Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Metro Council Appoints Home-Schooler to the Public School Board

Councilman Michael Craddock lead a group of 18 of his fellows to "try something different" for the sake of being different last night as conservative home-schooling blogger Kay Brooks was appointed to fill the vacant spot on the School Board (final tally 18-17, with Amanda McClendon abstaining). We'll see if this moves the School Board once step closer along the conservative quest to defund and dismantle our public schools in the name of vouchers for private schools and public support for home-schooling. Brooks' District 5 will only have until the August election to judge whether she pitches in to make public schools better or merely acts to advance a conservative agenda on the Board. My guess is that since she intends to run for the office she now fills in August, she will lay low and not act boldly so as not to alarm voters. She did something of the sort when she chose to skip a public forum in East Nashville designed to allow parents in her district to ask her questions. Rumors are that a Metro Council member advised her not to go. But Kay Brooks needs to stand up to the questions that public school parents have of her, if not now then before August. Creating an e-list to field questions is just a means to control and filter the debate; at some point a candidate has to submit herself to public scrutiny. What qualifies a home-school mom to be in position of service to public schools? Beyond criticizing graduation rates, what does she plan to do? What proactive plan does Kay Brooks have on behalf of public schools? We shall see. Or if her absence from the public forum is any indication, maybe we won't see.

05/17/2006, 10:30 a.m. Update: I've got one other question that's preying on my mind. I'm wondering if there is a connection between Kay Brooks and the conservative (Republican-backed?) interest group started by Council Member Eric Crafton called "Save Our Schools." This is a group somewhat secretive about their membership, although we do know that it includes the Davidson County Republican Party Chair, Jon Crisp. The group mainly emphasizes that, compared to other counties, Metro is spending too much on education per student. We need to watch to see whether Kay Brooks mirrors this group's agenda, which does not seem to include going directly at the School Board, but instead seems to involve spinning information and influencing perceptions via the media and in the Council.

05/17/2006 11:00 a.m. Update: Both Kay Brooks and her nominator, Council Member Michael Craddock, have taken some heat from commenters on her blog. [I would be remiss if I failed to mention that the comments are from anonymous commenters]. Kay Brooks has not responded to these comments, even though they address some of the problems I cited earlier.
Why didn't you participate in the forum sponsored by Metro Council and attended by parents and voters? All the other candidates came and spoke about their ideas. Yet, you and the councilperson that nominated you declined to participate. AND in violation of the open meetings act, the councilmember in question has been lobbying for votes behind the scenes. Why exactly should ANYONE support someone who has had to resort to backroom dealings and is afraid to face the voters of the district you purport to "represent?"
Given that Michael Craddock has commented on Enclave before that he is a regular reader, I would like to ask him to address the charge of open meetings violation. Mr. Craddock: were other council members lobbied by you and others to support Kay Brooks in last night's vote? Here's another comment to Kay Brooks' blog:
I have never felt so sad for the students of District 5 as I did last evening. Kay could hardly say two words about what she plans to do as School Board member. Parents aren't bloggers, they are real people hurting for success in the schools she represents. This is just another tactic of divide and conquer. But it will not work. Stay at home Kay and educate your children. You do not have the faith to put them in Metro Schools. Let's find the candidate that really wants to work for the children of District 5.
Kay Brooks made a personal choice that she obviously believed was correct for her family; no one begrudges her that. But now she bears the burden of proving to her constituents that such a choice does not in fact limit her ability to be an effective leader in public education.

05/17/2006, 11:10 a.m. Update: The mighty, mighty A.C. Kleinheider over at is taking comments on the Kay Brooks episode and a pseudonymous commenter left the following:
Yes, I am concerned as well. Kay hid from the public because she was "overwhelmed" at the thought of appearing at the public forum (where ALL the other candidates showed up) where she would be asked hard questions from people who don't support her belief that prayer and evolution should be priorities in our curriculum. Perhaps, most disappointing was the manner in which she was appointed - in exactly the kind of closed-door, backroom dealings that all the conservatives rail about. Hypocrisy is such a great way to start a political career. Not that I'm surprised. This smacks of the neo-con ways.
Overwhelmed? Cry me a river of tears. If you're going to throw your "hat in the ring" then you better lace up those gloves and prepare to box. Perhaps Kay Brooks may find herself "overwhelmed" by serving on the school board, too. I've been to a couple of those meetings. Facing the public is not any easier there.

05/17/2006, 11:30 a.m. Update: We may have a harbinger. Here's what one of Kay Brooks' more prominent and more conservative well-wishers thinks of our public school district:
Now we must all pray for Kay, as she descends into that educational cess pool of conventional thinking ....
My issues and concerns with our school district are published here on Enclave for all to see, but I surely wouldn't call it a "cess pool" (making Kay Brooks pristine and undefiled?) . I wonder if Kay Brooks might distance herself from these sorts of stupid and hateful comments or whether she might consider them presage of her leadership?


  1. If Kay Brooks wants to effect change she will need to answer questions. If she can't even be bothered to respond to blog comments (not to mention failing to show up in person) is she really serious about her new role?

    Doesn't look like it.

  2. It seems to me that Ms. Brooks just can't be bothered about a lot of things....Her stated reason for homeschooling is that she didn't feel the MNPS school her child was zoned to would provide an adequate education. So, if she is such an advocate for change, why didn't she jump in and become an involved parent at that time when her own child's education was on the line? Now she expects me to believe that she somehow has my child's best interest at heart? Even my public school educated mind doesn't think that adds up.