A Conversation With Nashville School Board Member Amy Frogge
I don’t think it would be breaking news for me to confess that I’m a big fan of Jennifer Berkshire and the work she does with herEduShyster blog. She’s inspired me to want to do a series of interviews with people who work in education in Tennessee. I think these interviews will be particularly relevant based on the impact Tennessee’s educational policy has on national educational policy. Our proximity to Louisiana, the cast of characters including Kevin Huffman, Todd Dickson, Ravi Gupta, and Chris Barbic, the over investment in politics by Stand For Children, being one of the first states to win Race To The Top money – these things, along with vibrant teacher/parent advocacy groups, have placed us at the forefront of the education reform movement.
For my first interview, I chose Nashville School Board member Amy Frogge. She is a parent who first decided to run for school board in 2012 and shocked everybody by winning big, despite her opponent raising $113k. And she didn’t win by a narrow margin. Outspent 5-to-1, Frogge beat her opponent by a 2-to-1 ratio — 3,524 votes to 1,725. Over the last four years, Frogge has used her position to fight for Nashville’s public schools. She pushed back against unchecked charter school growth. She fought for expanded recess and increased funding for community schools. She sounded the warning bell about over-testing and called for better treatment of teachers. Basically, she educated us about today’s prevalent issues before we were aware they were even issues.
Needless to say, this didn’t make Frogge very popular with the reform crowd. This year, she was up for re-election and along with fellow board member Will Pinkston, became a target for the privatizers. Stand for Children, along with the charter school crowd and the Chamber of Commerce, sunk over $200k in an attempt to defeat her. She failed to receive the endorsement of either the Chamber of Commerce or the local paper. In fact, the local paper used its endorsement release to attack her. They claimed, “Frogge also has served as a disruptive force unwilling to step outside her box and has shown a pattern of being responsive and respectful only when constituents agree with her.” Unfortunately for them, her constituents disagreed, and she went on to win reelection with over 60% of the vote.
Last week, Amy Frogge and I met at the local dog park to discuss a wide range of issues. I should disclose that Ms. Frogge and I are friends and often find ourselves on the same side of issues. Here’s our conversation that morning :
Dad Gone Wild: Good morning, Amy. I’d like to point out that we’re meeting at the dog park because if I’m not mistaken, your family is not just passionate about schools, but also about rescue animals.
Amy Frogge: Good morning. We’ve rescued a lot of animals and oftentimes we are not planning to rescue them, but we end up with a lot of stray pets. Right now, we have four cats, two dogs and a hedgehog. Two of our cats, I picked up on the campaign trail. They were strays.
DGW: That’s impressive. Speaking of the campaign trail, this is the second term you just A Conversation With Nashville School Board Member Amy Frogge « Dad Gone Wild: