Monday, July 31, 2006

Candidate Survey Magnet Cluster

The Metro-Nashville Magnet School Cluster Parent Group has posted candidate responses to their survey to http://great-schools.blogspot.com/

I've organized them into districts and provided links to those that did answer the survey.

District 2
JoAnn Brannon
Terri Harris
Michael Kerstetter

District 4
Steve Glover (unopposed)

District 5
Kay Brooks
Lawrence Hart
Gracie Porter
Charles Townsend

District 6
Mebenin Awipi
Duane Dominey
Kathy Johnson

District 8
David Fox
Kathleen Harkey


Here are my responses:

Kay Brooks

(Unedited Responses to Magnet Cluster Survey)

1. If you had to make a one sentence statement that would express why you should get my vote for the school board, what would it be?

I have a valuable alternative view of MNPS and education issues, I am effective in my advocacy efforts and have communication skills that will help you stay informed regarding MNPS so that you can continue your advocacy efforts for your children.

2. What is your passion? Why are you pursuing this position and what do you plan to do different than those who have held this position before you to improve education in our city?

I’m pursuing this position because the children in my neighborhood are not getting the education they should and this is a natural extension of my efforts to improve my neighborhood. What I’m going to do differently is examine everything from a different point of view that, until I came to the board, was not represented on the board. No one, no entity, no program gets a free pass.

3. What does “school choice” mean to you? What kind of choices within the public school system do you think Nashville’ children should have?

School choice means having available programs, teachers and facilities that can provide the right education delivery system for the child’s learning style and needs.

4. What is your commitment to the unique programming set in place by our school district? (i.e. academic magnet, thematic magnet, arts, Montessori, Paideia)

My commitment is not to any program at all. My focus and commitment is on ensuring that our neighborhood’s children are reliably obtaining a good foundational education and allowing them the freedom to move on from there.


5. Do you support equal access to MNPS’ choice programs including magnet schools? Why or why not?

Yes, because they are public schools.

6. What marketing strategies do you plan to employ to gain our community’s support insuring adequate and predictable funding for our schools and continued support of choice schools?6

I’m not a marketing person so I may be the wrong person to ask. What I do think is of paramount importance is providing reliable and verifiable information about the system on a timely basis so that the community can vet the information. Once MNPS improves that communication effort and the citizens can see that their tax money is being spent wisely the funding issues will be much easier to settle.

7. How will you continue to raise the academic bar for all students including highly gifted and talented?

We must begin by ensuring that every child reads well. It’s appalling that both of the comprehensive high school principals in District 5 are having to beg for reading teachers. This fundamental skill cannot be overlooked any longer.

One program that seems very promising for all children is the Middle College program. I can support these students spending a portion of their day finishing their high school requirements and then being released to actually attend college where they can be challenged and get a leg up on their life plans.

Like every school district, MNPS has limited resources and so I am reluctant to expend those resources on AP classes where the child isn’t required to take the final test to obtain the college credit. And I would limit their access to more AP classes if they hadn’t qualified for those college credits in previous AP tests.

8. With the Governor’s new pre-school initiative in place are you willing to change the mission of our district to include pre-school and pre-k educational programming for students? How would you propose to fund such a plan?

No. When I look at District 5 it seems obvious that we’re not reliably educating the K-12 population we have. Until we do that we don’t need to take on additional children. There are private alternatives for children that need additional help getting ready for kindergarten and we have a bit of time to accomplish that. But every year hundreds of our high schoolers are failing to graduate. For them there is no time left and we’ve got to focus our finite resources there.


9. What else would you like to share with the magnet cluster parents that we have not asked?

You have worked hard at ensuring your children get the best public education possible. I would ask you to consider mentoring families without your resources and knowledge so that they are better able to advocate for their children in MNPS. Some of you are most probably doing this already but I have yet to hear of a more comprehensive effort.

6 comments:

George Rand said...

A principal who hasn't mastered agreement of subject and verb--Just what we need on the School Board!

Julie said...

"I’m pursuing this position because the children in my neighborhood are not getting the education they should and this is a natural extension of my efforts to improve my neighborhood."

Why do you feel this way other than the current drop-out rate at Stratford? What about the Elementary Schools? What do you know about Dan Mills and Inglewood?

Kay Brooks said...

This has nothing to do with something as intangible and subjective as 'feelings'. My comment is based on my observations, first person testimony of community members and parents and the facts available.

Anonymous said...

and to George Rand...

take a listen to Gracie Porter sometime. To quote from the Nashville Scene podcast " My Children has matriculated from Metro Schools". In front of the Board of Education, she was a poster child for ebonics.

Gracie Porter makes George W Bush sound like William Shakespeare

Anonymous said...

take a listen to Gracie Porter sometime. To quote from the Nashville Scene podcast " My Children has matriculated from Metro Schools". In front of the Board of Education, she was a poster child for ebonics.


Making a few subject verb errors is not the same as ebonics. Why wold you think so- just to play the race card? I assure you, if subject verb errors consitute ebonics, we've got a lot of white people who have ebonics down quite well. Yes, Gracie Porter is black; thanks for pointing it out.

George Rand said...

Yes, it has nothing to do with ebonics; just as it has nothing to do with Bush. It and the inability to handle even middle school grammar has everything to do with her ability to serve on the School Board. Nor does the second anonymous' attempt to play the reverse race card qualify her.