Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mike Krause and Bill Haslam Need to Get on the Same Page

Posted By on Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 6:00 AM

On Monday, Bill Haslam was down in Chattanooga discussing the Tennessee Promise, which is the program that provides two years of tuition-free community college to all of Tennessee's graduating high school seniors. According to the Times-Free Press, he seems really excited that the program is much more popular than the state had initially figured:

About two-thirds of Tennessee's graduating seniors have applied for Tennessee Promise, which guarantees to cover the cost of a two-year college degree. Saturday is the application deadline.

Haslam said the 43,000 high school seniors who've signed up for the scholarship program is more than double the original estimate of 20,000 students.

The governor said the scholarship program is critical to the state's manufacturers.

"If you talk to manufacturers, they love everything about Tennessee, but they're concerned about the depth of talent that's here long term," said Haslam, who was awarded the group's C.D. Mitchell Award, its top recognition.

He said that in a decade, 55 percent of all jobs will require a two- or four-year degree or technical certificate. Now, only about a third of Tennessee adults have the needed education.

"That's why we rolled out Tennessee Promise," Haslam said. "It really can be a game-changer for our state."

I don't often give credit to Governor Haslam and I am concerned that, unless the state brings higher education costs under control, the Tennessee Promise doesn't make four years of college any less expensive, but just shifts the costs to the last two years, but I completely agree with him here. It is exciting to see that so many kids are signing up for it. It is important that we get our young people educated and trained if we want to attract and keep good jobs. And giving kids a way to go to school after high school has real, long-lasting positive effects for society as a whole. Kids whose parents go to college are more likely to also go to college. People with any kind of post-high school degree earn much more money in the long run over people who only have high school educations. We're setting a state-wide expectation that you can go to college. It's not out of your reach.

This is some great stuff.

So, I'm not sure why Bill Haslam's own man, Mike Krause, head of the Tennessee Promise program, decided to piss in the soup, so to speak, but his comments to WPLN sure leave a bad taste in the mouth:

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Daily Links: Amelia Earhart, Steve Carell, and Reese Witherspoon

Posted By on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Every day we read a lot of stuff. If it's interesting, thought provoking, funny or being shared by everyone we know on the Internet, we share some of it with you. Happy reading.

From Discovery: Amelia Earhart Plane Fragment Identified

From The New York Times: Stepping Into Eccentricity’s Darker Side: Steve Carell Plays a du Pont in the Drama ‘Foxcatcher’

From The Toast: We Regret To Announce That Your Request Of “Gotta Hear Both Sides” Has Been Denied

From SB Nation: Can Ray Rice Go Home Again?

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Tennessee Ranks Near the Top in Felony Disenfranchisement

Posted By on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 2:06 PM

  • The Sentencing Project

An estimated 341,815 voting-age Tennesseans will not be able to vote in next week's elections because of the state's highly restrictive felony disenfranchisement laws, according to a report from the Sentencing Project.

Tennessee is one of 12 states that restrict voting rights after a person has served their sentence, and as the graphic above shows, that contributes to one of the highest felony disenfranchisement rates in the country. The effect of these policies is disproportionately strong in the African-American community. In Tennessee, an estimated 18.9 percent of black adults are not able to vote this year as a result.

The numbers are just as staggering on the national level, where the Sentencing Project estimates that 5.9 million voting age Americans will be kept from the polls by disenfranchisement policies, 38 percent of whom are African-Americans. You can read a state-by-state breakdown of the total disenfranchisement numbers here and estimates of African-American disenfranchisement by state here. The estimates are based on the Sentencing Project's 2012 study on felony disenfranchisement.

(H/T The Washington Post)

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Caption Contest: Shoney Bear for Mayor!

Posted By on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 10:31 AM

  • @daviddavoudpour

The best caption will receive a property tax break from the next bearoral administration.

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Five Things to Know From Last Night’s School Board Meeting, What’s Next

Posted By on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 7:00 AM

School board members spent two and one-half hours diving deep into an outside report rekindling a years-long debate about the role of charter schools in Nashville and discerning what advice the district took from a two-year-old Tribal report. Here’s a breakdown of the major takeaways, and then some.

1) Gentry favors a narrowed charter school policy. After avoiding the fray of pro-charter-anti-charter school fights, School Board Chairwoman Sharon Gentry came out in support of dictating to charter applicants specific needs the board wants met in the next application cycle instead of freeing charter school hopefuls to pitch any type of school they want, wherever they want.

"I would not have a vendor come to me with their own idea of what I need. I would paint the needs for my vendor,” said Gentry, adding the board should also annually assess other needs, such as for pre-k vendors and groups that can help with wrap around services at schools. "It's bigger, bigger, bigger, bigger than this one topic.”

The comments came in light of presentation of a report commissioned this summer to determine a charter fiscal capacity model, ultimately recommending the board set parameters for future charter school applicants. The school board needs to define those needs together based off district data/ Expect the board to dive into this topic shortly, ahead of the next charter school review cycle that starts when proposed operators file letters of intent on Feb. 1.

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The Southern Baptists Build Themselves a Giant Loophole, Decline to Step Through It Yet

Posted By on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 6:00 AM

So, this is fascinating. Southern Baptists are now admitting that people are born gay. From WPLN:

“One of the embarrassments that I have to bear is that I have written on some of these issues for 30 years,” Southern Seminary president Albert Mohler said Monday at a special conference on homosexuality. “At a couple of points, I’ve got to say I got that wrong, and we’ve got to go back and correct it.”

Decades ago, Mohler — who heads the Southern Baptist Convention’s flagship seminary — said he argued that homosexuality is a choice and that there’s no such thing as an innate “sexual orientation.”

However, Mohler — and the 16-million person denomination itself — is sticking by the view that homosexuality is fundamentally sinful.

But here's the thing. If homosexuality is innate — i.e. if you're born gay — and if it's fundamentally sinful, then the Southern Baptists are saying that gay people are born sinful. There's nothing they can do to escape it. You're born gay. You're born sinful.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Daily Links: Heresy, UNC, and Marvelnado

Posted By on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Every day we read a lot of stuff. If it's interesting, thought provoking, funny or being shared by everyone we know on the Internet, we share some of it with you. Happy reading.

From Christianity Today: Many American evangelicals hold unorthodox views on the Trinity, salvation, and other doctrines

From The Independent: "Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are right and God isn't 'a magician with a magic wand' "

From Curbed: In London, a full-size wax house is slowly, painfully melting

From Grantland: The Tar Heels’ State: Academic Scandal, Big Money, No Surprises

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MNPS: Redaction Review Holding Up Open Records on East Nashville Plan

Posted By on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 3:08 PM

More than a month after parents asked Metro Schools to furnish them with emails, text messages, notes and other information the administration is using to devise a plan for East Nashville schools, the district has yet to deliver.

MNPS is still wading through documents that could shine a light into what has gone into its idea of transforming the east side region into an all choice zone, and the district is determining what, if anything, will need to be redacted before releasing the documents, according to district spokeswoman Olivia Brown.

“Unfortunately, the gathering and required review of documents to ensure any confidential information is redacted has taken longer than I anticipated to complete. I want to assure you that your request is in process and as soon as documents are reviewed and cleared we will begin sending information to you as requested,” Brown wrote in a Friday, Oct. 24, email to East Nashville United, a parent group born out of the district’s decision to take a special approach to the area’s schools.

The documents asked for in open records requests were supposed to be ready for ENU on Oct. 24, including communications involving Director of Schools Jesse Register, Executive Director of the Office of Innovation Alan Coverstone, Executive Director of Talent Strategy Katie Cour and Government Relations Liaison Hank Clay.

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It's Naked Rugby Calendar Season Again!

Posted By on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 6:00 AM


Our gay rugby team, the Nashville Grizzlies are, once again, as a public service to everyone in Nashville who appreciates amazingly well-defined shoulders, releasing a calendar full of men with said amazingly well-defined shoulders in various states of undress.

Proceeds from the sale of the calendar go to keeping gay rugby affordable for anyone who wants to play, regardless of their means.

The Grizzlies are a USA Rugby Division III club and they play all over the country. Every couple of years they play for the Bingham Cup, named in honor of Mark Bingham who died on United Airlines Flight 93 during the September 11, 2001 attacks.

So, that's cool. They're out there representing our city around the world, giving the impression that we're all socially-minded folks who look fine when we're hot and sweaty. I hope that's true, because we stay hot and sweaty at least half the year.

Or at least I do.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Register Flips, Hasn’t Ruled Out Giving Inglewood Elementary to KIPP

Posted By on Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Last month, just minutes after Metro Schools director Jesse Register ended an hour-long community meeting about the future of Inglewood Elementary School, he told reporters what he saw in the cards: It was not becoming a charter school.

Today, however, he said handing the school’s keys to KIPP charter schools is still on the table, as the charter waits for the district to assign it a low-performing school to take over next fall.

“We haven’t ruled it out,” Register told Pith Monday about giving the school to KIPP.

“I didn’t say that we would not (give the school to KIPP), I just said we were just hearing from the community that they did not want a KIPP conversion at Inglewood. So we take that into consideration and I acknowledge that feedback from the meeting. That was faculty and community members, very few parents there. But we haven’t made a commitment one way or another."

On Sept. 24, parents packed into a community meeting at Inglewood, where they shared a mix of opinions. Many called for greater parent involvement, while others criticized the district’s approval of charter schools — independently run schools funded with taxpayer dollars that have become the one of the city’s most active political lightning rods.

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