State Rep. Scott Cepicky on Bringing Common Sense to The Third-Grade Retention Law

State Rep. Scott Cepicky on Bringing Common Sense to The Third-Grade Retention Law

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 State Representative Scott Cepicky (R-TN-Culleoka) in studio to discuss legislation victory with TennCare and bringing common sense to third-grade retention law.

Leahy: Tennessee State Representative Scott Cepicky is here with us right now. Scott, a busy day for you. You are going to leave our studios here and head up to the Capitol.

Cepicky: Ten bills up this week. Six today.

Leahy: Tell us about the most important of those bills.

Cepicky: There are two bills that are very near and dear to my heart. The first one is our MCO bill with TennCare. We got our TennCare block grant from the federal government, where basically they block grant the money down for us.

They let us administer TennCare the way we see fit. And then what we do is we share the savings and we split it 50/50. The savings we’re sending back this year is $300 million.

Leahy: Congratulations.

Cepicky: We have $300 million now more that we can put into TennCare to increase the number of people that are on TennCare and provide better coverage and better healthcare for them. What we envisioned working is actually working, where now we can expand Medicare under our terms and provide better healthcare for those that are not the ones that need the most. I have a bill right now where we have three MCOs, the people that dole out the TennCare money.

Leahy: What is an MCO?

Cepicky: Medical care organization. Basically, we give money from the state to a Blue Cross Blue Shield. And then they have providers that partner with them to provide the TennCare healthcare and then the MCO pays them. We’ve been limited to three forever. You’ve got to bring competition to the marketplace. And so I’ve been working with Speaker Sexton on a bill.

And what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna make Tennessee an application state like most states are, whereas if you were an insurance company and you wanna become an MCO in Tennessee and you meet the criteria for it, then we would approve you to become an MCO, and you can start to handle some of the TennCare patients.

And if you provide better service, you provide better payments, quicker payments, and quicker response times to the providers they’re going choose you, which brings competition to the marketplace in healthcare. Now we have, but now we have people competing for the business.

Leahy: It sounds like a worthwhile bill. Where is that stand now? Is it in a committee?

Cepicky: Yes. It’ll be heard today this morning at, I think it’s at 10:30 in the insurance subcommittee.

Leahy: And who is the chairman of that?

Cepicky: Chairman Esther Helton. Hopefully, Chairman Helton and the rest of that committee will understand the need for this and we’ll pass that bill.

Leahy: That’s your number one priority. What is number two?

Cepicky: And number two, the big one is the third-grade retention bill that Chairman White has.

Leahy: The third-grade retention bill. Ah, yes.

Cepicky: And I’ll be carrying that on behalf of the chairman of education in the house. Senator Lundberg will be carrying it in the Senate. And it’s the compromise that we’ve reached on trying to make sure that we’re not being overly heavy-handed, but we’re being, what’s the word I’m looking for? Common sense. We’re trying to bring some common sense into third-grade retention.

Leahy: So describe what the current law is and then what this bill would do that would change that current law.

Cepicky: Got it. So the third-grade retention bill, in a nutshell, says that if you failed a third-grade TCAP test and if you are in the approaching category, you either have the option of going to summer or taking a tutor for fourth grade and you can move on to the next grade level.

If you are in the below category, those are children that are normally one or more years academically behind, then you have to go to summer school and you have to attend, 90 percent of the time, you have to show improvement, and you have to take a tutor the following year to make sure that you get caught up in fourth grade. That’s basically the gist of it right now.

And one of the things that we’ve gotten a lot of complaints of from the educators is that sometimes you have kids that take a bad test, it’s a stressful test. And it’s a long test, they’re not prepared for it, and they wanted another data point. And so what we’ve worked the bill up and is a compromise is we do universal screeners.

So the kids take these three benchmarks throughout the year to monitor their progress. We’ll be proposing this to the K-12 subcommittee, Chairman Hastings committee today, is that if you are a student, that scores in the approaching now, this is only the approaching kids, the kids that are close.

Leahy: They aren’t at grade level, but they’re close to grade level.

Cepicky: They’re close. And what we’re gonna do is if, on that last benchmark, they take normally right about now, if you give the state-provided benchmark, the state-provided one so we get uniformity across the state, and you proctor it like a test. Because now, on the universal screeners, teachers help the kids.

So if you use the state test and you proctor it as a test and the student scores in the 50th percentile or higher, you can use that plus the approaching on TCAP plus making sure that they have all of the support in fourth grade, you can move them forward.

That’s one of the exceptions we’re making. The other exception we’re making is who can file for an appeal. We have an appeal process that a parent can put forward. But the problem is most parents don’t understand how to navigate the paperwork of education.

Leahy: My head is already spinning as you’ve described this. (Laughs)

Cepicky: It’s okay. That’s my job to explain it. What we’re gonna do is we’re gonna allow the school system, if a parent says, hold on, my kid is on grade level, I can prove it.

I wanna appeal this decision and ask for a waiver from the department. The schools can help gather the information and submit that waiver on behalf of the parents, but the parents have to initiate it.

Leahy: And this is a compromise that state representative Mark White has put together with others?

Cepicky: Yes. We’ve all worked with the Senate, worked with the governor, trying to figure it out.

Leahy: A whole bunch of folks have worked on it. Mark White is from Germantown. He’s the head of the Education Administration Committee. He’s been a teacher of science? Now he’s with Lipscomb.

Cepicky: Yes. Teaching a leadership course. I think he’s teaching a leadership course here.

Leahy: Interesting. So now, my whole view on that has been, and I know you’re a supporter of direct instruction, and one of the things that I’ve said is that the system doesn’t work very well right now.

And I certainly wish you luck with this compromised bill on third-grade retention, but I have an even bigger view of it, I think. It’s sort of like saying, this system that we have right now has led to two-thirds of kids in third grade not being able to read, write, and do arithmetic at grade level. And so the answer is let’s do more of that. I look at it and say, no, I think maybe we need a bigger change to look at. But that’s for another day. Don’t you think?

Cepicky: The problem we have is we have a million kids in our public school system. So you’re never going to charter your way out of that. You’re never going private school your way out of that.

You’re never going to homeschool your way out of those million kids. No matter what happens, if charters with private schools, with home schools, you’re still gonna have the bulk of these kids in public school education.

Leahy: So right now I think if you look at it you got a million in Tennessee, you got a million kids K-12, and maybe 50,000 in private schools.

Cepicky: Ballpark, yes.

Leahy: Or maybe a little bit more than that.

Cepicky: Less than that.

Leahy: Less than a 100,000. And I don’t know; there’s maybe what, 10,000 in the charter schools that have just been that started?

Cepicky: Yes.

Leahy: So even if you were to increase by tenfold charter schools, you’d still only get up to…

Cepicky: 20 percent, maybe.

Leahy: Maximum. So you still have 80 percent of the kids that are gonna be in the K-12 public school system. That would be your argument.

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 “Scott Cepicky” by State Representative Scott Cepicky. Background Photo “Classroom” by Wokandapix.


State Representative Scott Cepicky: We Have to Repair the Adversarial Relationship Between Parents and School Systems

State Representative Scott Cepicky: We Have to Repair the Adversarial Relationship Between Parents and School Systems

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 State Representative Scott Cepicky (R-TN-Culleoka) in studio to discuss working on the education committee in the Tennessee General Assembly and turning around public school education.

Leahy: Right now in studio, State Representative Scott Cepicky is here with us. Scott, busy day for you, right?

Cepicky: Oh yeah. Busy day for me today.

Leahy: You represent Maury County.

Cepicky: I do, yes.

Leahy: When were you elected?

Cepicky: 2018.

Leahy: This is what your third, fourth, or fifth year.

Cepicky: Fifth year, third term.

Leahy: Does it get any easier?

Cepicky: No.

Leahy: It doesn’t?

Cepicky: No.

Leahy: But you’re probably more experienced now in the process, and you were the first term, right?

Cepicky: Yes. I think what happens is longevity and drive brings more responsibility. Especially in being in education. (Chuckles) There are easier places to get involved in the general assembly and education is not one of them. Most members up there do not want to be on education.

Leahy: And why is that?

Cepicky: It’s very difficult.

Leahy: And why is it difficult?

Cepicky: It’s very passionate and you’re affecting children’s lives. And besides healthcare, it’s the biggest budgetary item that we have in our budget.

Leahy: And politically all throughout the state of Tennessee, teachers and administrators are politically powerful as groups and as individuals.

Cepicky: They are. But the focus, and I go back to my childhood when I remember education. I remember going with my mom and dad to those PTA meetings when everybody smoked back then.

And the room would be smoke-filled, literally. But there’d be 300 or 400 parents there. Not yelling at the teachers or the administrators having a dialogue back and forth on how they can be helpful to the student.

Leahy: Back then, the administrators would actually listen to the parents.

Cepicky: And so we’ve gotten to this adversarial relationship between parents and the school system. And so we’ve gotta try to repair that. And one of the ways we repair that in my mind, is going back to the fundamentals and basics of things that used to be the building blocks of education and keep working forward, stacking year after year, on top of each other to where you get a child that can think for themselves, that can do the research for themselves…

Leahy: Can read and write, do arithmetic and art. You start with that?

Cepicky: Right. And articulate a point and defend it. It’s a big challenge we have in education. We have been making a lot of progress over the last three or four years.

We are really starting to turn this battleship around to the point where we’re probably getting to a point where we’re going pull back from English language arts reading, and now we’re going to shift our focus to mathematics.

Leahy: Color me skeptical here for a moment.

Cepicky: Go ahead.

Leahy: When you say we’re turning the battleship around, I see it differently.

Cepicky: Go ahead.

Leahy: I think the battleship is sinking further into the mire. Having said all that, you’ve been really one of the great leaders in the Tennessee General Assembly for education reform.

Cepicky: I’ve been one of the leaders. There’s nobody that passes a bill by themselves. It takes 50 votes in the House and 17 votes in the Senate. It takes a lot of support. You have to argue through a lot of debate with the lobbyists and people that are trying to keep the status quo because there’s $9 billion…

Leahy: A lot of money.

Cepicky: Floating around out there for companies and lobbying firms and people to take advantage of. The problem we’ve gotten to Michael is that in earlier education, you had the money surrounding the teachers and the students. That’s all it was. Money surrounded the teachers and the students providing ample time, good curriculums, and with foundational basics to build on.

Leahy: And now we’re talking about 20 or 30 years ago.

Cepicky: Right. And now today, the money is everything, right? We get into conversations and education committees, and I’ll sit there for 30 minutes, and I won’t hear the word student one time. It’ll be money this, this program, that curriculum, this textbook. And I’m like, what about the kids? Are we doing what’s right for these kids?

Leahy: That’s a key point. Public education ought to be about educating kids in a safe environment. And it’s really about the money. It’s about, who gets the money? And it’s not really about the kids.

Cepicky: No. No.

Leahy: And that’s a big problem.

Cepicky: 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s before the creation of the Department of Education, we used to lead the nation in education. It was awesome. Public school education was outstanding.

Leahy: Not so much these days, and we’ll come back. You’ve got a couple of bills up. We’ll talk about it.

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 “Scott Cepicky” by State Representative Scott Cepicky. Background Photo “Classroom” by Wokandapix.


Karol Markowicz on the Politicization of Teacher’s Unions, Public Versus Charter Performance, and Parental Involvement Against CRT

Karol Markowicz on the Politicization of Teacher’s Unions, Public Versus Charter Performance, and Parental Involvement Against CRT


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 columnist Karol Markowicz to the Newsmakers Line to weigh in on the teacher union stranglehold on public education and the awakening of parents in the post-COVID era.

Leahy: We are joined now on our newsmaker line by Karol Markowicz. Among other things, she’s a columnist for The New York Post.

She was born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn. Good morning, Karol. Thanks for joining us.

Markowicz: Good morning. Thanks for having me.

Leahy: My first question for you, Karol: Which was worse? The Soviet Union in the 1980s or New York City in 2021?

Markowicz: (Chuckles) Well, I came to the United States when I was little. I was under two, so I don’t quite remember the Soviet Union, but I grew up very much aware of how lucky I was to be here every single day and how different my life could have gone. I’ll still choose Brooklyn every time.

Leahy: Well, we’re delighted that you are here and your writing is just – let me just say it’s fabulous.

Markowicz: Thank you.

Leahy: And you have a couple of pieces. The most recent one: critical race theory is part of a woke agenda. Parents should fight it.

Don’t let the left keep brainwashing our kids to fight their political wars. And I really like this recent one. Don’t let Randi Weingarten, the head of the American Federation of Teachers, whitewash or roll in school closures. It sounds to me like you’re not a big fan of the teachers’ unions.

Markowicz: (Chuckles) Well, it’s funny, because, until this year, I don’t think I’ve written that much about teachers’ unions.

And I don’t think that most parents really care that much about teachers’ unions and their role in our schools. But after a year of many schools staying close, needlessly, while areas where teachers unions weren’t powerful managed to open their schools.

It was just very jarring how much power these unions had, how weak our politicians were in the face of their power, and how much they were able to do to our kids.

I think so many eyes are open now. And it was obviously unfortunate that kids didn’t get to go to school in so many places this last year.

But I think there are so many motivated parents now who realize what’s going on in a way that they didn’t before. And that’s really the one sort of benefit of what happened this year.

Carmichael: How do Black and Hispanic children in particular fair in schools in Brooklyn and in the New York City area?

Leahy: By the way, that’s Crom Carmichael, who’s also in studio with us. He’s a regular all-star panelist.

Markowicz: Hi. We have some really great charter schools in New York. But for the last eight years, while Mayor de Blasio has been the mayor, he’s very far left, there’s been an all-out war on charter schools.

And there have been no new charter schools allowed. And the teachers’ unions again have managed to squelch any opposition to them because they have so much power with these politicians.

So in general, our public schools are bad. Even the good ones are not that good. And we have a situation where when somebody wants school choice – when they want to get out of the system – when they want to find a charter school, they’re largely unable to at this point.

Hopefully, the next mayor will be better. There’s some hope on the horizon that if Eric Adams wins or Curtis Sliwa, either one, they’re much more pro-charter than Mayor de Blasio has been. Things might be looking up.

Carmichael: Let me ask you a question because I think that standards truly matter. In the last year, the standards of police officers have been under tremendous scrutiny. And if a police officer has bad standards, they are singled out, thrown out of the police force, and if appropriate, convicted of a crime.

Markowicz: Right.

Carmichael: Why don’t we apply those same standards to the people who run our teachers’ unions and are teachers, to those teachers who do a pathetic job of teaching our children? They’re just as professional as police officers.

Markowicz: Right. I think the worst part of that is just like good police officers get blamed for bad police officer behavior, I’ve known a lot of really great teachers who are incapable of doing what they need to do with students because of the control from the top, and because of the bad teachers who sort of make it harder for everybody else. For example, this year, there were a lot of teachers who wanted to be in person and who understood that the kids needed them, who understood that Zooming with kindergarteners – I have a kindergartener – is not a thing that works. There were a lot of teachers who wanted to be in person.

But because their union enforced these ridiculous policies, and because politicians listened to them, they kept the schools closed.

They kept the kids at home and the good teachers really got pushed to the side. And I think that that’s a really big problem, too.

These teachers don’t want to stay in the system that rewards bad teachers or spends a year not having kids in school. We push the best people out with the system that we have.

Carmichael: In a charter school in Brooklyn or in the New York area, give an example if you would, because charter schools operate independently. In other words, they’re not unionized.

They don’t report to some charter school board of education. They operate independently. Give an example of the number of students that a charter school might have and the number of administrators and the number of teachers.

Markowicz: So it’s different, obviously, than public schools. But I don’t have the numbers in front of me. But charter schools operate on a very different system where they don’t have anywhere near as many administrators.

They don’t pay nearly as many people as public schools do. But to talk about one part of the numbers with charter schools is charter schools in general in New York, for example. I know that they’re different around the country, but they do far better on state tests than public schools.

And so you have a situation where especially for Black and Brown students, when they’re in public schools, people just sort of throw up their hands and say, these public schools are bad. There’s nothing we can do.

With the same students taken into charter schools, they are much better. They really succeed. And so you have the situation where it is not the students. It’s absolutely the school system.

And like I said earlier, even the good schools, I think, are not that good. Even the schools that are considered sort of success stories are sort of weak.

Leahy: Weak successes at best I think would be the most generous way to describe them. Let me ask you this. You see that both of the major unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, last week, they both came out and said, we are going to teach critical race theory, and we don’t care if the laws say we can’t do that. What do you make of that?

Markowicz: Well, every minute spent on this ridiculousness is a minute not spent teaching math and science and social studies and the rest of it.

And every dollar spent on these insane consultants who come in to tell us that White people are the oppressors and Black people are the oppressed, and the other races sort of don’t really factor in that much, is a dollar not spent on kids’ education.

And like I said earlier, I think parents really have their eyes open to this where this is an actual huge story where a few years ago, I think this would have been just kind of a blip.

They know what critical race theory is now. They know that they don’t want it in their kids’ school. We’re seeing these school board meetings all across the country where parents are fighting back.

And it’s not politicians that are leading the way. It is actual parents. So again, I have some hope that the bright spot of a post-COVID era is that parents know what’s happening in their kids’ schools now in a way that they didn’t before, and that they’ll be fighting.

Leahy: On that note of optimism, we’ll close our first interview with Karol Markowicz. Karol, a columnist in New York Post. Thank you. Very refreshing, very enlightening. Please come back and join us again.

Markowicz: Thank you so much. Absolutely.

Listen to the full third 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 “Teacher Strike” by Charles Edward Miller CC BY-SA 2.0 and photo “Karol Markowicz” by Karol Markowicz.



















The Federalist Author Jenni White Discusses the Five Ways Parents Are Responsible for Public Education Failures

The Federalist Author Jenni White Discusses the Five Ways Parents Are Responsible for Public Education Failures


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 Leahy welcomed author Jenni White at The Federalist to discuss her recent piece which holds parents partially responsible for failing public education.

Leahy: We are joined by Jenni White, who has a terrific article at The Federalist. Five Ways Parents Are Responsible for Public Education Failures. Good morning, Jenni. Thanks for joining us.

White: Good morning, Michael. Thanks for having me.

Leahy: So you’re from Oklahoma, is that right?

White: Yes, sir, I am.

Leahy: And you own it. You have five kids that you home school.

White: (Chuckles) Fortunately, not anymore. I’m down to one homeschooler. I’ve finally gotten a bunch of them out of the house.

Leahy: And you own and operate a micro-farm, is that right?

White: Yes, that’s right. I get up early anyway. So that’s what you do on the farm.

Leahy: Is a micro-farm five acres or less?

White: Well, we have 10 acres, but, yes, I still designate it as that because we don’t have 200 acres.

Leahy: What do you grow? What do you have? Any animals?

White: Oh, yes, we have sheep. We have lots of birds. We have ducks and turkeys and chickens and lots of cats and dogs. People tend to leave dogs in the country someplace, and we tend to raise them up and cat.

Leahy: Do you have crops?

White: Well, we have a large garden. We don’t actually plant anything on a large-scale basis, but we just have a really big garden.

Leahy: So that keeps you pretty busy.

White: Pretty much yes. Especially right now. Although what’s going on with the weather? (Chuckles)

Leahy: Yeah, exactly. We like Oklahoma. Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas, and Florida. These are states where liberty is still a possibility.

White: Absolutely.

Leahy: And I was very interested and intrigued by your article because it does say something about the duty parents have and the duties that they really have stopped exercising a little bit. The first of these five things that you say why parents are responsible for public education failures. The first one, parents believe it someone else’s job to educate their kids.

White: Yes. I mean, think about it. And I was that way, too. Even though I was a public school teacher. When my husband and I married we moved to a neighborhood because it had a ‘blue ribbon school’ which I found out later was kind of an erroneous designation. It’s kind of political. And we put our kids in it. And it wasn’t until then that I started noticing, even in elementary school, some of the stuff that was coming back about how Americans harmed Native Americans and about global warming. And I thought, oh, my gosh, what’s going on?

Leahy: This was back when? how long ago were you hearing about global warming from the school?

White: Oh, my gosh. That was all the way back in 2008 in my kids Elementary school.

Leahy: This is like their propaganda machines, aren’t they?

White: But it is. And I think it’s sad because parents don’t really understand. They think, just like I did when we first got started. These are great. It’s a neighborhood school. You can affect the neighborhood school. Well, I did try to affect the neighborhood school. I got on the PTA. I was on the PTA for four years, and in four years, all we managed to do the entire time was raise money selling whatever it was so we could get a computer lab.

And then after we got the computer lab, we had to get a gym. And I’m like, why don’t we get some good books? We need to get some good math books in here. What about Saxson math books? Well, they didn’t want to do that because it was all about competing with other schools and having this computer lab or a gym. And I’m thinking, guys, this isn’t what this isn’t the important thing here.

Kids need the math. I think parents are led down kind of a primrose path by educators and by school districts and by that whole kind of phenomena, I guess you could say of we’ll have a neighborhood school and our kids will walk and it’ll be great. And then they don’t really stop to think about what’s actually going on in the school.

Leahy: You said something very important at the beginning of this. You say parents have long begun to accept the brainwashing of Horace Mann that public schools were the repositories of all knowledge. Later, socialist John Dewey convinced administrators that public schools were to promote democracy by instituting social change, something parents couldn’t possibly do. Little by little, educrats began to convince parents public schools could parent and educate their children better than parents could.

White: Well, have you not heard people say, and I’ve heard this for years because I’ve been doing education research for well over a decade, and I go to talk places and parents will come up and they’ll just say, but I can’t educate my own kids. And I think, well, who tells you that you can’t educate your own kids? Well, the school and society tell you you can’t educate your own kids.

So we pay tax dollars into this institution that turns around and says, here, give me your kids. And then I’m not going to listen to anything you have to say, because I know better and you know nothing. And this is where we’ve got to put our feet down and just say, no, that’s not right. I’m the child’s parent.

If I don’t know this child better than anybody else, why am I turning that child over to somebody who doesn’t know them that well and expecting them to do as good of a job as I would in educating my child? Parents just really need to understand that just by the benefit of being that child’s parent, you’re the one that’s able to educate that child better than anybody else, whether you think so or not it’s just the truth.

Leahy: I think a lot of this has to do with time and money in this regard. When I was growing up in the 50s and the 60s, my parents I grew up in a little town in upstate New York, and the schools there weren’t trying to do social engineering. They were actually just trying to teach us how to read and write and do arithmetic.

And my parents had no worries about any indoctrination happening in those schools back in the 50s and 60s. But fast forward to today. Let’s say you have parents who are both working. What it seems to me now, the pressure, the economic pressures are if you take your kids out of public schools where now they’re being indoctrinated, one parent is going to have to stay home and there’s going to be less income in the family and they’re going to have to learn how to teach properly. I think that’s a big impediment. What are your thoughts on that?

White: In a way, I kind of disagree with you because there are ways around everything. In America, we’ve been conditioned to want and we don’t ever stop to think about need because we’re conditioned to think about want. I want the extra car. I want a bigger house. We never stop to think well, what do I actually need?

Well, there are many, many families and I’d even go so far as to say hundreds of thousands, if not millions of families that could easily downsize where they are right now and be in a smaller house. They’d still have two cars, but maybe do used cars or something so that one parent can stay home. It’s just that we choose not to do that because we don’t really want to.

It cramps our style. And then we make excuses for that. And that’s just the hard truth of it, frankly. But then even parents who, even if you downsize, can’t do that because for whatever reason, there are economic troubles and they just can’t do that. One of the great things about the pandemic and there was mainly one and it was this.

So many parents realized they actually could educate their own kids. And even those parents that were working did something called educational pods where they get together with other working parents and one day one parent would educate the kids and watch the kids. And then the next day, the next parent would do it the next day.

And so that way it was kind of a Round Robin where people got to work. But they also had made sure that their kids were at-home learning. And to tell you the truth, online right now, you can find all kinds of great classical home educational literature that is just literally an Internet search away. It’s simply not hard to do anymore. Back in the 60s when people who are starting out doing this it was impossible almost. But now it’s super easy to do.

Leahy: So you talk about pods, and now you’ve probably started the history on this more than I have. I think my recollection is that public education really began in the 1850s or so with Horace Mann. Before that time in America, little communities would kind of do the pod thing like you’re talking about.

They would ban together. They’d pull a little bit of their money, they’d hire somebody to come in and teach the kids for a period of time, and the parents directly controlled what happened. Do I have that right?

White: Oh, you have it absolutely correct. And the more affluent families would hire tutors and they would do it at homes and churches. That’s one of the many things that churches had abdicated in their responsibilities and one of them was they were a repository for learning.

There would be parents who would bring their kids there and the teacher would actually teach inside the Church. And we just don’t do any of those things anymore because we would apparently much rather in debt our property to bonds to create these new buildings for public schools.

Listen to the full first 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