It isn’t the flower’s fault.


AZ Educators Want Special Session

In Arizona, Educators have dealt with severe underfunding for long enough. According to Arizona courts, the legislature has failed to fully fund a voter-approved inflation formula for 5 straight years.  The legislature owes $331 MILLION per year – and it is due now. 

Not surprisingly, the legislature doesn’t want to pay up. Some think that delaying payments will give them time to figure out a way to never pay up. 

That’s pretty sorry, Arizona. 

This Stinks PooUnderfunding schools by millions, being found out and ordered to pay it, yet STILL trying to keep money out of schools (even though you have it readily available) is pretty stinky. 


“Parents are tired of excuses, tired of stall tactics,” Johnson said. “The governor and Legislature must demonstrate their commitment to our children today, not wait until next year or the year after that or the year after that.”

Please read more about it, here:

Arizona educators demand special legislative session


The Vilification of Amy Frogge


Amy Frogge is a strong proponent of public schools and educating all children. Her opposition to the charter take-overs in Nashville public schools is not new, and she has consistently stood her ground and fought to expose the truth about the fraudulent institutions and false claims coming out of them.

Recently, an article painted her as a hard-core, bookburning, nut. Of course, when you leave out the evidence and the majority of the story (which is exactly how these Nashville charters operate), it is pretty easy to come up with something completely different from reality. The op ed that appeared in The Tennessean used this inflammatory and inaccurate headline: “Close a School Because of a Reading Assignment? That’s What One Nashville School Board Member Wants.”

For some, it is easy to forget that charter institutions are run by corporations. Their goal is money-making. The “success” of this corporation has been heavily and inaccurately reported because a lot of the reporting is done on multiple blog sites by Ravi Gupta, who is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of RePublic Charter Schools – the group that runs Nashville Prep. Control the media, and you control the story.

This story has the potential to go on for some time, as it is quite complex. Before we delve too deeply into the larger problems in Nashville Prep, it is important to understand that even this one incident, with an absurdly inappropriate book, blatantly ignores the law. 

Consider some of Betsy Phillips’ points at on Sept. 9, 2015, Nashville Prep, Please Stop This Right Now.

Phillips shared an article written by Ravi Gupta, in which he attempts to explain-away the blatant copyright infringement going on in his “school.”

But we actually didn’t assign this book as published. Despite the fact that we love this book in its unedited form, our curriculum staff met over the summer to discuss whether we could maintain scholar interest while editing out curse words and some of the more mature subject matter. We agreed that we could, so every scholar has received a redacted version of the book (excerpts of which were shared with the district).

We changed scenes involving “sex” to scenes involving “kissing.” We changed curse words like “s**t” to “”poop.” We also redacted whole sections that involved mature scenes. I am sure we missed a word here and a word there, but the book as edited is far from the excerpts Frogge and Baldwin are circulating in terms of mature content. I doubt this information will stop them from circulating pages from the original book though, because they seem more intent on creating a problem than solving one.

I sent sections of this redacted version to the district, who then shifted their attention to whether we committed a copyright violation in redacting sections of the book. These folks would have made Kafka blush. Our lawyers believe we are on safe ground, and I wonder whether the district wants to declare open season on any teacher in their system who photocopies a book or text for use in classrooms. I doubt the district wants to wear a white shirt here. I suspect that if we asked David Benioff (the author) his opinion, he would be more outraged that a school district was attempting to ban one of his books than at the fact that a school is attempting to make his work accessible for younger readers. After all, the father of the main character in City of Thieves was killed in an act of literary censorship — making this debate all the more ironic.

I hate to be the bearer of reality for Mr. Gupta, but it is absolutely against the law for a teacher (or anyone else), to copy a textbook. Had he any significant experience in education, he would be very aware of the strict penalties educators – and their school districts – can face. 

Phillips also explains that this is a clear copyright violation:

All other issues aside, this is a clear copyright violation. Nashville Prep is stealing the intellectual property rights of David Benioff, the author of City of Thieves, and his publisher, Plume (part of Penguin, which is now part of Random House which is part of Bertelsmann, one of the largest publishers in the world). There are quite a few things going wrong based on the description Gupta provides above.

… the only two entities who could give permission for Nashville Prep to make copies of the book are Benioff and Plume. It’s clear from the post that they did not do this. 

If you are keeping score, Gupta is currently at one copyright violation for EVERY copy of the book that was made and rewritten. Good luck keeping count from here…

Amy Frogge is trying to set the record straight. Hopefully, the taxpayers in Nashville will wake up and listen. I am also hopeful that other large urban districts will learn from Nashville’s mistakes, rather than repeating them. Amy Frogge’s Facebook post, regarding the book and continuing problems at Nashville Prep is below. I have highlighted select lines. Nothing else has been changed.

Amy Frogge


Today I was attacked (again) by Ravi Gupta, the head and founder of RePublic Schools, which operates several schools in the district, including Nashville Prep. This time, Mr. Gupta was upset about a private email I’d written to MNPS administrators (the email was forwarded to Mr. Gupta) in which I reported that young students at his school are reading a wildly inappropriate book. In my email, I commented that Nashville Prep should be closed. Mr. Gupta has now sent out a blog post trying to focus attention on me and detract from the issue at hand; he contends in his post that I am trying to conduct a “book burning.” In response, I feel the need to explain the full context of my email. Anyone who knows me understands that I am not a fan of corporate education reform or of so-called “no excuses” charter schools. However, Nashville Prep stands out in its treatment of children. The book at issue is quite stunning in its rhetoric and descriptions of explicit sexual encounters; I will detail that below. However, complaints forwarded to me about this school over the last two years are even worse. Here, precisely, is why I have become very upset and frustrated about Nashville Prep:

Nearly two years ago, a parent approached me after a board meeting, crying. She had come to our board meeting as a last-ditch effort, because she had been unable to help her daughter, who was a 10-year-old student at Nashville Prep. She told me her child had become depressed and anxious because of the extreme no-excuses disciplinary procedures at the school, and she needed help removing her child from the school.She had tried to bring her concerns to the attention of the Office of Innovation (which oversees charter schools), but she said her concerns were ignored. She maintained that she had trouble navigating the withdrawal/enrollment process because no one seemed to be in charge of process for charter schools.

Editor’s note:
Let’s step out and consider what this parent’s experience says: Nashville parents have choices, and can choose to easily enroll in Nashville Prep. It seems they can NOT choose to easily leave. 

Please click below, to continue to page 2:

Pages: 1 2 3

Knox County BOE 9/2/15

This is the I Teach I Vote live blog from the Knox County Schools regular meeting on September 2, 2015.