State Representative Gloria Johnson’s statement on the controversial letter that was sent out to Knox County Schools from the State Department of Education template letter.
“Singling out a population of students in a letter like this harmful.
It sends an awful message to students who may question their self worth. And it implies those children are somehow hurting the school.
Here’s the reality: These students are not underperforming; these students are underserved.
Gov. Bill Lee’s department of education should stop pointing fingers and start providing the resources schools needed to make these students successful.”
** I spoke to the Asst. Commissioner of Policy and Legislative Affairs yesterday and she said that question was a mistake. (I agreed;-) she told me it would be removed from the template. I asked that it be removed immediately and any schools who had not sent the letter yet be notified of the change.
I also asked that a public discussion take place with the communities that received the letter in an attempt to heal those communities and I asked they work with the systems who mailed that letter to address it with their school communities.
I hope that in the future our school admins ask questions when they feel something that comes from the state doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not. Sadly, all at our state DOE do not share our love and concern for public schools and we need to review and question their directives when they go against what is good for our kids and families.
I continue to be frustrated that the folks at the TN DOE seem to suffer no consequences for the many mistakes they make, while our students, teachers, principals, and schools are given a score that allows for no mistakes. I intend to keep working on this as well.
Tennessee State Representative Gloria Johnson – Dist. 13 in Knoxville, Knox County. Rep. Johnson serves on the Education Committee and is a retired Special Needs teacher from the Knox County School system. She can be reached at: 425 5th Avenue North, 442 Cordell Hull Bldg., Nashville, TN 37243; Phone (615) 741-2031; Fax (615) 253-0192.