Friday, June 30, 2006

Kay Brooks: The Only Board Member Who Asks Questions?

In an obvious attempt to draw herself out from among the other School Board members, Kay Brooks wrote the these comments on her blog after Tuesday's Metro Council meeting:
There was a short [Board of Education] meeting before the [Metro] Council meeting. Sometimes I feel like the only one who questions anything on the agenda.
Sounds to me like Kay may see herself as the only critical thinker on the Board of Education or at least the only one conscientious enough to get more information. Here's an alternative possibility: maybe she faces a steeper learning curve than others, having little or no experience with public schools. That's why those volumes of reading materials in boxes that they sent her can be a little overwhelming. And that's why she has more questions than others. But to suggest that she is the only member who questions anything sounds farfetched to me.

Sometimes I feel like the only one who tries to come up with the top ten questions that I would ask if I were in Kay Brooks' position:
  1. Since I don't support slavery ... errrr ... I mean, public education, why am I here again?
  2. Can Michael Craddock put votes together for me in August like he did in May?
  3. Since feeding children does not really count as education, can we cut the budget and just bring them ice water at lunch time?
  4. You thought I was serious when I advocated open meetings? Do you understand irony?
  5. Will you please watch your language?
  6. Why did I ever request that laptop in the first place?
  7. Are my meetings with Pedro becoming too much like victory jigs with Satan?
  8. If I don't need a nurse for my home school, why does Metro need them in public schools?
  9. Did I thank dear Ludye nearly enough for his courageous vote for me in exchange for a back alley?
  10. Why do I have to keep hearing about my predecessor's accomplishments?


  1. The most frequently voiced complaint about Kay Brooks is her status as an outsider. Critics will claim otherwise, that they are more upset with how the Council put her in place, or how she didn't have the experience of other candidates who had worked within the system for years. But it always comes back to her decision to homeschool.

    It is ironic that the same people who would complain if healthcare reform were left up to the HMO's, or energy policy is influenced by oil executives, scream like banshees when someone other than an education insider is involved in the process.

    Pure hypocrisy.

  2. You are definitely not speaking for this critic. As I've said before: she lacks proper immersion in the public school community of students, parents, teachers, and administrators. Moreover, her appointment was political and ideological, rather than based on her skill set and experience. My objection has little to do with her "different" experience; it has to do with her cursory and shallow experience in and with public schools. Show me a homeschool mom with a long history of PTO leadership and partnership with the school district and I have little if any objections.

    No hypocrisy.

  3. What appointment isnt political or ideological?

    How would a home schooler "have a history with PTO leadership and a partnership with the school district"?

  4. If all appointments are political and ideological, then no appointments are political and ideological. I don't have time to teach remedial lessons to anonymous commenters on making impartial and objective judgments in bureaucratic appointments. Most reasonable people comprehend the idea of setting aside personal bias or gains. Besides, I think you're feigning ignorance on this one.

    Home schoolers who still value the importance of participating as partners (even if critical ones) rather than as absolute opponents in civic affairs of the community would find ways to stay engaged in leadership networks, including those of public education. This appointment was the first time Kay Brooks showed an interest in participating in public education. That's fishy.

  5. It's about competence. She doesn't have it. End of story.

    I'd love to sing R&B. Unfortunately, I can't sing. I don't subject other people to my lack of talent in this arena. Only my shower suffers.

    Put Kay Brooks back in the shower. Please.

  6. Lack of competence is the end of the story, but there is also an epilogue: any or all of 18 Metro Council members may have been in violation of Tennessee's open meeting laws. We won't know until an investigation is done.

    It is very troubling to me that Kay Brooks would go along with this appointment under such shady conditions. The fact that she has argued for open meetings on her pet projects but accepted this appointment under this cloud of suspicion may say something about her character.

  7. The system is faltering, but improving. It took 40 years (or since desegregation)for our schools to fall to this point and it will take more than 5 to bring them up to a level we are happy with. My kids go to public school and our experience has been excellent. Not perfect, but very good. You get back what you put in. And while I agree that I'd like to see many members of the school board change, I do believe we have better people in the system now than in many, many years. It's not about outsiders, it's about competence, knowledge and participation. None of which Ms. Brooks has. Bashing public education is easy. Working together toward the best solution we can find and being supportive of the families that choose - and my family has chosen public over private - that is called good citizenship, community and frankly, a Christian calling of goodwill. The negativity is old news - be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem.