Friday, January 29, 2016

Loniel Greene resigns from Metro Council

Loniel Greene resigns from Metro Council

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Bill would give scholarships to low-income students in failing schools to attend private schools. Teachers union and other libs dig in to stop it.

There is bill pending in the State legislature that would authorize a very modest scholarship program for the most disadvantaged students and for those in the very worst schools. It would allow those low income students in failing schools to take the money that is being spend on their education and attend a private school. The private school would have to accept the scholarship amount as payment in full for the cost of tuition and fees that school year. Initially only 5,000 of these scholarships would be authorized.

Liberals are going ballistic. The Democrat party establishment, their teacher union bosses and liberal pundits are digging in to oppose this experiment. They want to maintain the current monopoly structure of  public education.  Apparently their is a liberal mindset that it is better for all poor people to be struck in perpetual poverty rather than only some have the opportunity to escape. If I were cynical I would think liberals want to keep Blacks, Latinos and poor people in general on the liberal plantation of government dependency so they will always look to their master for subsistence. I would think they are more interested in subsidizing poverty and keeping their voting block intact rather than seeing people escape poverty.

Below is a statement in support of the bill from Latinos for Tennessee and The Tennessee Black Alliance for Educational Options and a summary of the bill.

Latinos for Tennessee Applauds Legislature for HB 1049

Nashville, Tennessee - The dream of expanding educational freedom to all Tennessee students is beginning to take shape thanks to the determination and courage of a number of Tennessee State Legislators. Latinos for Tennessee, an organization dedicated to taking the message of faith, family and fiscal responsibility to Latinos all across the state applauds the work being undertaken by the Tennessee Legislature on House Bill 1049.

If approved, House Bill 1049 would provide education scholarships for private school tuition for students that meet certain requirements, including those that are zoned for the bottom five percent of schools in the state.

With news that the House Bill 1049 was approved by the House Budget Committee and the House Finance Ways and Means Subcommittee, Raul Lopez, Executive Director, for Latinos for Tennessee issued the following statement:

"Education is a top priority for Latinos all across our country, including here in Tennessee. Unfortunately, millions of Latino students are stuck in struggling schools desperately seeking a lifeline of opportunity. School choice is a great way to empower families and students seeking to live out the American Dream. We urge the Legislature to continue the important work of advancing school choice so that every single child in Tennessee can receive a quality education."

For more information about Latinos for Tennessee, please visit: and find us on Facebook under: Latinos for Tennessee.

Tennessee Black Alliance for Educational Options supports HB1049

Dear Supporter,
I will make this brief…
Yesterday, Tennessee BAEO, along with parents, pastors, and advocates traveled to Nashville to attend the House Finance Sub-committee hearings to encouraged lawmakers to support the Tennessee Choice and Opportunity Scholarship Act (HB1049). I’m happy to report the bill passed a key hurdle in the State House. 

If the legislation becomes law, the scholarships will assist eligible low-income and working-class Black families with sending their children to participating private schools.  In a nutshell, our state has not done a good job educating our children. Currently there are over 80,000 children trapped in low-performing schools in Memphis. 

Please share this email with family, friends and colleagues in your networks and invite them to join the movement. If we don’t act now, another year will pass and the talented children of Tennessee will fall further behind and be forced to attend failing schools.

This is only the beginning. Our work is not done and in order to be successful, we need everyone to JOIN US! Add your voice and stay connected to the movement by texting Believe to 52886.
CLICK HERE to view a clip from the January 20th Finance Committee hearing
It’s time we #BelieveInOpportunity! We look forward to partnering with you to bring forth needed change for our children in Tennessee.

For the children,
Mendell Grinter
State Director
Tennessee Black Alliance for Educational Options

Below is the summary of the bill as posted on the Tennessee General Assembly website (link). 
This bill establishes a scholarship program for eligible students to attend participating private K-12 schools. An "eligible student" is a student who:

(1) Resides in Tennessee and is zoned to attend or enrolled in a public school that, at the time of the student's initial application for a scholarship, is identified as being in the bottom five percent of schools in overall achievement;
(2) Meets the minimum age requirements to attend kindergarten with eligibility extending until the student graduates from high school, except that the student must be less than 22 years of age by August 15 of each year;
(3) Is a member of a household whose annual income during the year prior to initial receipt of a scholarship met the requirements for free or reduced price lunch; and
(4) Was previously enrolled in a Tennessee public school during the two semesters immediately preceding the semester in which the student receives a scholarship under this bill; is enrolling in a Tennessee school for the first time; or received a scholarship pursuant to this bill in the previous school year.

In order to participate in the scholarship program, the private school must:

(1) Be identified as a category I, II, or III school and comply with all health and safety laws or codes that are applicable to such schools;
(2) Annually administer to scholarship students state assessments or nationally recognized tests approved by the state board of education that measure educational progress and provide the parents of scholarship students with the results of the assessments;
(3) Provide the department of education with graduation rates of scholarship students as well as other student information as required by the department;
(4) Comply with federal nondiscrimination policies and not discriminate against students with special education needs who meet the requirements for admission to the school. However, as a private school, the school is required to offer only those services it already provides to assist students with special needs. If a scholarship student would have been entitled to receive special education services in the public school the student would otherwise be attending, then the parent must acknowledge in writing, as part of the enrollment process, that the parent agrees to accept only services that have been identified as available to the student in the nonpublic school. A participating school may partner with an LEA to provide special education services;
(5) Accept the scholarship amount as payment in full for the cost of tuition and fees that would otherwise be charged by the school and allow scholarship students to remain enrolled in the school for the duration of the school year at no additional cost if the school withdraws from the program during the school year;
(6) Submit to the department a financial audit of the school conducted by a certified public accountant;
(7) Demonstrate financial viability to repay any funds that may be owed to the state by filing with the department financial information verifying the school has the ability to pay an amount equal to the amount of the scholarships expected to be paid during the school year. The school may comply with this requirement by filing a surety bond payable to the state;
(8) Require any person applying for a position as a teacher, or any other position requiring close proximity to children, to submit to a criminal background check;
(9) Provide lunch to scholarship students at no cost or at a reduced cost pursuant to the same income qualifications established under the National School Lunch Program; and
(10) Comply with rules prohibiting the employment of individuals who advocate to overthrow the American government or who are members of a political party subscribing to a political faith that advocates doing so.

After initial approval by the department as a participating school, a school may continue to participate in the program as long as the school demonstrates achievement growth for scholarship students at a minimum level of "at expectations." If a participating school demonstrates achievement growth for scholarship students at a level of "significantly below expectations" for two consecutive years or the department determines the school has failed to comply with this bill, then the commissioner of education may suspend or terminate a school's participation in the program. If a participating school is suspended or terminated from the program, or if the school otherwise withdraws from the program, scholarship students enrolled at the school may transfer to another participating school without loss of eligibility and such students would be given preference for enrollment.

An eligible student will be entitled to one scholarship per school year. If a student voluntarily leaves a participating school for reasons other than the suspension or termination of the school's participation in the program and enrolls in another participating school, neither the student nor the successor participating school will receive any funds under this bill for the remainder of the school year. If the student enrolls in the LEA in which the student resides and is zoned to attend, the LEA will receive the funds that otherwise would have been remitted to the participating school on behalf of the student.

Except as mentioned above regarding LEAs that adopt different guidelines, the annual amount of the scholarship will be the lesser of the following:

(1) The cost of tuition and fees that would otherwise be charged by the school; or
(2) The amount representing the per-pupil state and local funds generated and required through the BEP for the LEA in which the student resides and is zoned to attend.

The scholarship funds will be subtracted from the state funds otherwise payable to the LEA and will be paid directly to the participating school. If the participating school's cost of tuition and fees is less than the scholarship amount, the remaining funds will be retained by the department and the LEA in which the scholarship recipient resides.

The amount of scholarship awarded to a student will not be treated as income or assets for the purposes of any tax or qualification for any other federal or state grant program.

The total number of scholarships awarded statewide under this bill will be limited as follows:

(1) For the 2015-2016 school year, the department may not award more than 5,000 scholarships;
(2) For the 2016-2017 school year, the department may not award more than 7,500 scholarships;
(3) For the 2017-2018 school year, the department may not award more than 10,000 scholarships; and
(4) For the 2018-2019 school year and thereafter, the department may not award more than 20,000 scholarships.

This bill requires the department to develop procedures to allocate scholarships among participating schools if the number of available seats exceeds the above limitations. If the number of eligible students applying for scholarships at a particular school in a particular grade exceeds the number of scholarships awarded, the department must inform parents of eligible students of all available scholarship options and provide an opportunity for parents to apply to other participating schools. If, after all possible matches of eligible students with participating schools have been made, there are scholarships still available, the remaining scholarships will be awarded to eligible students who reside in an LEA that contains at least one school in the bottom five percent of schools in overall achievement as determined by the performance standards and other criteria set by the state board.

This bill requires the department to develop procedures necessary for administering the program, and specifies in detail requirements for the department in administering the program.

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Will Pinkston continues his fight against school choice

By Amanda Haggard, Nashville Scene, on Wed, Jan 27, 2016 - Just a five months after a contentious Metro Nashville school board vote to reject adding two new KIPP charter schools to the district's roster, the board voted easily to renew the charter network's first school for another 10 years Tuesday night. Board members Amy Frogge ... voted against the KIPP renewal. .... had also voted against approving two new KIPP schools in August, which was followed by KIPP winning an appeal with the Tennessee State Board of Education to open the schools in Davidson County anyway, but under the umbrella of the state board.  Board Member Will Pinkston — who, too voted against opening two additional KIPP schools in August, saying at the time the district was giving KIPP carte blanche — abstained from Tuesday's vote based on what he called "a lack of confidence" in Alan Coverstone,...(link)

My Comment: This is an example of how Will Pinkston, Amy Frogge and usually Jill Speering have attempted at every turn to derail education reform and stop quality public charter schools from opening in Nashville. In the August 4th election I will be voting for Jackson Miller to replace Will Pinkston on the School Board.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

BAEO Releases New Report on the State of Education in Black America During National School Choice Week

BAEO - This week marks National School Choice Week (NSCW) when a diverse coalition of education reform organizations join forces to shine a spotlight on high-quality education options for children across the country. As a compliment to the occasion, we are happy to announce the release of our national report on The State of Education in Black America 2015. 

The report discusses effective parent choice and education reform policies and makes clear that gaps in the academic achievement of children from low-income and working-class Black families still persist, and more work needs to be done to ensure all children can achieve the American dream.

Highlights show that among the 1.6 million students in the class of 2014 who took the SATs, 43 percent of them earned a 1550 benchmark for college and career readiness, but only 15 percent of Black students did so. And while the 39 percent share of the 1.8 million students in the class of 2014 who took the ACTs and met three or more benchmarks for college and career readiness is nothing to write home about, even more disturbing was the fact that a scant 11 percent of Black students did so.
You can download a full copy of the report here.  We encouraged you to share widely and to follow our social media postings all week on other highlights from the report.

See how our state teams are celebrating National School Choice Week here!

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Look who are the "Friends of Pinkson."

Make no mistake, this is not an endorsement of Will Pinkston for School Board. I am supporting Jackson Miller. I am posting this simply because some may find it interesting, especially they may find interesting those who are "Friends of Pinkson."  I support school reform and school choice and Will Pinkston has stood in the way of reform. He is among those who want to continue doing things the way we have always done them and opposes public charter schools at every opportunity.

Among the Friends of Pinkston, I am not surprised to see many of the Democrat Party establishment and court house crowd. I am not surprised by Amy Frogge who is his close ally on the School Board nor by some of Nashville's most liberal politicians such as Bill Freeman or Councilman Fabian Bedne or Vice Mayor David Briley.  I am disappointed to see Republicans such as Davette Blalock and Robert Duvall supporting Will Pinkston. I have highlighted a few of the names that jumped out at me.

Pinkston * School Board * District 7
You're Invited
The Campaign Kickoff to Re-Elect
to the Nashville School Board
at Casa Azafrán
Home of the Casa Azafrán Early Learning Center
2195 Nolensville Pike, Nashville, TN 37211

The FOPs (Friends of Pinkston)
Kim Adkins
Maura-Lee Albert
David Baggott
Chelle Baldwin
Ashley Ball
Honorable Brady Banks
Krissa Barclay
Marc Barclay
Representative Bill Beck
Councilman Fabian Bedne
Councilwoman Davette Blalock
Art Bodenhamer
David Bone
Vice Mayor David Briley
Ellen Britton
Mark Brown
Adora Bruce
Stuart Brunson
Gene Bryant
Judith Byrd
Kenny Byrd
Mary Campbell
Jennifer Chalos
Mark Chalos
Kathy Chambers
Representative John Ray Clemmons
Barb Clinton
Dana Coleman
Erin Coleman
Councilman Sam Coleman
Doug Collier
Dave Cooley
Melanie Cooley
Honorable Bob Cooper
Councilman At-Large John Cooper
Bob Corney
Shannon Corney
Chris Cotton
Dick Darr
Councilman Anthony Davis
Reverend Vernon (Sonnye) Dixon
Ken Duncan
Maggi Duncan
Honorable Robert Duvall
Kathy Edson
Councilman Jeremy Elrod
Karen Estevez-Gill
Anne-Marie Farmer
Jonathan Farmer
Glenn Farner
Paula Foster
Stephen Fotopulos
Tricia Frantz
Beecher Frasier
Bill Freeman
Councilman Mike Freeman
School Board Member Amy Frogge
Brenda Gadd
Honorable Tim Garrett
Steven Gill
Robert Gowan
Andy Gullahorn
Jill Phillips Gullahorn
Niketa Hailey-Hill
Honorable Lorinda Hale
Sheriff Daron Hall
John Harkey
Honorable Kathleen Harkey
Honorable Chris Harmon
Melissa Harmon
Rick Harris
Mohamed-Shukri  Hassan
Caleb Hemmer
Lori Hemmer
Mollie Henry
Stephen Henry
Jerry Hertenstein Jr.
Jerry Hertenstein Sr.
Adam Hill
Honorable Jamie Hollin
Bette Horton
Pete Horton
Lyn Hoyt
Honorable Walter Hunt
Erick Huth
Andrew Jackson
Kayla Jackson
Lady Jackson
Councilwoman Karen Johnson
Representative Sherry Jones
Bobby Joslin
Jocelyn Kasper
Jonathan Kasper
Irene Kelley
Laura Kelley
William (Tinker) Kelly
Councilman Ed Kindall
Drost Kokoye
Kalee Kreider
Chris Lance
Linda Lance
John Lasiter
Alix Laurain
Ethan Link
Representative Harold Love Jr.
Jean Marquis
Sarah Martin
Bill Mason
Cindy Mason
Honorable Jerry Maynard
Gaylon Mays
Sherry McCall
Benton McDonough
Rob McGuire
Pat Miller
Representative Bo Mitchell
Lee Moneta-Koehler
Liane Moneta-Koehler
Honorable Sandra Moore
John Morgan
Chris Moth
Nicole Motzny
Tom Motzny
Honorable Betty Nixon
Susan Norwood
Ari Obrohta
Bob Obrohta
Lance Obrohta
Tony Obrohta
Emily Ogden
April Orange
Honorable Anna Page
Emily Passini
Eric Patton
Martin Penny
Freda Player
Honorable Gracie Porter
Councilman Jason Potts
Heather Powell
Representative Jason Powell
Lex Price
Tamara Price
Christine Hatchett Pulle
Matt Pulle
Councilman Russ Pulley
Terry Quillen
Gregg Ramos
Councilman Kevin Rhoten
Andie Roberts
Marilyn Robinson
Tony Rose Jr.
Tony Rose Sr.
Councilman Dave Rosenberg
Alma Sanford
Gray Sasser
Becky Sharpe
School Board Member Anna Shepherd
Councilman Colby Sledge
Sherry Sloan
Juvenile Court Clerk David Smith
Jennifer Croslin Smith
Melissa Smith
Honorable Janis Sontany
Andy Spears
School Board Member Jill Speering
Lora Stevenson-Obrohta
Representative Mike Stewart
Gerard Stranch
Patty Daniel Stranch
Shirzad Tayyar
Saralee Terry Woods
Bobby Thomas
Abby Trotter
Doug Trotter
Bob Tuke
Honorable Mike Turner
Meg Underwood
Ryan Underwood
Councilwoman Tanaka Vercher
Terrie Wagner
Henry Walker
TC Weber
Kay West
Chick Westover
Al Wilkins
Phyllis Williams
Rick Williams
Ken Winter
Jerry Winters
Larry  Woods
Linda Wyatt
County Clerk Brenda Wynn
Debbie Young

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Coservative Groups meets Thursday 28th. Glen Casada guest speaker.

From Tony Roberts: 

Rep. Glen Casada
Our meeting this month will be held at Logan's Steak on Elliston Place near Vanderbilt University. The meeting will be held on Thursday January 28, 2016 starting at 5:30 for networking and the meeting from 6:00 to 7:00. The agenda for the meeting is a wake-up call for the state of Tennessee and the Nation. We will concentrate on training for candidates and supporting the most important elections of our lifetime. We ask all interested in running for office to attend this event.Our keynote speaker is State House Representative Glen Casada from Williamson County.Glen Casada is a Republican member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, in which he has served as Assistant Floor Leader and Chairman for the Republican caucus. He represents District 63.Please RSVP to Tony Roberts at or Dan Davis at

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Senator Mark Green proposes market-driven alternative to Obamacare expansion

I detest Obamacare as much as the next conservative, but one thing we must admit is that the pre-Obamacare healthcare system was also seriously flawed.  Cost were rapidly increasing and too many people were uninsured. There really was not a "market" for health care.  When a third party pays the bill, no one cares what the cost of an item is.  It does not matter if the third party is an insurance company or the government, the effect is the same. The only exception is that you may care if the third party is your parents or your local church congregation. If you would be judged negatively for overindulging you may still care what something really cost, but when the party paying the bill is a distant impersonal entity, who cares? 

Assume we could join a food co-op and and assume that now we all spend about $400 a month on groceries, so we all put in $400 a month and go to the grocery store and buy what ever we want. I would eat more steak and shrimp and lobster. I really don't care if I buy Coke or Pepsi and I can switch between the two depending which is on sale. If someone else was paying the bill I would not even look at the price. Soon the cost of groceries would climb form $400 per month to $600 to $800 per month. Also, the merchant, who previously had an incentive to keep his groceries affordable, will realize he can constantly raise prices since no one really cares what something cost. That is much like were we are with health care.

Obamacare not only did nothing to address the problems with health care cost, but made the problems worst.  When Governor Haslam introduced his Insure Tennessee plan, I was opposed, but not adamantly opposed. I thought Insure Tennessee was better than the standard expansion of medicaid under Obamacare. I opposed it primarily because I think Obamacare is a terrible policy and I thought we should hold off on any expansion of Obamacare and focus on trying to defeat it, not acquiescence for something only slightly less offensive than the standard Obamacare expansion. I am glad  Insure Tennessee was defeated.

There is normally not much a State legislator can do to counter a nation policy other than refuse to acquiesce and to reject federal dollars. While I realize that Federal dollars come from the same pocket of the taxpayer as local or state dollars, there is still a compelling reason to get our share of federal money. If we don't, we still pay for it and someone else gets the money.

While it is difficult for a State legislature to do more than say "no" to a federal policy, State Senator Mark Green has proposed a couple of bills that do more.  He has proposed two bills that would incorporate changes to health care that incorporate market principles. Below is the report from his news letter explaining what he is proposing: 
Senator Mark Green
In the area of health care, there are two issues I'm working to address.
Unanimously passing Tennessee's Senate Commerce Committee last week, my bill to reform our state's Medicaid program - a federally-mandated program for which our state has a waiver - or TennCare.  

The Tennessean summed this legislation up in that it would "radically alter how health insurance is delivered to Tennessee's Medicaid (TennCare) recipients" and addresses the working poor that would have been covered by the expansion through the Affordable Care Act.

Simply, Senate Joint Resolution 88 allows patients in our state's health care program for the indigent and poor to participate in flexible savings accounts that reward healthy behavior and choices while incentivizing selective consumer choices and price-shopping.  In essence, the proposal makes the system patient-centric and not "3rd-party payer-centric."  This will create competition and reduce prices in an open-market environment.

In the TN Senate Commerce Committee, I requested that Commissioner of Insurance and Commerce, Julie McPeak, appear to provide an explanation for the double-digit increases in premiums by individual health-insurance plan holders.

From Commissioner McPeak's presentation it was clear that the consequences of Obamacare continue to cost hard-working Tennesseans. As healthy individuals left the healthcare exchange, prices covering the sicker patients have skyrocketed.  The point was obvious, prior to Obamacare, Tennessee had a competitive market that drove the price of insurance down.  In the wake of Obamacare, competition is gone and Tennesseans are paying the price.

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Alan Coverstone resigns positiion with Metro Schools

Alan Coverstone
By Andrea Zelinski, Nashville Scene - stepping down from his position next Friday....will remain here in Nashville. ...was turned down as a candidate to succeed Register as director of schools last summer,... Coverstone’s work running the district’s charter school arm has landed him in the crosshairs of Will Pinkston, a school board member who once sat on the board for a charter school but has since made it a primary position to stop “unabated” charter school growth in Nashville. (link)

My Comment: I have been impressed with Alan Coverstone and hate to see the school system lose him. I  have watched school board meetings and seen him make recommendation to the board on accepting or rejecting charter school application and seen him explain the criteria for making the recommendations.  I have always felt like he was methodical and fair in reaching his recommendations.

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Ted Cruz Debate Watch Party

Cruzville Presidential Debate Watch Party, Thursday, January 28 at 7 PM Carrabba's Italian Grill- Nashville/Green Hills in Nashville, Tennessee.   Cheer on Ted Cruz with fellow supporters at the Cruzville GOP Presidential Debate Watch Party. Everyone Welcome! For more information, email: Aaron R. Snodderly at or  Karen Moore at .
 Facebook link

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The Fair/Codes/Farmers Market Council Committee will be hosting a meeting on January 26th in Wilson Hall at The Fairgrounds starting at 6:00 p.m. to hear from the public concerning the future of the Fairgrounds.  There will be an open discussion and the meeting will end at promptly 8:15 p.m.  It is VERY IMPORTANT we have our RED ARMY there to show support and speak about what your ideas are for The Fairgrounds.

Please email us at to let us know if you will be attending. Please wear RED to show support.

Thank you for your continued support - you have never failed the property or us - and with your help, we will be able to help move The Fairgrounds forward and continue to be place WHERE NASHVILLE COMES TOGETHER!

Thank you!

Friends of the

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Durham resigns as Whip after Tennessean investigation

Durham resigns as Whip after Tennessean investigation

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Boring Religious Discourse. The Unsafe Space meetup,

Saturday, January 30, 2016 2:00 PM
Are you religious? Where does religion leave off and culture begin? Is this relevant to politics or government? Where does separation of church and state come from? Is religion antilogical, and antithetical to government? How does religion affect for...Learn more

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