Wednesday, March 14, 2012

MNPS Director failed to follow ethics policy, did not report gifts and favors and hired his own former employer as a consultant

Nate Rau reports that Metro Schools Director Jesse Register went 2 years without filing required disclosure forms:

After The Tennessean inquired about Register’s failure to file the forms, a spokeswoman for MNPS initially indicated he was not covered by the city’s ethics law or Dean’s executive order creating the disclosure requirements. However, Register’s employment contract contains a provision requiring him to comply with the city’s ethics law and Dean’s executive order.

Although his disclosure statements for the two missed years are now on file with the Metro Clerk, taxpayers remain in the dark about what gifts, travel, meals and tickets to events Register has received since he was hired by the district. Citing advice from the Metro Legal Department, Register left that section of the disclosure statements blank ....

Once the provision in his contract was discovered, Register filed the form for 2011 on Feb. 21 and the form for 2010 on Feb. 23.

On all three of his forms to date, Register has elected not to disclose trips, gifts, meals and other benefits provided to him because of his role as the director of schools.

This apparently looks infectious to Mayor Karl Dean, up until now Register's partner in education reform crime, because the Mayor's media herald, Gail Kerr, followed the story with an editorial distancing Dean from Register (Kerr even goes so far as to spin Dean as a reluctant Register supporter, much like he was once spun as a hesitant candidate for the Mayor's Office).

Just as troubling as the information about which Mr. Register is not being transparent in 2010 and 2011, is 2009 report that he hired former employer Annenberg Institute for School Reform and paid them $700,000 for consulting work. In 2011 the Annenberg Institute issued a report about MNPS that gushed in its evaluations of Jesse Register, according to the Tennessean. Register had recommended Annenberg to the school board to conduct the evaluations.

These events smell rank to me. The news is rife with conflicts of interests, and until we see the full ethics report, the conflicts could be judged as unethical. If Metro Nashville Public Schools is going to wipe away conventional education and implement "reform" (an ironic word when fraught with these ethical dilemmas), they better make sure that all of the analysis performed and the data collected is not tainted by favoritism and cronyism.


  1. Well said...wonder what if any connection their might be to the british group brought in to help turn around schools. Does MNPS not have a compliance officer?

  2. Rank is an understatement. Race to the Top is a recipe for corruption. Arne Duncan used his control of federal dollars to make competitive grants to states and school districts through Race To The Top, in exchange for a promise to close neighborhood schools, turn them over to private operators, and to hire outside consultants. No public accountability required.