Williamson County Parent Discusses Parents Choice of Tennessee’s Wit and Wisdom Curriculum Lawsuit

Williamson County Parent Discusses Parents Choice of Tennessee’s Wit and Wisdom Curriculum Lawsuit

Live from Music Row, Friday 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 Leahy welcomed Williamson County parent, Trisha Lucente with Parents Choice of Tennessee in studio to explain the basis of its 200-page lawsuit citing continued illegal teaching of Wit and Wisdom in K-12 public schools.

Leahy: In studio Trisha Lucente with Parents Choice of Tennessee. Tricia, you’ve got a lawsuit on the Wit and Wisdom curriculum in Williamson County. Tell us about that.

Lucente: Thanks so much for having me. So I started Parents Choice Tennessee, and we are suing Williamson County School Board. Penny Schwinn, our commissioner of education, and two administrators here in Williamson County over the curriculum Wit and Wisdom. As you said, they are teaching all the prohibited concepts that are against the law in Tennessee.

Leahy: This is the law that was passed in May last year, 14 prohibited concepts. They’re still teaching them?

Lucente: Absolutely. They sure are. I have a 200-page lawsuit that is telling us that they’re teaching it.

Leahy: Okay, so when and where did you file the lawsuit? What’s its status?

Lucente: We filed it in July, and Larry Crain in Brentwood is our lawyer, and it is they filed a motion to dismiss on Thursday of next week, November 10. We have a hearing for them to hear the motion to dismiss and for us to move on past that.

Leahy: It’s in Williamson County Chancery Court?

Lucente: It is.

Leahy: What’s the argument that they want to dismiss this case?

Lucente: Oh, they’re going after our standing. So they’re trying to say that we don’t have standing to sue.

Leahy: So standing meaning you haven’t been aggrieved or hurt by it.

Lucente: Correct.

Leahy: But this is parents.

Lucente: Yes.

Leahy: Do the parents who are in the lawsuit have children who are attending Williamson County schools?

Lucente: Yes, there are three families, including my family. And then there is Parents Choice as its entity, as the organization. And we’re representing all of our members. So all the parents that are members of Parents Choice.

Leahy: So this whole standing thing is just a dodge of the main issue, isn’t it?

Lucente: Of course. Always. It is their first move.

Leahy: What do you think the chances are that the judge will dismiss the case on standing?

Lucente: I think that we have a really great case against standing. And I do think that there is another law also that our attorneys are leaning on that says that any citizen can sue a government entity whether or not they have damage.

And that’s part of something that we are leaning into our standing. But we’re parents trying to say, you can’t teach this to our children, and there should be a whole lot of parent turnout, so it will be interesting to see what happens.

Leahy: The issue of standing has always bothered me because it seems like if the left wants to dismiss a case, they’ll say, you don’t have standing.

But I don’t understand why parents wouldn’t have standing. If this is a bad curriculum, violating state law, as you are arguing, I can’t understand why that would be the case.

Lucente: And they also are arguing, I think, that it’s a political issue and we’re trying to make a political point.

Leahy: There’s a law that prohibits the teaching of 14 concepts. And you’re saying they’re teaching most of them?

Lucente: Oh, they are. They’re teaching them, then they’re teaching it. So wit and wisdom is a curriculum that is based on the framework of social-emotional learning.

Leahy: Which is basically critical race theory by another name.

Lucente: It is. What I like to say is social-emotional learning is a train track. Then CRT and critical theory are the train. And then gender ideology is the train, and then feminism is the train. And on and on. You can usher anything into a child’s mind once you’ve infiltrated their emotions.

Leahy: Well, that’s what they’re trying to do. Now, is anybody else Joining your lawsuit here? I mean, what about the legislators who passed the law? What do they have to say about that?

Lucente: I’ve spoken to many of them, and they support a lawsuit. Of course, they don’t support it publicly because I don’t think that they can or won’t or whatnot. But I’ve spoken to many of them, and the conversation goes like this, let me tell you what’s wrong with your law and all the things that you need to change and why we’re suing.

And then I proceed to tell them all the amendments that I think they need to make in order to hopefully make the law more enforceable because right now It’s very difficult to enforce that law.

Leahy: Isn’t the first arbiter of the commissioner of education Penny Schwinn?

Lucente: That’s correct. And she chose this curriculum. She issued waivers this curriculum fails to meet state standards and did not pass for K12, so it doesn’t teach any of the fundamentals reading to our kindergarteners and second graders. And she issued waivers to 33 counties in Tennessee.

Leahy: Including Williamson.

Lucente: Including Williamson and Davidson. And so she issued these waivers. And why would somebody who went out of her way to make sure 33 counties could use this curriculum say that this curriculum is breaking the law?

Leahy: So you would change the law. How would you change the law?

Lucente: I would absolutely take her out of that. It should at least go to a body of a vote or something before any complaint is reviewed.

Leahy: Would you volunteer to be on that committee?

Lucente: Of course, I would. (Leahy chuckles)

Leahy: I’d be available to be on that committee. (Laughs)

Lucente: You would be great on that committee. It’s not fair. And I would say this. I would also give the schools a chance and a grace period when that law went into effect where they could pull the materials, and I would have the state be willing to help reimburse them for the money to replace materials that are breaking the law. And I think that would have given them a little bit more fidelity on the front end.

Leahy: Do they argue that the Wit and Wisdom curriculum does not violate the state law that prohibits the teaching of 14, in essence, concepts of critical race theory?

Lucente: Several school board members do. Several don’t say anything at all. But there are some that come right out and say, we are not teaching CRT. There’s nothing wrong with this curriculum. Parents and teachers love it. And that’s it.

Leahy: Have you talked to Carol Swain about this?

Lucente: I have. Carol Swain actually used some of our lawsuits.

Leahy: In her training curriculum.

Lucente: Yes. In her training curriculum. And Larry Crain, our attorney, is somebody that helped work with her on pieces of that training, too.

Leahy: But it sounds like the Williamson County Schools and Commissioner Schwinn want to violate the law. This is what it sounds like to me. They want to violate the law, and they are pretending that the Wit and Wisdom curriculum is not violating the law.

Lucente: Absolutely. So in 2020, Penny Schwinn sat in front of our Senate Education Committee, and Senator Bell was asking her several questions about the waivers, specifically when parents were raising questions and calling their representatives.

So he asked her a few things about its failure, and she said that the content of the material is more important than its ability to meet the standards.

Leahy: Interesting. So, you’ll know next week?

Lucente: We will we’ll know on Thursday next week when we pass the motion to dismiss. And we have a very great long list of discovery questions that we’re ready to go for.

Leahy: How do people support Parents Choice Tennessee?

Lucente: You can go to parentschoicetennessee.org. And you can donate there. You can also find links to all of our social channels, and you can follow us and follow the status. We share everything about the curriculum, and you can donate

Leahy: Parentschoicetennessee.org.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Williamson County Schools” by Williamson County Schools.

J.C. Bowman of Professional Educators of Tennesse: Feds Are Troubling the Waters of Tennessee Education

J.C. Bowman of Professional Educators of Tennesse: Feds Are Troubling the Waters of Tennessee Education

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 Leahy welcomed the head of Professional Educators of Tennessee, J.C. Bowman, in the studio to comment upon the recent letter from the U.S. Department of Education regarding the missing implementation of assessment and accountability requirements.

Leahy: In the studio, the head of Professional Educators of Tennessee. J.C. Bowman. J.C., I have in my hands a letter dated September 27th of this year from the U.S. Department of Education to Penny Schwinn, our commissioner of education here.

Dear Commissioner Schwinn, I’m writing regarding the Tennessee Department of Education’s implementation of assessment and accountability requirements resulting from required actions identified by the Department of Education in our 2021 performance review, which was reported to you in November of 2021.

This looks like there’s trouble headed our way.

Bowman: Yes, there’s absolute trouble heading our way, and it could end up paying back, if you recall.

Leahy: Paying back who?

Bowman: The federal government.

Leahy: How much?

Bowman: It depends on how much they’re looking at …

Leahy: But they’re saying, hey, we sent you this review back in November. There are, like, 15 actions required.

I guess they’re suggesting you haven’t taken those actions, and therefore you’ve got to send us back a whole bunch of money. Is that what the Feds are telling us?

Bowman: Yeah. And they’re saying, or further action?

Leahy: When the federal government tells you or further action, this is what you might call a clue something bad might be headed our way.

Bowman: Listen to the ending of the letter, [it] says that in addition to the 2022 year, which is this year and 2023, no later than December 1st, 2022, the Tennessee Department of Education must provide documentation of the assessments that the TDOE would administer for the ’22-’23 school year.

Leahy: When you say assessments, is this like, the scores that the kids get?

Bowman: Yes.

Leahy: What is an assessment?

Bowman: Well, that’s the test that you take.

Leahy: The test the kids take. So I looked at the test numbers most recently reported, which came out this summer. They were not good. They were actually bad pretty much across the board. Slight increases from the worst ever during the pandemic, but still very bad across the state, it seemed to me.

Bowman: Yes. Well, in some areas, particularly more. But what we found is the schools that went back after the pandemic did better. So when you do that, Michael, your achievements are higher because you went back, but your gains are lower because you’re also being measured against the last year’s thing, where you were already in there doing better, so your gains aren’t as high. So when we celebrate gains, we’re all excited.

Leahy: Well, it’s a little bit like, you’ve gone from absolutely, totally terrible to just kind of terrible. And if you make that change in one year, you get accolades, which seems to me to be kind of ridiculous, because, sort of terrible is still pretty terrible.

Bowman: So there’s the whole gauntlet. But apparently, here’s where I think – I believe in transparency in government. I believe that we should see what’s going on.

We should be made aware of it and everything else. These things came out last year. I mean, in September 2021, the Feds sent a letter – a document, a report – saying you’ve got some problems.

Leahy: Yes, and that’s been out here since 2021.

Bowman: Since 2021.

Leahy: But I didn’t know about this. Did you know about it?

Bowman: No.

Leahy: Until this letter came out.

Bowman: And let’s get credit, I want to get credit to where credit is due: TC Weber, a blogger here in Nashville,

Leahy: I think we’ve had him on once on the show.

Bowman: You should have him back.

Leahy: He’s a lively guy.

Bowman: He came to Nashville as a guitarist and a musician, and he stayed, and he’s got a point of view. And he’s just more populist. And I don’t think it’s more ideology, but he definitely believes in transparency in government, and that’s the argument.

And then in November of 2021, they sent the other report. And what actions has our department taken since then? And then the whole year, last year, we’re all pushing this funding system for this, and you and I talked about it.

We’re going to end up having to raise taxes by implementing TISA. So now we got this. But that’s what sucked the air out of the room, rather than kind of going after these real critical issues and trying to fix it.

Leahy: So let me just step back and now remind our listeners why the Federal Department of Education, which I think should be abolished, why they get to tell the state of Tennessee what’s wrong.

Bowman: And that’s the million-dollar question. Here’s where we’re at. Either you got some real gross incompetence at the Tennessee Department of Education, in which case, if that’s the case, our governor needs to step in and he needs to explain this – not the commissioner, our governor does.

And then number two, and I go back to this, or if the department is overreaching, we ought to all join hands together and say, listen, Lamar Alexander, who is the principal author of ESSA, which is the funding mechanism …

Leahy: What is ESSA?

Bowman: Education, elementary, secondary. The thing that funds the money.

Leahy: The federal funding.

Bowman: It’s federal funding for our education dollars.

Leahy: And just a reminder that in an average school here in Tennessee, K-12 public education, about 50 percent of it comes from state, 40 percent from local, and 10 percent from the Feds. Now, in some places like Williamson County, you get a lot more local, and in other, poorer places, you get a lot less local.

Bowman: And that’s what the BEP does now. The Basic Education Program is the current system.

Leahy: It provides more funding to the poorer counties.

Bowman: Yeah, equity – that word that Josiah likes a lot. (Leahy laughs) But back to this, is that, where we’re at, is again – or we should start talking together, and I give Lamar credit where he’s correct. Lamar was out in front.

People can like Lamar Alexander or not, but he didn’t shy away from controversy and he stepped up to the issues. And the governor needs to come out and step up on this. But here’s the point.

We should say, tell the federal government that, listen, we disagree with you. We don’t think that special ed students need to be taking the regular assessment test.

Leahy: Is that one of the things they say?

Bowman: That’s one of the things in there.

Leahy: Okay, so now this is a warning shot, though, from the Feds to the state of Tennessee. What possibly could go wrong subsequent to this warning shot?

Bowman: Well, and here’s where I think that one of the things that came in, one of the documents that they sent was that we are supplanting money.

What that means is you’re taking dollars that the state normally uses and they’re spending on hiring, whatever the position is.

Leahy: Hold on, is this Fed money?

Bowman: Federal money.

Leahy: Okay, so that 10 percent, that’s going to the state, 12 percent.

Bowman: And the state takes a portion of it.

Leahy: But they’re saying, the Feds are saying you’re not spending that money the way you told us you were going to spend it.

Bowman: Basically that’s it.

Leahy: So they’re going to be upset about that.

Bowman: Oh, absolutely. And the one question that got me, it says right here in this math assessment, we’re supposed to test 8th-grade math students on the number three question. On the letter it says that that’s consistent with CDO’s approval of the ESEA consolidated state plan and you must submit a waiver request to extend the 8th-grade mathematics assessment exemption to reading language arts and lower. Basically, we just failed to file the exemption request.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

– – –

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

Andy Ogles on Critical Race Theory: ‘Once You Capture the Minds of the Children, You’re Changing the Next Generation’

Andy Ogles on Critical Race Theory: ‘Once You Capture the Minds of the Children, You’re Changing the Next Generation’

 

Live from Music Row Tuesday 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 Leahy welcomed Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles in the studio to discuss Tennessee’s stance on Critical Race Theory and questioned why the state is not leading like Florida in the representation of its values.

Leahy: In studio mayor of Maury County. Yes, the bastion of freedom in Tennessee. (Laughs)

Ogles: Turbocharged.

Leahy: Oh, we got to change that. The mayor of Maury County, the turbocharged bastion of freedom.

Scooter: I see tourism posters now. (Laughter)

Leahy: Yes, the turbocharged. That’s very good.

Ogles: About every two weeks, we’re adding phrases to this. Another month from now, this is going to be like a whole paragraph of descriptors for Maury County,

Leahy: Maury County the turbocharged bastion of freedom. You know, Andy, I am the unofficial ambassador for the state of Tennessee to people who live outside of Tennessee, because every time we have a guest who’s a good conservative-minded, I point out to them that wherever they’re living, if they live outside of Tennessee, that we have no state income tax here. And they all start whining and say, when can I get there?

Ogles: That’s right. Book me a ticket.

Leahy: So I suppose I’m also kind of a subset of that. I may be perhaps not an ambassador, but a promoter of Maury County as well. That turbocharged, bastion of freedom in Tennessee. I wanted to talk to you about this and get your reaction, Andy.

The rally last on Saturday night in Ohio, attended by now it looks like around 30,000 people. The former President began by lambasting the absolute disaster that the five months under Joe Biden have been.

The first thing he listed was the disaster at the border where the current maladministration is refusing to enforce immigration law. By the way, that refusal is probably an impeachable offense, in my view.

But he also mentioned the fact that they’re trying to force Critical Race Theory everywhere in K12 schools as well as in the military of all places, because, you know, nothing says defending the sovereignty of America like having a woke military.

I want to bring this back around to Tennessee. A couple of stories at The Tennessee Star today on Critical Race Theory. I wanted to get your reaction, Andy. So Corinne Murdock our ace reporter and Hillsdale Graduate has this story.

Part of the Wit and Wisdom Curriculum May Violate Tennessee’s Critical Race Theory Ban, According to Moms for Liberty. The parent coalition is concerned that the Wit and wisdom curriculum approved for use in 33 counties and promoted by Governor Bill Lee’s handpicked Secretary of Education Penny Schwinn, may violate Tennessee’s K-12 Critical Race Theory ban.

My question to you is, why does Governor Lee pick a Secretary of Education who’s promoting a curriculum that looks like it violates the new law banning the teaching of the tenants of Critical Race Theory in K-12?

Ogles: Wow, that’s a loaded question.

Leahy: I’m just asking. inquiring minds want to know what, Andy?

Ogles: But you even go back before that. Why would we have a Commissioner of Education, Penny Schwinn who puts forth this well-being initiative where every child zero to 18 would be interviewed by an agent of the state without their parents’ permission or presence?

And why wasn’t she fired then? And so why would we be surprised? And keep in mind, Critical Race Theory is a label that represents an agenda. It’s not necessarily a curriculum. And so we’ve got to be careful with these labels because then they say, well, wait a minute.

Well, this isn’t Critical Race Theory. It’s wit and wisdom. We’re simply trying to educate your child. We’re trying to educate your child on this agenda that totally undermines our country.

And so why she hasn’t been fired by either the governor or by the General Assembly demanding her resignation is a travesty of the values that represent Tennessee?

Leahy: Why would somebody who purports to be conservative hire such a person?

Ogles: He’s not. At the end of the day, the governor is a nice guy, but he’s not a conservative.

Leahy: Well, I think there’s a general consensus that he’s a nice guy. Asterisk, my question to you is if he’s such a nice guy, why does he never respond to The Tennessee Star inquiries?

Why has he not shown up on our radio program? We can get an exclusive interview with the former President of the United States, but we can’t get Governor Bill Lee to return our phone calls.

Ogles: Right.

Leahy: That’s a mystery.

Ogles: I would love to sit in studio across the desk and have this debate. The three of us. It’s an open invitation to talk about some of these substantive issues facing this country in the state of Tennessee.

Tennessee should have been leading the past 18 months the way Florida and Ron DeSantis have led. And when you compare Tennessee to Florida, we have failed across the measure.

Leahy: Yes. Florida is kind of the standard, isn’t it? Isn’t Ron DeSantis, the kind of governor that every state needs? Every state needs a Ron DeSantis pushing against the egregious intrusions upon state sovereignty and the violations of the fundamental concept of federalism that are coming out of the mal-administration of the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Joe Biden. That’s my view. Why can’t every state have a Ron DeSantis?

Ogles: Well, again, I think one it’s a difference in personality and it’s a difference in core values. Ron DeSantis did not back down during COVID when you had the cruise industry trying to mandate and require vaccines.

He stood up to the cruise industry, a multi-billion dollar industry forcing them to change their policies. Meanwhile, in Tennessee, we don’t have the courage, if you will, to take a stand and protect individuals from these mandates.

I just saw in The Tennessee Star that you have a college in Memphis that’s going to require all students to get the vaccine. You have to show proof of vaccination in order to come to the University.

College students aren’t at risk for COVID. Let’s identify the vulnerable and make sure it’s available to them. Then we’ve got to move on and move forward but these mandates are a direct infringement on liberty and medical freedom.

This vaccine now has a warning on heart inflammation. So now we’re a year and a half into this thing, and we know more about this vaccine than we knew just a few months ago and they’re having to put warning labels on it.

And yet the government is requiring and mandating it. Holy crap! This is not acceptable.

Leahy: It’s very interesting how the bureaucrats are playing this Critical Race Theory ban on the tenants of Critical Race Theory. I kind of get the impression that the Educrats who are almost all lefties running the major school systems in Tennessee, the big ones, I think they’re kind of playing us.

It’s my view, anyway, but they say one thing, and then I think they kind of do another. Let me just get your reaction to this story, and we ought to have these guys in if they’ll come in. It’s interesting.

The spokesperson for Metro Nashville Public Schools ideologically, not necessarily what we’re aligned with will talk to The Tennessee Star. Governor Lee will not. I don’t know if I told you, but former President Donald Trump will exclusively talk to The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Just in case, for a matter of comparison right now, interestingly enough.

Here’s the headline. Metro Nashville Public School Says It Won’t Implement Critical Race Theory by our great reporter, Corinne Murdock. Metro Nashville Public Schools informed The Tennessee Star that it doesn’t plan to implement Critical Race Theory.

Metro Nashville Public School spokesperson Sean  Braisted. Do you remember him? He used to be the spokesperson for Megan Barry.

Ogles: There you go.

Leahy: That guy. He responded to The Tennessee Star about remarks from the district’s diversity, equity, and inclusion Executive Officer Astrid Hughes. Did you know that Metro Nashville has a diversity, equity, and inclusion executive officer? (Ogles giggles)

Now you do. We asked whether Hughes would implement any of the banned tenants in Metro Nashville’s forthcoming Equity Roadmap. And if Metro Nashville Public Schools plan to implement Critical Race Theory.

Here’s what Sean  Braisted responded. “Mr. Hughes was not suggesting those reading materials be a part of the school curriculum, but rather that those interested in discussing the subject read about what they are discussing.” Really? Really? I’m not quite buying that, Andy. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just too skeptical about Educrats.

Ogles: When you look at this trend that’s taken place over the last 10, 20, 30 years, the Educrats as you say, first got into the universities. Now they’re pushing it into the seminary.

They’re pushing into our high school and now or even our elementary schools. And once you capture the minds of the children, you’re changing the next generation. You’re affecting politics.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crom Carmichael Illustrates Why School Choice Is Important Now More Than Ever as Critical Race Theory Continues

Crom Carmichael Illustrates Why School Choice Is Important Now More Than Ever as Critical Race Theory Continues

 

Live from Music Row Monday 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 Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio who further illustrated why school choice is more important as critical race theory dominates government run school curriculum.

Leahy: In studio the original star panelist Crom Carmichael. Crom, during the break, we were talking a little bit about this new book from Os Guinness, the great writer, great Christian political philosopher. He’s the guy who came up with the concept that our country is based on the Golden Triangle of Freedom.

And that Golden Triangle is the following: Freedom requires virtue, virtue requires faith, and faith requires freedom. And it’s an ongoing circle. That was the character of America when we were founded. The problem is that character is being assaulted in our schools every day. And particularly through critical race theory.

Carmichael: And being assaulted by the government every day in states across the country and cities across the country where they’re trying to make it almost impossible for somebody to go to church or so uncomfortable to go to church, that people don’t go to church. And I think that they are doing that. That’s intentional.

Leahy: Os Guinness has a new book out called The Magna Carta of Humanity. We’re trying to get them as a guest. I think we’ll get him as a guest in the future. And I’m going to try to get them on a day that you’re here Crom because I think you enjoy talking with him.

Carmichael: Sure. There are two or three articles that are all about education and as I was driving in I was listening to your interview of Gabrielle Clark.

Leahy: Right. The biracial mom whose child refused to comply with an assignment in which he was compelled to admit that he was an oppressor as a mostly white person.

Carmichael: Here’s what was interesting about listening to that interview. She says that we have to stand up and fight. It cost her $200,000.

Leahy: Yes.

Carmichael: If you go to a restaurant where your service is bad, you don’t need to go hire a lawyer. What do you do?

Leahy: You don’t leave a tip.

Carmichael: And you don’t go there anymore.

Leahy: You do a Yelp review.

Carmichael: And you don’t go there anymore. But the reason that she has to stand up and fight is she’s being forced. Her child is being forced to go to a particular school and to have a particular curriculum with which she disagrees. And this is what’s fundamentally wrong with our educational system.

We don’t have a choice. And if you had school choice and then the kids who attend the charter schools here in Nashville on balance do much better than the kids who go to what I’m going to call the regular government-run schools.

Our magnet schools may be pretty good, but our magnet schools operate actually more even like private schools because the charter schools can’t be selective and of who gets to go there. The magnet schools get to be selective on who gets to go there, and they get to be really selective on who gets to stay there. But in California.

Leahy: Uh oh. I know this is going to be a crazy story already. I don’t know what the story is.

Carmichael: It’s a sad story. California had gone for a number of years where they had worked seriously at improving the math skills of students who attended the government-run schools in California. At one time, I’m quoting from the article here in The Wall Street Journal.

‘At one time, California took the goal seriously and made immense progress. California Department of Education data shows that while only 16 percent of students took algebra by the eighth grade in 1999 by 2013, it was 67 percent. Almost four times as many.

Leahy: That’s surprising that they made progress from 1999-2013. That’s interesting.

Carmichael: But then that’s when things started to unravel across the state. And so they also had gifted classes, kind of like AP classes. And now they want to do away with all those because they’re claiming they’re racist.

And you have the schools for the gifted which they are strongly considering doing away with completely. And then changing the math curriculum so that it is almost impossible to fail (Leahy laughs) because they’re actually claiming that math is not something that needs to necessarily be specific.

Leahy: Try building a car with a non-specific specialization.

Carmichael: What’s Caltech going to do if kids coming out of high school are not proficient. Even the top ones are not proficient.

People who have the money to attend private schools their children are going to have an opportunity that the children who are going to the government and schools don’t have. And this is along those same lines. It’s not academically, but it’s about a school board. This is in Monroe County, Indiana.

Leahy: Monroe County, Indiana?

Carmichael: The school board passed a resolution that says that the school resource officers cannot carry a gun.

Leahy: What are they supposed to do, just point their fingers?

Carmichael: That’s a great question because one person said there’s no evidence ever that a resource officer ever had to use their gun.

Leahy: If you have a gun you may not need to use it.

Carmichael: As it turns out,  that statement itself is false. And so there are instances where the resource officer had to use his gun to disarm a student that was identified as having a gun. But if nobody in the school is going to have security, that flies in the face of logic, because every place else where security matters. If you want to go into the Nashville courthouse, don’t you have to pass through security? Aren’t the security people armed? Yes.

Carmichael: Please go ahead.

Leahy: Would you like to hear the rest of the story?

Carmichael: Please.

Leahy: Guess where Monroe County is.

Carmichael: Where?

Leahy: Bloomington. Home of the University of Indiana.

Carmichael: Wow.

Leahy: Explains it all.

Carmichael: Wow.

Leahy: These are all probably a bunch of college professors on the board.

Carmichael: Could could be.

Leahy: Good news. Our listeners have been listening for, like, two and a half hours to get the first bit of good news.

Carmichael: No, we’ve had some other good news that we’ve talked about. But this is good news. In the state of Florida, a teacher was fired for not honoring the ban on teaching critical race theory. This teacher just ignored the ban and kept teaching it and enforcing it. And bam!

Leahy: Gone.

Carmichael: Gone. Got fired.

Leahy: Governor DeSantis is not fooling around.

Carmichael: If the CEO of a company puts out an edit, that is a logical edict and lawful and some employee essentially gives the CEO the middle finger…

Leahy: Boom! They’re gone.

Carmichael: And nobody questions it.

Leahy: Now, let me tell you what the potential difference may be here in Tennessee. We have a state law that the bill that the General Assembly has passed that would prohibit, in essence, the teaching of critical race. There. 14 tenants. Sources tell me that Governor Lee will sign that bill.

We’ll find out. There’s some time to see on that. But if it becomes law, it has a certain provision in it. And that provision says that if a school district continues to teach critical race theory, the Commissioner of Education has the authority to withhold state funds from them.

Something is about to be set up because our lead story at The Tennessee Star is Memphis City Council adopts a resolution opposing state band on critical race theory. So Memphis and Shelby County schools, I can tell you right now if the governor signs this bill, they will defy it.

Carmichael: Let me ask you a question. You said two things there. You said Memphis and Shelby County.

Leahy: Yes.

Carmichael: Will they both, or will it be just the Memphis schools?

Leahy: This is from the City Council.

Carmichael: Memphis is in Shelby County.

Leahy: But it’s separate.

Carmichael: But there’s a lot of Shelby County that’s not Memphis.

Leahy: There’s a similar resolution before Shelby County. And sources tell me that it’s likely to pass. Memphis in Shelby County, I think, will be on the Shelby County and school directors already said I’m not gonna do that. I’m not gonna stop teaching critical.

Carmichael: Then the Commissioner can do what?

Leahy: Under the bill, the Commissioner will have the authority to do withhold state funds from Shelby County schools.

Carmichael: And that’s it. They can’t fire them?

Leahy: They can’t fire, but they can withhold state funds, which, in essence, would cripple the schools. Asterisk, many people are worried about Penny Schwinn. Many people are worried that she will not enforce that rule and that the Shelby County schools are going to say we’re going to teach it anywhere anyway. We’ll see how that turns out.

Carmichael: If they stick their finger in her eye we’ll see if she blinks. (Laughs)

Leahy: Yeah, I think she’ll blink. But we’ll see. Maybe give her the benefit of the doubt until it happens.

Carmichael: Absolutely we should do that.

Leahy: You are much nicer than I am.

Listen to the full show 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 “Crom Carmichael” by Crom Carmichael.