Nashville Metro School Board Member Talks Rapid Growth in District Six and Her Graduating Senior This Year

Nashville Metro School Board Member Talks Rapid Growth in District Six and Her Graduating Senior This Year

 

Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed MNPS District Six school board member Fran Bush in studio to talk about the new middle school in District Six and their continued rapid growth.

Leahy: It is always a delight for us to have the wonderful Fran Bush in studio. A sane member, perhaps the only sane member of the Metro Nashville Public School Board. We were talking Fran about the growth problems in your District, District Six. And you have a new middle school approved, right?

Bush: Yes.

Leahy: When will that come online?

Bush: So this is the thing I think a lot of people really don’t understand. It’s a great thing, of course, when you hear a new school being built, but it takes two to three years for that school to be built. Therefore, we’re still having that good, bad problem. We have to make so many adjustments. Bring in more portables and even try to extend our buildings as far as construction to be able to provide more classrooms.

And of course, that comes with more teachers. Our student-teacher ratio increases. And if the listening audience doesn’t know, we can go up to 30 students in a classroom per one teacher. And that could be a deficiency when it comes to academic growth because you do lose students when you have such a large classroom. The smaller, the better. Those are the kind of things that we’re experiencing or we’ll be experiencing if we don’t move faster.

Leahy: In high school, you need a new high school because of the growth. And both high schools there now in Antioch and Cane Ridge, they’re overcapacity. I’m gathering it’s difficult for students and teachers alike there.

Bush: Yes. And just to add, when I just made the statement of adding on to our schools we were also approved to do an extension on the Cane Ridge High School, not the Antioch. Antioch we did about maybe two or two years ago we had an extension, another wing onto the high school just because of the growth. Now we’re going to be looking to do that for Cane Ridge.

Again, it’s going to take about two years to do that. So where are we at? We are at a high capacity. We have a new middle school coming that takes about two to three years. We found land for that. We’ve been approved for that. On this particular land my goal or my ask was, was it enough to build two schools, a middle and high school? But because of the density, it will not allow a second school on that property.

Leahy: So it’s going to be crowded for a period of time.

Bush: Yes. (Sighs)

Leahy: Catch us up now on where we are in terms of students in person, online, graduation, and sports. What’s going on there?

Bush: We are in a good space for our sports. Kids are playing. They’re running track, they are playing their spring sports and summer sports. And that is a plus. Parents are able to see their kids finally.

Leahy: Parents are able to finally see their kids play sports. Wow!

Bush: Yes. Now we’re inching upon graduation. We’ve had prom.

Leahy: They actually had proms?

Bush: They did.

Leahy: Were they wearing masks or what?

Bush: Yes. They were required to wear masks.

Leahy: Was it a masked ball? (Chuckles)

Bush: It was the cutest thing when you look at all the pictures and everybody had their mask matching their dresses or their tuxedos or whatever they decided to wear. And most of the proms were outside this year.

Leahy: They’re outside?

Bush: They were outside, weather permitting. They were outside this year.

Leahy: Proms, I’m told, have gotten bigger and bigger and bigger. They rent the limousines, they do all this sort of stuff. Is that right? I’m disconnected from that part of the world, but it’s a big deal.

Bush: I don’t think a lot of limo services were used this year. I didn’t see a lot of limos like usual. It was more of their own cars. Family members who had taken them. Because, of course, financially, it was a difficult time this year.

Leahy: How about graduation? What’s going to happen with graduation this year?

Bush: Graduation is moving forward in all of our schools and all of our high schools going to different arenas. So we’re excited about that. There are going to be some restrictions of course. As we inch into May, we can see some things that can be lifted or more people can attend graduation right now.

Let’s say, for example, only four tickets are given out per family. Well, that’s difficult. When you and I graduated from high school, everybody could come to see us graduate. So now it’s very limited.

Leahy: When I graduated from high school, they got there via horse and buggy. (Laughter) Not really.

Bush: It was a big deal. Parents are a little bit frustrated because my family is of 10, so only have four tickets. Who gets left off?

Leahy: Do you have a high school graduate this year?

Bush: I do. I have one graduating. Yes. I’m really excited.

Leahy: We must hear the details. What is your senior going to be doing after graduation?

Bush: My senior attends Hillsboro High School and he is so excited. It’s just so infectious to see his smile finally because during this pandemic, just so you know, we have lost a lot of our seniors graduating on time this year because of the pandemic. We lost them. And it wasn’t because they could not be a part of that virtual space in the platform. It was rigor. It was mental. Mentally it was really hard.

Leahy: Well, it’s hard. The mental difficulties of kids in that age. When you’re a teenager, the thing you want to do is hang out with other teenagers.

Bush: That’s right.

Leahy: And they got all this social stuff going on and they want to be part of it.

Bush: Exactly. And it was totally eliminated. So these students just felt so isolated. Depression was at an all-time high. Even my son, I have to say, and being honest, we went through a lot of mental depression with him.

Leahy: When do they come back in going in person?

Bush: Fully in person next year and we will have some virtual this year.

Leahy: Where are we now? Are we in person or is it virtual?

Bush: Yes. So those parents who chose in-person students are back in person.

Leahy: That’s been since what?

Bush: We got them back in February.

Leahy: In February.

Bush: We start putting them back in and transitioned them back in by grade. So you do have about 45 percent of students that are still at home, and we have about 50 to 53 percent that are back in person.

Leahy: So your son’s graduating?

Bush: Yes.

Leahy: Congratulations.

Bush: Thank you.

Leahy: And so does he have plans? What’s he going to do?

Bush: So Daniel is going to go to Tennessee State University. He’s going to go into communications. He is a very good speaker.

Leahy: I wonder where that comes from?

Bush: So yes. It doesn’t come far from me.

Leahy: Is he going to try for the football team with Eddie George?

Bush: I think he’ll probably be down there with them, I’m sure because he’s so outgoing. Daniel has never met a stranger. I’m so excited for him. This has been a long time coming to see that smile again.

Leahy: The Tennessee State thing I think that the announcement of the hiring of Eddie George as a head football coach to me is going to have a huge impact at Tennessee State in terms of enrollment.

Bush: Yeah, I think so, especially with recruiting for football. And if you haven’t heard about Master P, who is a very famous rapper, very well known and respected he actually spoke at one of our middle schools while he was here. He dropped off his son and his son had so many offers and he chose Tennessee State University to play basketball.

Leahy: He’s going to play basketball?

Bush: He’s going to play basketball. Big deal for the school. There’s a lot of great things coming to the school, and we’re really excited about it.

Leahy: So when I was growing up, even in upstate New York, I knew about Tennessee State football. It was a big deal. Too Tall Jones went there. So it was a big deal.

Bush: We had Oprah, who graduated from Tennessee State University. A lot of history, a lot of great history. We are really excited about the opportunities and what’s happening at the school. And I am an alumni of Tennessee State University. And I also have a son graduating from MTSU this year. So I have a lot of things, a lot of graduation going on.

Leahy: It keeps you busy.

Bush: Yes.

Leahy: And you had these kids when you’re, like, 10 years old, right. (Laughter)

Bush: Five boys.

Leahy: Five boys! You could have your own basketball team.

Bush: Yes. But it’s a lot of great things going on. So thank you for asking.

Listen to the third hour here:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Fran Bush” by Fran Bush Facebook. Background Photo “MNPS” by Metro Nashville Public Schools.

 

 

 

 

Fran Bush on Charter Schools: ‘It’s All About Choice’

Fran Bush on Charter Schools: ‘It’s All About Choice’

 

Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed MNPS District Six school board member Fran Bush in studio to discuss her views on charter schools and the process by which they are instituted in the state.

Leahy: In studio with us, Metro Nashville Public School Board member Fran Bush. Fran, during the break, we were talking about charter schools. And I want to talk overall about the philosophy, your philosophy with regards to charter schools. Generally speaking, do you favor the idea of having charter schools or do you oppose it?

Bush: So my position has always been and this is always one of those very controversial topics when it comes to public versus charter. And before I ran, I always believed in parents having a choice. It’s all about choice. We understand that our public schools, it takes away our funding because we have to fund charter schools before our public schools.

Leahy: Now, Crom would say, the difference is a government-run public school and a charter, independent-run public school. You’d say they’re both public schools.

Bush: Right. So they’re still our students. So let’s make it very clear these students are still public school students. They have just made a choice, or parents have made a choice to put them in a charter school for whatever reason, they felt their student will be academically served best.

Leahy: And a charter school gets a charter from the Metro National Public School Board or the local school board.

Bush: Correct.

Leahy: That allows them to operate their own public school according to their guidelines, but guided by the Metro Public Schools. But they have their own management team and their own style and their own approach. We have one of the most well-known, I guess, is Nashville Classical, which is a K8. It’s been around for many years. I think, about 10 years maybe.

Bush: A long time.

Leahy: And from everything I can tell, very successful. Polls show that there is huge support among minority groups, Black voters, and Hispanic voters for charter schools and choice. So generally saying you support the concept of choice?

Bush: Yes, I do, because every model is not for every student. So it doesn’t mean that we don’t care and love our community public schools. That’s not what we’re saying. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that there are options and there should always be choices because every student is different. They learn differently.

They have different needs. They need different support. And sometimes the public school or that particular school, a parent feels that that is not what they want for their student, and they find some other option. If it’s in a charter school, they can give them the support they definitely need for their students.

Leahy: So that parent, if there is a charter school that they want to attend, they don’t have to pay anything extra. It’s free, if you will, except for direct payments. They can follow that. Here in Nashville and in Tennessee, the way it works is the charter school brings an application to Metro Nashville Public School.

Bush: Correct.

Leahy: And you can vote up or down. And if they vote down in recent years now there’s a special commission they can appeal it to.

Bush: Absolutely. So if a charter school comes before the board, they will submit their application. Once they submit the application and go through an interview process, and then they have to meet certain criteria. If it’s academic, if it’s the finances, location, whatever the case may be, they have to meet pretty much and have an eight star.

Charters are judged a little bit differently? So they have to have a little bit more of a higher standard in order to operate or to get that approval. So they have to meet so many different needs. If it’s English learning students if it’s students with special needs, that kind of thing. So all that is encompassed into this application process.

Now it comes before the board. If the board sees that academically, they still have things that they have to meet they have 30 days to make those corrections or update their application to make sure that it is up to standards coming back before the board making those adjustments for approval.

Leahy: I guess last week there were two charter applications.

Bush: This week.

Leahy: This week?

Bush: Tuesday.

Leahy: This is breaking news folks. And so it was Nashville Classical, which has been operating a K8 for some time. Did they want to have another K8, or did they want to go with a high school?

Bush: I think it’s more of a K8 in a different location. So I think she was going to start Elementary. I’m sorry. Elementary first element. And then, of course, you add a grade every year.

Leahy: Basically, then you the Metro board consider the application of Nashville Classical for another elementary site. And then was there another application?

Bush: Yes. It was a new one. It’s Ventura and it’s a new never established or new application.

Leahy: Startup?

Bush: Startup. Yes.

Leahy: What happened in the discussion and how did the board vote? How did you vote on these two applications?

Bush: So just so everyone can be clear if I deny a charter application the first go-around is because there are some things that needed to be added or adjusted in the application so that it can meet the academic needs of the students. Once that application comes back the next 30 days, nine times out of 10, they make the adjustments. And if parents, once again, if they are supporting the application or the means of the students academically is going to be a success, then my vote is always yes.

Leahy: What was the vote on these two proposals on Tuesday?

Bush: Nashville Classical two, only one voted in favor and the rest we voted again…

Leahy: So it was nine zip against Ventura. And then eight to one against Nashville Classical.

Bush: Right.

Leahy: So you voted against Ventura Academics, and then you voted against Nashville Classical. But there’s an asterisk. Explain your vote and what happens next?

Bush: So Nashville Classical again, a very great school. No problems with the history. And so we can be clear that once they make a new application to go, the application process is very strenuous. It’s not something that’s easy. It’s something that is really a long process. It’s like a checkmark. You have to checkmark, like, 100 things off the list. And if they don’t have so many different things on that checklist and they did not meet the criteria or partially met that kind of grading. They did not partially meet on the academics.

Leahy: I’m just curious what would have done the shortcoming on the academics if they have, like, a dozen years or so of good academic experience? I think they outperform other schools. What in their application led you to believe that their second school would not meet academic standards if their first school has been well above?

Bush: That’s a good question. I’ve looked at these applications before. This is not the first time this has happened. Nashville Classical is not the only school that we’ve seen this happen to. It’s amazing just what you just spoke about. They did so well. They’re doing so well in their current state. But when they submit another application, it’s like it changes. Something changed in the application that does not match exactly what they’ve been doing.

Which they should be doing the exact same thing. But something in the application that spirals into a different direction of what they’ve always done. And that kind of has been a curiosity for me because I’m thinking it should be the same on consistency. And somehow with these applications, it doesn’t match.

Leahy: So there was their curriculum going to be different. Is that what it was?

Bush: It was like more of the curriculum meeting certain standards with their English learner students, or if it was dealing with students with special needs.

Leahy: So you told them to fix it.

Bush: Just fix it.

Leahy: And they’ll come back in 30 days.

Bush: Come back in 30 days.

Leahy: If they fix it, you’re gonna vote Yes.

Bush: Yes.

Leahy: But what will the vote be then? seven two against it?

Bush: Yes.

Leahy: But then they get to appeal it.

Bush: They can appeal it to the state.

Leahy: And then they’ll probably get it approved.

Bush: Yes.

Listen to the full third hour here:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio

 

 

 

 

 

Metro Nashville School Board Member Fran Bush Talks About Personal Attacks She’s Received on Facebook Because She Advocated for Students to Get Back in the Classroom

Metro Nashville School Board Member Fran Bush Talks About Personal Attacks She’s Received on Facebook Because She Advocated for Students to Get Back in the Classroom

 

Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed MNPS District Six School Board Member Fran Bush to the studio to discuss the vicious attacks she received via Facebook for advocating that students return to in-person schooling in Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Leahy: We have a treat today. We are in the studio with our very good friend Metro Nashville Public School Board member Fran Bush. Good morning Fran.

Bush: Good morning. Good morning, everybody.

Leahy: You know and we’re so nice here Fran. We’re always nice in our dialogue. You have had a very interesting time since last you were in here in studio. You have the temerity to simply express your view in a social media exchange with a member of the Metro Nashville Public School teachers union. And as I recall it the Metro Nashville Public School teacher person whose name I forget right now had put a little post on Facebook and said, you know, we’re not going back until we’re all vaccinated. It was saying if something like that, right?

Bush: Yes. First and foremost I don’t fight on Facebook. That’s almost vicious right? It’s almost like death. Her name is Amanda Kail.

Leahy: Hello Amanda. You are welcome to come in and chat with us, Amanda.

Bush: Yes. Absolutely.

Leahy: Metro Nashville Education Association president.

Bush: Yes. MNEA.

Leahy: The teachers union.

Bush: So she made this post just complaining, always complaining about going back to school and all the fear that she would put into teachers. And it was working. Not for all teachers. The union I think makes up only 30 percent here in Nashville. So the majority of our teachers are not a part of the union but it was very interesting to see her post because that’s what her mission has been all along is to keep these students at home.

Leahy: At home. The idea is it’s not 105 percent safe for teachers and therefore until it’s 105 percent safe the teachers shouldn’t go in. I guess that’s her argument.

Bush: Her argument was that we were going to use teachers as lab rats or experiments. It was a constant opportunity to keep that type of tension going.

Leahy: That negative attack. I’ve looked at all the reports and the science. I’m not a scientist. I don’t play one on the radio. But of all of the evidence that I’ve seen says that children don’t really spread the coronavirus.

Bush: Yes, absolutely. And that’s where the misconception comes because we were not following the science. Doctors and epidemiologists have said kids are safer in school and that schools are not super spreaders. And that is proven science. The AP and the CDC and everyone have come to say that. But Nashville, being in a position that we’re in with a city that’s open for business as usual but yet our schools were closed.

Leahy: We have some clips here from some parents talking about all of the negative psychological effects of this on the students. Suicides up across the country. The developmental problems. So it’s not really serving the students to be out of class. You’ve made that argument here back in October when you were in the studio here. So tell us us what happened after you responded? What did you exactly respond on Facebook? And when did you respond of what was the result of all that?

Bush: Because of all the complaining I just at that point. I just said, if you don’t like your day job then find another job.

Leahy: Let me just stop for a moment. This is something that we’ve set here on this program many time. All of our listeners are thinking, yeah, if you don’t like your day job, quit. That’s not an insult. That is not insulting. It’s just a statement of okay, here are your options. What happened? What happened next Fran Bush?

Bush: After that, I did end it by saying, girl by because I was tired of going back and forth with her. And what I noticed through the whole thread is that as I was being attacked…

Leahy: So you immediately got attacked.

Bush: Oh, yeah. It just went viral.

Leahy: Were they nice argumentative attacks? Were they mean and vicious?

Bush: They were offending parents saying we’re not babysitters. You need to do your jobs. And it was just so offensive to parents. Children have equal opportunity access to education, right? I mean you say those types of words and then I on the other hand am thinking, do we really want these teachers in front of our students if they feel this way? And so it started becoming really concerning to me thinking, I wouldn’t want my child in front of that teacher because you’re really despising what you do every day that you went to school for. This is education, you know exactly what it pays. I was shocked. I was totally shocked about it.

Leahy: So how many Facebook comments of a negative nature did the teachers union folks send your way?

Bush: Well, it was a combination of I would say over 700 comments or even more. I stopped listening. (Leahy chuckles) I stopped reading them because they were so vicious. It was almost like I stepped in a wasp nest and they were coming after me.

Leahy: And the arguments were based on facts and science of course.

Bush: They were just personal attacks. They said I was bullying.

Leahy: You are just so mean Fran. You are just so mean. (Chuckles)

Bush: Of course I am the most compassionate yet firm on my beliefs. This is about the children. And at this point children are suffering. And every time I would put it out there and say what about this? We have 25,000 truant kids and kids with mental health risks. Anything that I put out there that was a risk they didn’t like.

Leahy: Any fact they didn’t like. They just wanted to attack you because you had a different point of view and you just happen to be a member of the Metro Nashville Public School Board. But they don’t care about that.

(Commercial break)

(Virginia Mom clip plays)

Leahy: A story by Fox 17 by Dennis Ferrier. I’ll read this for you Fran. The fight to get Metro Nashville Public School students back to in-person learning has been led by an Antioch mother of five. School Board member Fran Bush has gone head-to-head with the teachers union, other board members, and Metro Nashville Public School Director. Dr. Adrian Battle doesn’t believe that virtual school is destroying children’s lives. Well, that mom in Virginia Fran says that virtual school is destroying kids’ lives. What have you heard from parents in your District here in Nashville?

Bush: So not just in my district. My district is a very large district, but across this county I have heard multiple multiple concerns from parents that are over virtual learning. They know that it is not a good space and place for their kids. And just like the mother said it’s isolation. Mental illness has gone up so much.

The hotlines don’t stop ringing now. And we have social, emotional, and learning loss. We have isolation like she mentioned. Social skills have gone down so much. I mean kids are not even being able to socialize with their friends or be in a space and place that you and I are. You know we get out and we do what we do every day. And just imagine these children that are in their rooms all day and on the computer. And of course, the amount of screen time has destroyed these children. Virtual learning only should have been in place or should be in place temporarily. Not long term.

Leahy: Yeah, very very temporary. Our top story at The Tennessee Star today by Corrine Murdock. Around 25K Truant and 6K Transferred Students, Metro Nashville Public Schools Announces, It Will Resume In-Person Learning. And it’s a phased program, isn’t it? All kids won’t be back until March the 4th. What do you think of the progress or lack thereof from Metro Public Schools on this?

Bush: There’s been a lot of concerns in the lack of planning. We should have been planning last summer. We have had experts that have served on the task force committee to get our students back in the classroom. And unfortunately, they were all ignored by top epidemic epidemiologists.

Leahy: They were ignored by whom? By Dr. Adrian Battle and by the other school board members? Who ignored them?

Bush: Dr. Battle. She was on the task force along with Alex Jahangir, Mayor Cooper, and others. We did have an epidemiologist expert Kathryn Edwards who is a Vanderbilt Medical Center top epidemiologist. She’s not only recognized in this city, but across this country and she highly recommended that protocols be put in place to have these students back in the classroom.

Leahy: Sooner. Like immediately. Yes, and she was completely ignored.

Leahy: By Dr. Battle. What is Dr. Battle’s problem with ignoring the science? Why is she ignoring the science?

Bush: She surrounded herself with people that were less likely to have the expertise but felt I guess confident that the relationship that she built that she felt that she could believe or support was going to be valid. And unfortunately, it just wasn’t. We knew that if we didn’t get the kids back in August and September we knew that we were going to have a spike in COVID because of the winter months just like the flu.

And so we should have had the students back and let them have an opportunity to see their teachers, meet their teachers, and be able to trust this process if we were good to go virtual because when we started virtual no one knew what to do. So it was really hard the first nine weeks of school. Kids were failing and parents gave up. Metro was failing their students. So we had such an uptick of students leaving our district, which I’ve never seen that happen before. And of course, our truancy rate went way up. We were at about 20,000 maybe in November and now we’re up to 25,000.

Leahy: 25,000 truant kids? What are they doing?

Bush: So when you have a child that’s truant they either are not logging in for five days or they are just giving up. So we have called them virtual dropouts. So, unfortunately, we have a lot of seniors, of course during this time that we needed those seniors to get as much time in the classroom as possible. And now we cannot even find over half our seniors. So they either got a job or they just really just don’t do anything.

Leahy: Now in this phased-in return to in-person schooling that will continue until March fourth, how many teachers will show up? How many won’t? Do you have any idea about that?

Bush: So there’s been a survey for our teachers of those who can go back into the classroom. Most teachers want to go back in person.

Leahy: Most of them? The majority?

Bush: Yes. We do have teachers who want to stay virtual because of underlying health conditions or they’re caring for a parent that’s ill. So they have taken those measures.

Leahy: Some percentage will say that those maybe over 65 or those that have underlying health conditions.

Bush: Absolutely. And so those teachers we definitely want to make sure we support. But teachers are ready to get back into the classroom. And yes, we are definitely in the ring of trying to get the vaccinations from the federal government. And that is just a process and it is a priority of the governor. We had an opportunity to have a conversation about that and I was very thankful that he did make that phone call to me.

Leahy: So what’s your guess in terms of what percentage of teachers will be showing up in Metro Nashville Public Schools as we go back to in-person over the next month or so?

Bush: We have about 55 percent of surveyed parents who want their kids back in person. And then we have like a 43-45 percent that want to stay virtual. So of our teachers, it seems like we have already kind of split where it’s going to be able to accommodate both virtual and in-person.

Leahy: Do you have confidence that this will work over the next month?

Bush: I do. I have a lot of confidence. We have extraordinary teachers. They want to do the best for our students and in the virtual space, it is it’s challenging. It’s very challenging because you are through a screen trying to teach. But still just not that hands-on experience for a lot of our students. A lot of our students have a massive amount of learning loss meaning that they cannot read or write in those K-3 and K-4.

So we have a lot of catching up to do. and it is going to take at least a couple of years to get these kids on grade level. And so it’s been very very concerning. That’s the reason why I advocated so hard because I saw what was going to be such a detriment to our students. And it’s just it’s harmful. It’s been very harmful.

Leahy: Exactly.

Listen to the full second hour here:


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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Fran Bush” by Fran Bush Facebook. Background Photo “MNPS” by Metro Nashville Public Schools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Metro Nashville School Board Member Fran Bush Discusses How Teachers Must Sit Back and Wait for Failed Leadership

Metro Nashville School Board Member Fran Bush Discusses How Teachers Must Sit Back and Wait for Failed Leadership

 

Live from Music Row Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Crom Carmichael and MNPS District Six School Board Member Fran Bush to the studio to discuss the failed leadership with Metro Public Schools.

Leahy: We are having a party in the studio this morning. Joining us as he almost always does on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:30 is the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael. Good morning Crom.

Carmichael: Michael. Good morning sir.

Leahy: And also with us in the studio the very popular member of the Metro Nashville Public School Board and the champion of in-person learning Fran Bush. Good morning Fran.

Bush: Good morning.

Leahy: Well Crom, you know Fran exercised her freedom of speech the other day on Facebook and all the crazy folks on the left just were vicious in their personal attacks on her. And it was just a little bit off-putting. All Fran said basically was, I want to repeat the famous comment you made to the teachers that were didn’t want to go back to teaching in person. All you said was…

Bush: If you don’t like your day job then get another job. It was based on the complaints. It was just their negative comments. It was very disturbing to to hear them as the teachers that are supposed to serve our kids. And it was kind of scary that they’re teaching our kids and this is how they were feeling.

Leahy: Crom, I know you’re shocked at that teachers’ unions responded in this way to an actual and factual logical statement made by Metro Nashville Public School Board member Fran Bush.

Carmichael: Was there a mistake made in the policies to allow any government employee who didn’t go to work to be paid in full for months on end?

Bush: We were gracious. Definitely gracious throughout the time of this pandemic being on a virtual space. And as you know we are we’re coming up on almost a year of some students not even being back in the classroom.

Carmichael: In the charter schools, were they the same? Were they virtual?

Bush: Most charter schools are independent of course and they pretty much took Metro’s lead on how they were going to go through the process of the virtual space. They looked at the science they made their determination and because they’re independent they were able to make their own calls.

Carmichael: So what decision did most of them make?

Bush: Most of them stayed virtual.

Carmichael: For the whole time?

Bush: Yes. Most have. Some have tried it.

Carmichael: So Kipp Academy has not had children in school since March?

Bush: Kipp did go back to school the time that we phased ours back in with the elementary students. So they did try it around that October space that we were in where we started phasing in our students. So they did. They did also try that.

Carmichael: Okay, and private schools, have they gone back?

Bush: Yes, they went back to from day one. Day one.

Carmichael: And so the children who attend private schools, would you say they’ve been getting a better education than the Metro children who had been forced essentially not to go to school?

Bush: Absolutely from day one. What happened with the change of private schools they did exactly that. They followed the science. They did not go off of some metrics or you know more of the community spread. So they looked at their options.

Carmichael: Why should taxpayers, because you know, you say we’re gracious, whose gracious? It’s the taxpayers. Imagine if all the nurses and hospitals had said no, this is dangerous and I’m not going back to work, but I expect to be fully paid. I want all of my benefits. How would society have reacted to that? How would taxpayers have reacted? And this is not just Nashville. This is all across the country where you have the teachers who don’t want to do anything who are driving the agenda?

Bush: Yes. Absolutely. That’s what was happening here in Nashville. You are exactly right. It is across this country. I was contacted after this went viral and there are more media outlets that had said finally someone has to stand up to the to teachers unions because they were pretty much holding our kids as pawns. At this point, they were asking for more or money or they had all these demands that were really you couldn’t I mean it was just you could not meet those type of demands with the kind of money and cost that was going to be passed on to the taxpayers.

Leahy: So Fran, the teachers that have continued to be paid are they performing virtual duties while they’re being paid? What’s a typical Metro Nashville Public School teacher doing with their day when kids are not in class in-person?

Bush: They will be preparing their lesson plans. They’ll be preparing for the next time that they will be in session with the students. And from what I hear from a lot of our teachers that are in virtual learning that it is very hard. They do not like it. A majority of our teachers that I’ve spoken to said I do not like this.

This is not working. We know that this is going to cause an incredible amount of learning loss by not be able to see our students touch our students or be able to guide our students. And again our A through K-3 and K-4you know the majority don’t know how to read. And this year has really plagued them even more.

Leahy: So let’s talk about K-3 and K-4. Let’s use the word virtually impossible to teach K-4 kids in a Zoom virtual situation. What is the day like for a K-3 teacher?

Carmichael: Michael, I’m still trying to understand why based on what Fran is telling us is that is it most of the teachers would rather teach in person.

Leahy: Yes.

Carmichael: So it’s the teachers who don’t want to teach in-person who are the ones who are driving the agenda. And I don’t understand. The science is clear as a bell Michael to what you’re saying. From a science standpoint the less risk there is on COVID in general. In fact, there is probably more risk for a teacher to go to the supermarket to buy food than teach in class.

Leahy: Right. They’re surrounded by young kids who don’t transmit it.

Carmichael: Right, but there’s a small number of teachers relatively small number who are forcing all of the left column the good teachers. I’m being straight as I can here. I truly don’t understand how a large majority is run by a small majority of teachers who’d rather and my guess is the small majority of teachers who don’t want to go back to class. There’s a significant number of those who are just lazy.

Bush: To your point, it’s about following the leadership. We have Dr. Battle who’s a superintendent of our schools. You have Mayor Cooper. They have made these decisions. And the teachers, at some point they just have to sit back and wait on leadership. And that’s where I have been advocating to get these kids back in school and have been the only board member that has tried to support what you just mentioned right now.

Carmichael: Yeah, it’s really sad. There was an article in The Wall Street Journal about Catholic schools. Most of the Catholic schools teach exactly the same type of kid from a socio-economic standpoint as government-run schools, and they’ve been back in school and have been doing just fine.

Leahy: They’ve been doing fine.

Carmichael: So all of the stuff and statistics and all of this Anthony Fauci…

Leahy: I’m glad you used the word stuff. (Chuckles)

Carmichael: Follow the science, do this and do that. No, it’s following the convenience. It’s following what the least among us want to do. And you get to the point where it’s just beyond anger. A lot of the parents have chosen a different route.

Bush: They have.

Carmichael: A lot of parents have taken their kids out of the government-run schools and put them in private schools.

Bush: They have. And either that or they’ve left our city and going to different counties that are offering in-person. They have failed at Metro Nashville Public Schools and fill their students. And they were not going to be a part of that type of equation.

Carmichael: And the leadership could literally care less. You talk to these people. I truly don’t understand how the leadership of our city hear the cries of the parents and the scientists who say in-person learning for younger children is essential. Let’s use that word. Essential. If they are going to thrive and then the leadership just says, I don’t really care. There are a few teachers that don’t want to go back. They drive the ship.

Bush: Just quick. I will just say that you’re exactly right. Parents’ voices have been voiceless. They’ve taken complete power away from the parents and they’ve completely been ignored as far as their cares and concerns about going back to in-person learning.

Listen to the full second hour here:


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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio