Over the last couple of years, teachers have been growing a movement here in Nashville, our own Red for Ed movement. It’s been slow to build, but then again, these things take time if they are really going to make a difference.
We have a robust Facebook group, and we regularly move into action, from walk-ins at schools across Nashville to writing postcards to local and state legislators to speaking up at the school board and city council to canvassing for pro-public education candidates.
The bottom line is this: we want fully funded schools.
But one frustration in all of this is that we shouldn’t have to be doing all of this. We should have a city behind us, fully invested in the success of our public schools. Fully funding our school shouldn’t be something we have to constantly fight for. And so, we will continue fighting to change that paradigm.
Part of doing that means that we desperately need new leadership in Nashville. While current Mayor David Briley panders for votes from teachers, we must do better. Briley recently “found” money to put towards an additional 3% raise for teachers, giving us a total of 6%, which is really only a COLA and not a true raise. And there still are no step increases. And this newly-found money may not truly be sustainable. I can see right through this – it’s a trick to get more votes.
I’m not buying it. Which is why I am strongly endorsing John Ray Clemmons for the mayor of Nashville.
Here is an editorial I wrote for The Tennessean – including the names of over 130 citizens who agree that we need John Ray Clemmons:
Why Nashville needs John Ray Clemmons
After the recent disappointing budget vote by City Council, teachers are frustrated. That frustration stems from two years’ worth of work raising awareness of our underfunded schools and teacher shortage problems.
Quite frankly, Nashvillians are tired of feeling like the leadership of this city cares more about tourism and corporate dollars than they do about us.
We are long overdue for a leader who cares deeply about the people in this city, for someone who can balance the needs of a growing city with all the things that make Nashville great. For someone who has the impetus to make life better for all of us – teachers, police officers, fire fighters, bus drivers, city workers, and families.
That person is John Ray Clemmons.
He leads with heart and a conviction that our lives and our livelihoods matter. This conviction shows in his professional life as a lawyer and state legislator and in his personal life. He is the only mayoral candidate with children in our very own Metro Nashville Public Schools. This decision cannot be overstated; it shows a personal commitment to our public schools that many of our leaders lack.
John Ray Clemmons has a solid history of standing with teachers and community leaders for what we need in Nashville. He is genuine and humble, two qualities we have not seen for a long time. Clemmons has a true desire to be a public servant and has said that he will serve with less concern about being reelected than doing what is right.
As teachers, we know the role we play in children’s lives is deeply important, but truthfully, we all play a role – from teachers to parents to community members who don’t have children in schools. We can agree that our schools need to be fully funded, which means that teachers earn a fair salary and have the resources needed to help children, and doing this will require some difficult decisions. But more than that, we need the city behind us, supporting those services that have a direct impact on our children and our communities, like transportation, access to city services, strong libraries, and community centers. Clemmons will lead this charge.
Citizens see business booming and increased tourism. We see the shiny new buildings and expensive apartments being built. We know money is flowing in, but it hasn’t been accessible to fund the public services needed to keep our city running. As more residents realize that having a big event come here means more to city leaders than the people who live in and serve this city we love, more people are getting angry. We need a leader who understands the balance between how to handle growth while preserving all the things we love about Nashville. Clemmons is that leader.
Teachers are running out of patience for the support we need to be successful in teaching our city’s children. We are tired of empty words, support but no action, and it is time for true change to occur. This city council has had two years of stalled efforts to begin the process of fully funding our schools. We know it won’t happen overnight or even in one fiscal year, but that process has again failed to even begin! We are sick of it.
Nashville can’t continue to go down this road where its citizens do not feel respected. We have a lot of love for our city, and we want better for its future.
Join us on Saturday, July 13 from 1-3 PM at 3rd and Lindsley for a rally and then early voting. We need John Ray Clemmons as the mayor of Nashville. The very soul of our city is at stake.
Mary Holden, MNPS teacher and parent
Theresa Wagner, MNPS teacher
Amanda Kail, MNPS teacher
Michele Sheriff, MNPS teacher
Katherine Green, MNPS teacher
Erick Huth, MNPS teacher
Lyn Hoyt, MNPS parent
Kristin Dillard, MNPS parent
Amy Ryan, MNPS teacher
Beth Joslin Roth, MNPS parent
Anna Shepherd, MNPS grandparent and school board member
Jessica Sullivan, MNPS teacher
Lynne McDonald, MNPS teacher
Stephanie Montenegro, MNPS parent and parent outreach translator
Jen Simon, MNPS speech-language pathologist
Jodi Sheffield, MNPS teacher
Julie Kuchinski-Elliott, MNPS teacher
Samuel Elliott, MNPS paraprofessional
Shiloh Burns, MNPS teacher
Paige La Grone Babcock, MNPS teacher, parent, and teacher spouse
Eric Babcock, MNPS teacher, parent, and teacher spouse
Sharon Osborne, MNPS teacher
Patricia Wolford, MNPS teacher
Elizabeth Kyle, MNPS teacher
Sara Morrison, MNPS teacher
Michelle Bell, MNPS school psychologist
Ashley Morrow, MNPS teacher
Zerlinda Jessee, MNPS teacher and parent
Amy Flatt, MNPS teacher
Kimberley Jones, MNPS teacher
Carrie Danaher, MNPS teacher
Cami Weber, MNPS teacher
Alyssa James, MNPS teacher
Jennifer Kimball, retired MNPS teacher
Cindy Kleinrock, MNPS teacher
Debra Perry, MNPS teacher
Jessica Gleadall, MNPS teacher
Sherrie Martin, MNPS teacher
Terah Pring, MNPS teacher
Denise Sloan, MNPS teacher
Charlene Culbertson, MNPS teacher
Kristine Harrison, MNPS teacher and parent
Lisa Waynick, MNPS teacher
April Reynolds, MNPS teacher
Katie Karijolich, MNPS occupational therapist
Kelly Phipps, MNPS occupational therapist
Ann Lemon, MNPS teacher
Cindy Greer, MNPS teacher and parent
Jordan Chitwood, MNPS teacher
Jennifer Neal, MNPS teacher and parent
Abby Greenwood, MNPS teacher
April Lazarus, MNPS teacher
Kimberly Follis, MNPS teacher
Tara Johnson, MNPS counselor and parent
Mychelle MacKay, MNPS teacher
Briana Harris, MNPS teacher
Greg Smedley-Warren, MNPS teacher
Connie Hoover, MNPS teacher
Kevin Blades, MNPS teacher
Rene Jordan, MNPS teacher
Viki Cauthen, MNPS support staff
Lauren Fredericksen, MNPS teacher
Helen Conlee McMackin, retired MNPS teacher and grandparent
Janet Coke, MNPS teacher
Denielle Helton, MNPS teacher
Elizabeth Metts, MNPS teacher
Susan Saar, MNPS teacher and parent
Carol Burden, MNPS teacher and parent
Tamara Baxt Clemmons, MNPS parent
Rebecca Hickey, MNPS support staff
Ginny Cox, MNPS teacher
Patricia Miller, MNPS social worker
Jolie Cox, MNPS alumna
Sally Worsham, MNPS teacher and parent
Amanda Mgbodille, MNPS substitute teacher and parent
Chelsea Mangrum, MNPS teacher
Kristin Petrony, MNPS teacher and parent
Lillian Boeskool, MNPS substitute teacher and parent
Allie Sebastian, MNPS teacher
Camilla Spadafino, MNPS teacher
Mary Jo Tewes Cramb, MNPS teacher and parent
Abigail Tylor, MNPS parent and former teacher
Julie Trudel, MNPS teacher
Deborah Taliaferro, retired MNPS teacher
Aimee Hall, MNPS teacher
Amanda Baker, MNPS teacher and parent
Ashley King, MNPS parent
Julie Crowe, MNPS teacher and parent
Susan Norwood, MNPS teacher and grandparent
Cynthia Jones, MNPS teacher
Lisa Mingrone, MNPS parent
Rebecca Spencer, MNPS parent
Cecilia Bragg, MNPS support staff and parent
Coreen Havron, MNPS parent
Amanda Garner, MNPS parent
Jennifer Burnell, MNPS teacher and parent
Jeanne Harnishfeger Rowan, MNPS teacher
Eileen Hernandez, MNPS counselor and parent
Melissa Butler, MNPS parent
Brett Rackoff, MNPS teacher and parent
Genny Petschulat, MNPS teacher
Jennifer Broeder, MNPS teacher
Santana Clardy, MNPS paraprofessional and parent
Jayne Riand, MNPS teacher and parent
Julie Young, MNPS teacher
Kay Beard, MNPS teacher
Emily Bryan, MNPS teacher
Lynn Buchanan, MNPS grandparent
Becky Gore, MNPS parent and former paraprofessional
Logan Kelton, MNPS teacher
Alexandra Powell, MNPS teacher and parent
Brenda Lee Peery, MNPS teacher
Megan Baker, MNPS teacher and parent
Lauren Lane, MNPS teacher and parent
Carl Lane, MNPS teacher and parent
Pat Sanders, MNPS teacher
Patrick Flannery-Reilly, MNPS teacher
Kristi Bowling, MNPS teacher and parent
Codi Cummings, MNPS teacher
Kristin McLaughlin, MNPS teacher
Elizabeth Morton, MNPS teacher
Nicole Motzny, MNPS parent
Jessica Jarrett, MNPS teacher and parent
Rachel Roddick, MNPS parent
Chris Moth, MNPS parent
Lindsay Fa, MNPS parent
Brooke Hall, MNPS teacher and parent
Carol Bapty, MNPS parent
Donna Harris, MNPS teacher
Fran Clarke, retired MNPS teacher and parent
Keith Wilson, MNPS teacher
Christine Pulle, MNPS parent
Laureen Greathouse, MNPS teacher
Carrie Fanning, MNPS teacher and parent
Y’all, we can change things for the better. We can reclaim the soul of this great city.
BUT WE HAVE GOT TO VOTE!
Let’s make it happen.