Thursday, July 10, 2008
This Guy Probably Has a Better Record Than the Chamber
By Matt Pulle
on Thu, Jul 10, 2008 at 4:12 PM
SuccessPAC, the political action committee created by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce for school board elections, announced today its support for five Metro school board candidates in the Aug. 7 election. The SuccessPAC board interviewed every candidate who qualified for the ballot across the five school board districts up for election. All candidates except one completed and submitted a SuccessPAC questionnaire.
"This group of outstanding candidates will bring a diverse set of skills and experience to the school board," said Phil Trella, SuccessPAC chairman. "We believe these new board members can help lead our school district out of [No Child Left Behind] Corrective Action status by putting the success of our schoolchildren first."
The endorsed candidates are:
District 1: Sharon Gentry
"The SuccessPAC Board was particularly impressed with Sharon Gentry's focus on the use of achievement data, her commitment to measuring the effectiveness of district programs and her passion for children" said Trella.
District 3: Mark North
"In only a short time on the school board, Mark North has established himself as a leader who is willing to work incredibly hard on some the most complex issues facing the school district," said Trella. "We need more political leaders like Mr. North."
District 7: Cordenus Eddings
"Cordenus Eddings offers a fresh perspective, a new energy and a recognition of the importance of our schools to the success of the larger community. We believe this will translate into greater attention to student achievement," said Trella. "The incumbent [in District 7] has served on the school board for 23 years, and we continue to fall short under No Child Left Behind. It's time for a change."
District 9: Lee Limbird & Alan Coverstone
"In a district with a crowded field, we believe two candidates stand out from the pack," said Trella. "Lee Limbird impressed the committee with her considerable experience managing large organizations and budgets at Meharry Medical College and will bring a focus on producing tangible results for all children. Alan Coverstone has been an advocate for Metro Schools through his involvement on the Parents Advisory Council and promises to be a leader in engaging and enlisting community support for our public schools."
The endorsed candidates share certain key characteristics of an ideal candidate, including:
A strong commitment to public education and the highest standards of achievement for all students
The ability to work collaboratively with diverse groups, including other board members, teachers, community organizations and elected officials, and a respect for differing points of view
A desire to empower the director of schools to implement board policies and achieve academic results
An understanding of the need for effective financial management of the school system
A push for accountability at all levels of Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools
SuccessPAC is not making an endorsement in District 5, as incumbent Gracie Porter is unopposed. "We expect Ms. Porter's first term experience to help her work effectively toward the academic success of all students," said Trella.
So here's the brief history of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce's meddling in public education: In 2006, it backed a batch of candidates distinguished largely by their adoration of then schools director Pedro Garcia. Within months, they voted to extend his contract, even though the district's test scores were plunging. Then, when Garcia, who had been loathed by teachers for years, had the audacity to stand up to the chamber candidates and voice his common-sense concerns with a rezoning plan that he tabbed as racist, they apparently sent him packing to southern California. Finally last Tuesday, came the money shot when chamber candidates passed the plan by a 5-4 vote, infuriating nearly the entire black community.
So that was nice.
Today, the chamber endorsed a new batch of acolytes, each of whom gets $5K, a not inconsiderable amount in a school board race. Given the business group's bumbling history, maybe the endorsements mean we should vote for the other guys.
The press release is after the jump: