Mayor says no more arrests or citations for Ft. Negley campers: 'Criminalizing people for being poor is not a goal of my administration'

DA Glenn Funk typically doesn't prosecute citations for criminal trespass for people who are homeless and sleeping outside in public spaces, but in an interview with the Scene, Megan Barry says she doesn't anticipate citations even being issued, particularly at the encampment at Fort Negley.

Sep 29, 2015 1:06 PM

Fleischmann, Luttrell leading Huckabee efforts in Tennessee

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell are the state chair and co-chair, respectively of the Mike Huckabee campaign in Tennessee. Huckabee plans to build a "southern firewall" in the upcoming primaries.

Other members of Huckabee's Tennessee leadership team:

State Senator Ed Jackson, Co-Chair State Legislative Committee
State Representative Barry Doss, Co-Chair State Legislative Committee
State Representative Cameron Sexton, Co-Chair State Legislative Committee
Phil Cavendar, State Grassroots Chair
David Kustoff, State Director

Sep 29, 2015 9:05 AM

Schools stonewall request for information about Islam curriculum

Tennessee school systems - all 146 of them - were hit with a records request for information about a 7th grade social studies curriculum which the American Center for Law & Justice  says amounts to Islamic indoctrination. The schools are denying the request because the ACLJ is an out-of-state entity.

Sep 29, 2015 6:54 AM

Metro may now be amenable to homeless camping

A meeting between Metro officials, homeless advocates and the homeless themselves raised the possibility that Nashville may allow some form of campsites for the homeless:

Will Connelly, executive director for the Metro Homelessness Commission, began the meeting by trying to ward off negativity about the recent conflict.

“We have a new council, a new mayor, new folks in the homelessness community that maybe have new ideas about how we approach encampments,” he said of the chance for a “fresh take.”

Sep 29, 2015 6:50 AM

Dem leader calls for investigation into inmate death

State Sen. Jeff Yarbro is calling for the state to investigate after a story by The Tennessean on the death of an inmate at a West Tennessee prison that was determined by TDOC to be natural causes, despite a medical examiner's finding of suspicious death and an autopsy that gave the cause as multiple blunt force trauma and burns

Sep 29, 2015 6:46 AM

Barry names four to senior staff

Two promoted from council positions, two come from campaign
Sep 28, 2015 2:13 PM

Vanderbilt Pre-K study shocks with finding of sharply diminishing returns

This wasn't what they expected:

Not only did students who missed pre-K catch up within a year or two. But researchers found, on the whole, students who attended pre-K fell behind their peers by the time they finished third grade.

“We’re pretty stunned looking at these data and have a lot of questions about what might be going on in the later grades that doesn’t seem to be maintaining, if not accelerating, the positive gains, professor Mark Lipsey, director of the Peabody Research Institute, said in a statement.

The study (PDF here) followed more than 3,000 students — all of whom were eligible for pre-K under the existing economic guidelines and included students who were not enrolled in pre-K. Of those 3,000, 1,076, again split between pre-K enrollees and non-enrollees were given annual individual assessments. Vanderbilt said it is the first "rigorous controlled longitudinal study to be conducted on a large-scale state-funded Pre-K program," where as other studies focused on programs that were dissimilar to state pre-K.

Here's the takeaway:

The researchers concluded that TN-VPK clearly is not producing the positive effects on academic achievement in the later grades that its advocates and sponsors expected, despite relatively strong gains during the pre-k year. Though the challenges are great, the potential of pre-K to produce such effects cannot be entirely dismissed on the basis of this study. Some of the relevant considerations the researchers suggest be taken into account include:

Poverty is a strong indicator for future academic disadvantage, and there is a pressing need to find ways to boost the academic performance of children in poverty. High quality pre-K could be a vital part of the equation, but is unlikely to be sufficient by itself at even the highest quality levels.

Tennessee has done the hard work of creating a pre-K infrastructure involving large numbers of classrooms statewide and has commitment from parents and school administrators. It may be wise to work on improving the quality and consistency of the programs delivered through that infrastructure, and assessing their effects, before reaching any final conclusions about the benefits of VPK for Tennessee children.

Pre-K is not well integrated into the K-3 instructional sequence in many schools with the result that there is not always the continuity that might allow the gains made in pre-K to be sustained and further developed. For participating children, VPK is only one part of the critical K-3 learning period and greater attention may be needed to the challenge of supporting linked, cumulative learning throughout this period.

“Pre-K is a good start, but without a more coherent vision and consistent implementation of that vision, we cannot realistically expect dramatic effects,” said Farran. “Too much has been promised from one year of preschool intervention without the attention needed to the quality of experiences children have and what happens to them in K-12. There is much work to be done.”

Sep 28, 2015 11:38 AM

TNGOP put out attack piece on Barry

The TNGOP sent out a targeted (targeted to "staunch Republican" voters) mail piece tying Megan Barry to the "Obama Way."

Sep 28, 2015 7:14 AM

Alexander opposes government shutdown over Planned Parenthood

The senior senator makes a good point:

“The United States Congress is in the business of dealing with contentious issues. If we shut down the government every time a contentious issue came up, the government would never be open.

Sep 28, 2015 7:12 AM

Barry to be 'closer' in super search

Megan Barry will be the "closer" in the revived search for a permanent superintendent for MNPS.

"If there is somebody out there that you are thinking about, I will pick up the phone, I will call them, I will go see them, I will help recruit them to Nashville," Barry told the board. "What I am hoping this director search does, is that, at this point we are actively going after the people who may not even think that they want to be our director. They may be doing some incredible things in their district, they may not even have thought about a Nashville directorship, but you thought about them and you thought about them because they fit the profile that you built."

Sep 28, 2015 7:09 AM