"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Jim McIntyre: The Tip of Eli Broad's Corporate Education Spear in East Tennessee

(Photo by Sheena Patrick for MetroPulse shows McIntyre (far right) seated next to Gov. Bill Haslam. At left is former TFA cult leader and current TN Education Commissioner, Kevin Huffman)

In March 2008 Broad Academy alumnus, Jim McIntyre (Class of '06), was selected by a 5-4 vote as Superintendent of Schools for Knox County.  This followed backroom machinations by then-Mayor and Pilot Oil exec, Bill Haslam, who last year bought his way to the Governor's Office in Nashville and has since become Gates's and Broad's chief edu-stooge among Southern governors.

In fact, McIntyre was Haslam's choice for Superintendent in early 2008, as expressed here in a letter by Pilot Travel Center's COO, Mitch Steenrod, just days before four Knox County School Board members were flown to Boston for the last McIntyre interview and other "visits" prior to McIntyre's selection:
Subject: Superintendent Candidates
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2008 18:45:43 -0400

Honorable Members of Knox County School Board,

Thank you for allowing the Chamber an opportunity to talk with each of the three finalists in the superintendent search. All three were very thoughtful and composed.In my opinion, James McIntyre would be my choice for the position. He had a clear vision of accountability and measurement. He also had a great handle on developmental curriculum and understands the teaching environment in an underserved area.Again, thank you for the opportunity and best of luck with the decision.

Mitch Steenrod
Pilot Travel Centers LLC 
Since his appointment as Superintendent, McIntyre has been a faithful water-carrier for the TN Business Roundtable agenda, as witnessed in his supporting of teacher bonus pay for test scores, downsizing instructional and non-instructional personnel,  outsourcing public jobs such as janitorial services to corporations, and marginalizing teachers and the Knox County Education Association.

McIntyre most recently declared that Knox County would not negotiate with KCEA until the State of TN makes clear the meaning of one to the scores of hostile-to-teachers bills passed this year by the BRT's state legislature.  McIntyre went even further by becoming the first county superintendent in Tennessee to deny leave time to the president of the local TEA affiliate:
Tennessee Education Association President Gera Summerford says so far, Knox County is the first system she’s aware of that’s making changes under the new law.

 “There’s nothing in the law that would prohibit a board of education from continuing with such an agreement,” she says, citing Shelby County, where the education association grants release time for its president despite never participating in collective bargaining. “In fact, it was rather surprising in Knoxville that the K.C.E.A. was notified [the last week of July],” she adds, “when in fact their communication to the school system was back in May, when they knew that there would be a new president and what their terms were.”
McIntyre has also been at the forefront of making state TCAP test scores a significant part of student grades. As a result of his recommendation, the Knox County School Board passed a plan last January to make TCAP scores count 15 percent of student school grades.  So if economically disadvantaged and special needs children were not being treated unfairly enough already, now they have an additional disincentive for going to school. That borderline passing grade on the Biology 6-weeks card?  It just became an F.

And leafy suburbs children are not exempt from this cutting edge stupidity.  For parents of students whose children in the past just made the cut for Honors and AP classes are in the same boat, with names being removed from these classes without any notification to parents. 

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