Publisher’s Position: School Woes and Little Children

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By Steve Hunley

Having served on the Knox County Board of Education, I learned a long time ago to watch out when someone was intoning, “It’s all for the children.”  The election of Mike McMillan as Chairman of the Knox County Board of Education came as a distinct shock to many and the coalition of Chamber of Commerce types, the Knoxville News Sentinel and their allies tried their best to influence the contest without success.  It was a struggle for power and control and they proposed to invest that authority in Superintendent Jim McIntyre.

McMillan has called a special session for the Board to consider whether or not to continue administering the SAT-10 tests to kindergarteners, as well as first and second graders.  The special called meeting of the board was requested by South Knoxville representative Amber Rountree.  Rountree is a former educator herself and helped to proctor these tests and has personally witnessed the stress it has caused youngsters.  McIntyre was horrified at the thought of a special session and has fought the idea bitterly.  Past boards and chairs of the board of education have ceded way too much authority to McIntyre and he does not want to give it up.  Few may realize that McIntyre is the sole employee of the board of education, a fact McIntyre ought to be reminded of at every possible opportunity.

McIntyre tried to get in front of the parade by announcing, after supposedly much consideration and reflection, that he was dropping SAT-10 testing of kindergartners.  The school systems in Alcoa and Oak Ridge are always held up to us whenever the Chamber folk and the Sentinel are beating the drum for higher taxes, yet both of those school systems no longer administer the SAT-10 tests to first and second graders.  It is NOT mandated by the state, but by Jim McIntyre.

McIntyre’s minions on the Board: Karen Carson, Doug “High Tax” Harris, Gloria Deathridge, and Lynne Fugate will dutifully do all they can to let McIntyre have his way.  They have wanted to delay serious consideration of revising policies in the hope that McIntyre supporters Tracie Sanger or Charlotte Dorsey will win tomorrow’s election.  McIntyre and his rubber stamps shudder at the thought of Jamie Rowe winning.

Carson has become the bully of the Board and anyone who has witnessed her recent performances can only cringe to think she votes on a bullying policy for the Knox County Board of Education.  Carson will likely lead the charge in taking on Amber Rountree and its a lot like Walt Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” come to life.  Give the little mermaid glasses and she looks like Amber Rountree and Carson is a dead ringer for Ursula.

There is not a single justification for administering the SAT-10 test to first and second graders except that McIntyre wants it that way.  Hopefully after tomorrow’s election, he actually have to follow the direction of the board of education instead of the board following him.

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