The Chalk Board, May 26, 2015

By Sally Absher Another Take on the 2015 Teacher Survey Results. While most BOE members and the KCS administration are “thrilled” with the results of the teacher survey, some parents and teachers worry that there is an underlying, untold story. There are two ways to create a dramatic shift in teacher satisfaction. One is […]

Focus on the Law: Domestic Violence and Firearms

By Sharon Frankenberg, Attorney at Law The 1996 Lautenberg Amendment to the federal Gun Control Act prohibits individuals who have been convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” from purchasing, transporting, or possessing any firearms which have been affected by or affects interstate commerce. The statute is found at Title 18 United States Code […]

BOE Midmonth Meeting: Survey Times Two

By Sally Absher The Knox County Board of Education met for their mid-month meeting on Monday, May 18. The topics on the agenda included a discussion of the recent Teacher Survey and the Balanced Calendar Survey. As controversial as these topics could have been, at the end of the meeting, Chairman McMillan commended the board […]

Congressman Wirt Courtney

By Ray Hill William Wirt Courtney is barely remembered today and is likely an unfamiliar name to many residents of Tennessee, but for a decade, Courtney served in Congress, serving parts of Middle Tennessee. The future congressman was named for his father, who was in turn named for the famous lawyer, William Wirt, who was […]

The Dumbing Down of America – Lessons from California

By Sally Absher Even the Tennessee Department of Education is acknowledging that we are dumbing students down. They won’t say that outright. But when the Tennessee Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen visited Knoxville in March, and included the above slide in her presentation, it raised eyebrows among those who have been following the Common Core […]

The Chalk Board: May 18, 2015

By Sally Absher Knox County Schools Teacher Survey Results. In a press release dated May 14, KCS crows about the results of this year’s “pencil and paper” teacher survey, with the headline, “Teacher Survey shows significant improvement.” You can access the survey, and comments at It also shows that 324 fewer teachers took the […]

The Monkey Has Spoken

By Sally Absher Finally, after weeks of anticipation, the Survey Monkey results on balanced calendar were released. The PR folks at KCS have learned the trick of answering objections in advance.  In a May 11 Knoxville News Sentinel story, Dr. McIntyre told reporter Lydia McCoy that about 200 of the responses (were) taken multiple times […]

Honeysuckle Nectar

By Joe Rector The week brought warm weather; in fact, it was downright hot. Mother’s Day weekend found my family in the pool and cooling our heels and enjoying each other’s company. Anyone who was outside and who had a nose could smell the sweet scents of honeysuckle. Even at work, the blooms filled the […]


By Dr. Jim Ferguson   By the time you read this essay I hope many of you have in your possession a signed copy of my latest book, “Well…What Did the Doctor Say?” All my readers were invited to The Party hosted by The Focus, but I know life is complicated and some were out […]

A Special Family’s Love (Part II)

By Ralphine Major The heartbeat of their home was now gone.  It was July 2005 when a young mother’s life was snuffed out by cancer, and Rhonda Julian was called to her heavenly home.  Brian, her bereaved husband,  was left with their four young children ranging in age from 6 to 12 years. In a […]

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