Disparities in Education

For those involved in the community effort to Save Project GRAD, Magnet Programs, and Gifted and Talented from the Knox County School (KCS) board’s proposed budget cuts last spring are well aware that KCS has disparities in education.  Our community effort to save those programs gave us a one year reprieve.  As far as I am concerned, the fight continues.

Please Read: Green, E.L. & Waldman, A. (2018, Oct. 17). ‘You Are Still Black:’ Charlottesville’s Racial Divide Hinders Students.  The New York Times.

This article followed two students who attended schools on opposite sides of the tracks.  One student received gifted education and enrolled in AP courses in high school.  The other student did not receive gifted services and was not allowed to take Algebra II.  Part of the discussion focused on the racial divide of who receives gifted and AP classes and who does not.  If this happens in Charlottesville, I would not be surprised if it was happening in our very own community.

Please look at ProPublica’s Miseducation interactive guide to read about disparities in education in your school system.  I will highlight some disparities in education in Knox County Schools:

  • The Segregation Index was considered High.
  • White Students are 2.9 times as likely to be enrolled in an AP course as Black students.
  • Black students are 3.4 times as likely to be suspended as White students.
  • Black students are on average academically 2.4 grades behind White students.
  • Less than 1% of our students are enrolled in a Gifted Program.
  • The article about Charlottesville highlights two areas, access to Gifted programs and AP classes.  Students who are exposed to these programs have been shown to have greater success in their academic lives.

As I said in the beginning of this post, KCS has some work to do to eliminate disparities in education.  Please don’t destroy great programs that are beneficial for deserving students.  Enhance them!

Endorsed by Conservation Action PAC

Screen Shot 2018-10-17 at 8.49.45 AM
“The Conservation Action PAC’s board is impressed by my impressive history of commitment to sound environmental and conservation policies as a citizen. They believe I possess an obvious commitment to protecting Tennessee’s water, air and land! They know I will be an excellent Representative and that I will continue to create a responsible record on issues impacting the environment.” (excerpt from endorsement letter)
As with all of my endorsements, I remain humble and proud to represent organizations that share the same values as I do.  My family and I hiked to Mt. LeConte (Great Smoky Mts.) on October 8th.  While the hike was long and strenuous, it was also beautiful and relaxing.  On Mt. LeConte, many of the adult pine trees are dead.  This is due to a pine beetle that was introduced in the forest in the 1960’s.  My worry is that with climate change and one political party’s resistance to it and its damaging effects, will there be anything to hike to when my children take their children on the same hike?

Managing climate change, using renewable resources, cutting down on single-use plastics among thousands of other things we can do will greatly help our race against climate change.  Let’s make sure we are voting for candidates who vow to protect Mother Earth!

IMG_0423

Endorsed by Knox News Sentinel

Screen Shot 2018-10-17 at 8.49.32 AM

The Knoxville News Sentinel endorsed our campaign!  Thanks to you, our most loyal supporters, we have shown Knoxville that we have important issues on our minds and we want our governments to start working for the people, not the special interests.  I salute our local newspaper for recognizing the Democrats running in these races and for doing their part to enhance our democracy.  Read more about the endorsement here: Click here

Protecting our vulnerable from and Impulse

I wrote about a young woman who tried to commit suicide by shooting herself in the face.  She survived and received a face transplant.  When she decided to reach for a gun and end her life, it was a moment, an impulse.  She did not have suicidal thoughts before that time.  I always think about her when I think about a moment in time, an impulse.  Now, I keep this in mind when I think of others who have been affected by gun violence.  Here is the title of an article I read this morning:

Zaveri, M. (2018, Oct. 13).  Man Who Fired at Black Teenager Asking for Directions is Convicted.  The New York Times.

Here are some excerpts from the article that again make me think that we need to protect ALL our vulnerable from our impulses, our moments in time:

  • “He certainly wishes it didn’t happen,” Mr. Morad said on Saturday. “He wishes he didn’t go outside that day.”
  • the April encounter happened so quickly that Mr. Zeigler did not have time to consider the boy’s race. “He just reacted and that was that,” Mr. Morad said.
  • “She didn’t really give me a chance to speak a lot, and I was trying to tell her that I go to Rochester High and I was looking for directions,” Brennan said. “A few moments later the guy came downstairs, and he grabbed the shotgun.”
  • Mr. Morad said that Mr. Zeigler was in a deep sleep that morning. He said that after Brennan rang the doorbell, Mr. Zeigler’s wife answered the door.
  • Mr. Zeigler told Brennan to get off his property, and told his wife to call the police before going into a nearby room, grabbing the shotgun and returning, Mr. Morad said. That’s when Brennan fled.

Mr. Zeigler was asleep and reacted to someone at his door by firing a weapon at him.  After I wake up from a deep sleep, I am often groggy and do not know what is going on for a few minutes.  We need to be protected from our own impulses when we are not fully aware and we need to protect others from moments, impulses.  We need more safety mechanisms on guns so it takes more than pulling a gun off a shelf and pulling a trigger.  We need to know the person firing the weapon is completely aware of their environment.  Locking mechanisms, biometrics, storage units that require a couple of minutes of thought to open would be helpful.

Once again, Make America Safe Again.  Protect ALL our Vulnerable from Gun Violence.  We should be able to knock on a door without getting shot at.

Endorsed by the TN Building & Construction Trades Council

Screen Shot 2018-10-12 at 2.06.35 PM

I am proud to announce that I have been endorsed by the Tennessee Building & Construction Trades Council.  They believe I will be a strong voice for working families at the Tennessee legislature.  I agree with them and vow to work hard for everyday families like yours and mine.  If we want to keep the building and construction going strong in Tennessee we need to vote for candidates who will expand Medicaid.  New businesses have started to turn away from locating in Tennessee because so many of our rural hospitals are closed.  If we want to keep attracting new business, new building and new construction then we need to expand Medicaid to keep our hospitals open.