look from 50,000 feet at the burning landscape, shall we?

Dismantling affordable healthcare:  House Republicans nearly tripped over themselves to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Oh, and they have offered no alternative. Let’s not forget the campaign to defund Planned Parenthood.

Birth-to-prison pipeline made simpler: Senator Jeff Sessions. The senator’s record precedes him. Sessions is known for calling the Voting Rights Act “intrusive” and famous for prosecuting three black voter registration workers on trumped up charges of voter fraud in an effort to intimidate and discourage future registrants. Thankfully, the “Marion Three” were exonerated, but Sessions would go on to extend his hate agenda to immigrants and the LGBTQ community.

“If you have nostalgia for the days when Blacks kept quiet, gays were in the closet, immigrants were invisible and women stayed in the kitchen, Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is your man,” Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois) said in a statement issued after Trump tapped Sessions for attorney general. “No senator has fought harder against the hopes and aspirations of Latinos, immigrants and people of color than Sen. Sessions.”

Doctoring up affordable housing: Lawdy! Dr. Ben Carson was tapped to lead Housing and Urban Development because he once lived in public housing. This nation’s love affair with poverty continues thanks in large part to increasing housing costs and decreasing access to affordable housing. By the way, the ‘Dr.’ that precedes his name represents MEDICAL DOCTOR. One would think that if a person is brilliant enough to perform neurosurgery that just about anything else is a piece of cake. Not so much. See Dr. Ben Carson, candidate for President of the United States.

“Because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay.”


Finally, but first, education: The jury is still out on Education czar nominee Betsy DeVos. Daily, I fight the urge to call her Billionaire Betsy. President-elect Trump loves billionaires and clearly trusts them which produces mounds of ill-will within me. I’ve written about DeVos a few times, even leading my own counseling session to justify giving her a chance and supporting friends like Erika Sanzi who writes so eloquently on her behalf. It can never be said that I didn’t try!

But this shit is big! If we cannot get education right, we are doomed. This should absolutely be America’s top priority and I’m afraid with the incoming administration it will land just short of last. While I share DeVos’ appreciation for choice, we part at the point of her radicalized free-market approach to education. We do not want billionaires and their lesser counterparts, millionaires, buying up education real estate and peddling mirages to unwitting parents.

There must be controls. Our children, very simply, are not for sale and are too precious to be used as scratch paper.

So, I’m feeling a bit anxious today, because today’s today warrants the kind of anxiety that propels you to do something.

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action.

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from the Birmingham jail