David Hayes Talks Education and Privatization with Teachers


I’m Steve Rogers. I am a band director and
general music teacher. I teach K through 8 up in Scott County. Hi there, my name is
Shelley Higgins, and I have been a licensed educator for over 20 years now
and spent close to 20 years in the classroom, with a regular education and
ended with special education, working with juvenile offenders and students
with learning disabilities. Yeah, it’s great to have you. Thank you. My name is
David Hayes, as you know. I’m running for City Council this year – City Council at Large
Seat B, and I want to expand my knowledge on what I can do to support
the education system here in East Tennessee and also want other people to
realize what’s going on. So I know the biggest issue, one of the biggest issues,
in the state legislature this year were vouchers. So before we get into that
whole saga, let’s talk about what vouchers are exactly and the sort of
damages and threats they pose to public schools and just public programs that, ya
know, we all adore and use. There’s only a very small segment of students who can
actually afford to go somewhere else even with a voucher. The people that
are going to have the ability to actually use the voucher and implement
it towards their school are gonna be people that are in comfortable middle
class level. The poor just are not going to be able to make use of that
because – and that’s why we have public school right? Right. People like to say: “oh,
it helps all of the students, the poorest ones, to be able to have a school
choice, but in reality, that’s not what I’ve seen because those are students who
usually don’t have transportation beyond the public school bus, so they don’t have
access to transportation to attend these private schools. Yeah, so what do you see
is the connection between education and gentrification in the city? What we’ve
seen sometimes is like a charter school will move into an area, it’ll
starve the public area communities, starve the public schools, and so people
that are the gentrified, you know, individuals moving in will just send
their kids to charter schools instead of the public schools. Like a charter school
will enable gentrification. There’s another like kind of law that’s obscure.
It’s a federal law, actually. It’s called the new market tax credit. A gentrifier
in that kind of zone area, “low-income zone areas” is what
they’ve said, can double their profit in seven years. All of that kind of goes
hand in hand with this displacing lower income, poor communities, and communities of color. Why would we be taking out
money for it to help a few that could help so much more. As a community and as
a society, we’ve all agreed that, you know, we pay taxes and part of that money
goes to public education, so everybody can have a good education. So private
schools and charter schools kind of defeat that purpose. And not
only that, this is also dynamic where in our public schools there’s an elected
school board. We have, you know, a government that’s accountable to us, right? We don’t
want an appointed school board; we want an elected school board, and we don’t
need a state school board telling local schools what they need to do. Do you
have any more suggestions for me as far as when I get on City Council? What are
the things I should be advocating for, when it comes to our public schools? What
I would love to see is an expansion of resources for the community schools. I
think we need more community school models in the city. Ultimately, is the
thing that you’re doing improving the quality of life, so that when the kid
gets out of my school or any of my colleagues’ schools, is that kid gonna go
home to a community where they can continue learning and growing? The
majority of our schools that have the highest at-risk population – every single
thing that we do with those students needs to be trauma-informed. 49%
of the impact on the kid was their home and community life. If that kid
does not have supports, if they are living in trauma, then they’re not gonna
achieve at that maximum ability that they should be and that they deserve to
be. Even a quick look at some of the discipline policies. They have some
really draconian issues in terms of their policies for behavior. Not only
does that not serve the students best interests or needs, but in my opinion it
sets up that, you know, pipeline to prison sort of
route that we really want to try and get away from. So often a community – its
identity is based around the schools that are in that community, and when you
start to pull students out of their community schools, and you send them to a
private school or the vouchers or whatever, you start to erode some of the
basic structure of that community. Well thank you so much for your time. It’s
been great to talk to you and learn from you. I’m sure that people looking at this
video will also enjoy it and learn some lessons as well, so thank you. Good luck. Yeah, David. It was so nice to talk to you. Appreciate you. Thank you for letting me have
this moment. This is great to be able to communicate this stuff. Of course. Vote for a Knoxville for All, and vote
for David Hayes. Early voting is through October 31st. And Election Day is November
5th.

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