The following is an email from the Tupelo TEA Party. It appears they have become tired of watching public school administrators using school resources to fight charter schools, and they are standing up to fight it:
Superintendent Lobbies Against Charter Schools
For years Mississippi parents have wanted more options when it comes to our children’s education and School Choice. Finally, we have new leadership in Jackson willing to listen. Charter Schools look to become a reality. Many good teachers and good students struggle as they are locked into a poor performing public school system. Charter Schools provide another option for parents to choose.
Unfortunately, many opponents of School Choice seem to think they know better than the parents whats best for their kids. Among these elitist who are against Parent’s Choice you will often find a biased media, teachers unions and occasionally public school administrators. More often than not, it’s an issue about Power and Money rather than what’s in the best interest for the parent and child. Regardless of ones position on charter schools there is a time and place for that debate. This leads us to a question of ethics. How involved should public school superintendents be in trying to stop school choice and is it alright for them to use school resources to do it?
Jimmy Weeks, Superintendent of Lee County Schools appears to have forgotten his job description. His latest efforts have been to lobby against Parent’s Choice. Rather than use his executive oversight and administration rights to focus on better public schools he instead spends his time trying to stop charter schools. As you will see, he and other school administrators appear to be spending school hours on school computers using school stationary, printers, and other resources in an effort to stop charter schools and limit parent choice. All on the taxpayer dollar it seems. We were given emails that tell the story. Please take notice of the dialogue between administrators, the times emails were sent, the email addresses, what was in the letter, who the memos were ultimately going to and for what purpose. When connecting the dots you will see Superintendent Jimmy Weeks tell Chief Academic Officer, Amy Mask to ask all principals to make copies of his letter to give to teachers for their students to then pass on to their parents. The purpose? To put his negative scare tactic spin on charter schools then ask parents to contact local state legislators in an effort to stop the creation of charter schools. He even gives a list of State Senators and House Representatives with emails and phone numbers including cell and home numbers.
In some states this activity is illegal (we are researching Ms. law regarding this) and in any state it certainly appears it would be considered unethical.
Mississippi Taxpayers Deserve Better!
After reviewing the facts lets hold these school administrators accountable. If you find this behavior unacceptable join us in a call to action.
Here is the evidence of the exchange:
From: Kathy Mask
Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2012 1:41 PM
To: Elementary Principals; Middle School Principals; High School Principals
Cc: Jimmy Weeks; Kathy Mask
Subject: Parent Letter concerning possible charter schools
Mr. Weeks has asked that you make copies of the attached parent letter and send them home with your students tomorrow. Thank you,
Chief Academic Officer
Lee County Schools
1280 College View Drive
From: Craig Cherry
Sent: Friday, February 24, 2012 7:19 AM
I will try to get copies of this letter out to you this morning to pass this out to your first period classes.
To the Parents of Lee County School Students,
I just wanted to send you some information concerning the issue of charter schools, with which the state legislature is currently dealing and what it will mean to Lee County.
The Senate took up the first round of charter school legislation and it passed it this week. The House will be taking it up soon although I do not know exactly when. In its current form, the charter schools bill provides for charter schools to be established in districts that are At-Risk, Low-Performing, or Successful. Lee County is a Successful school district so if this legislation passes in it’s current form, we could see the creation of charter schools in Lee County.
What does this mean to you? In short, you will see tax dollars going to fund an optional school that your child may or may not be able to attend. In these charter schools, teachers and administrators will not be able to attend. In these charter schools, teachers and administrators will not fall under the same certification requirements that are required of public school teachers and administrators. Currently, public schools operate under many regulations and guidelines that charter schools will not be held accountable for. I believe if public schools were allowed to operate under such relaxed guidelines, we would eliminate the belief that there is a need for charter schools.
Listed below are the contact numbers for our local state legislators. Please contact them and urge them to vote against legislation supporting the creation of charter schools.
Jimmy Weeks, Superintendent
Lee County Schools
NOTE: We left off Mr. Weeks list due to the fact he had home and cell numbers on certain legislatures. We will however include that same list without the personal numbers but for a different reason. We ask that you contact them to urge them to support charter schools and thank them for trusting the parents when it comes to school choice.
We also will include Jimmy Weeks and the other two administrators contact information so you can give them your thoughts on lobbying against school choice during school hours.
Let Jimmy Weeks and the other two administrators know how you feel about their lobbying efforts against charter schools. Let’s all please be respectful when stating our complaints.
Mr. Jimmy Weeks, Superintendent
Kathy Mask, Chief Academic Officer
Craig Cherry, Principal at Mooreville High School
Let Senator Collins know how much you appreciate her and her hard work in promoting charter schools.
Senator Nancy Collins 601-359-3226 firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank Randy Boyd 601-359-2435 email@example.com
Thank Brian Aldridge 601-359-2420 firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank Jerry Turner 601-359-9473 jturner@house
Position unclear on these below regarding charter schools
Hob Bryan 601-3593-3237 email@example.com
Russell Jolly 601-542-6701 firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Holland 601-359-3348 email@example.com
Often we hear of good teachers who don’t like what is happening in the public school system. They are afraid to speak out in fear of losing their job. If you are anyone you know are in this category let them know they can contact us and it will be kept confidential. We the people can and do make a difference.
Thank all of you who care enough to take the time and make an impact in our nation, our state and our communities.
Tea Party Organizers
Tupelo Tea Party