Category Archives: Events


Betsy DeVos Is Coming to Nashville

We wanted to update you on several events coming up in Nashville in the next few weeks. We feel as parents and teachers and public school supporters we must respond and or participate. We hope you will join us at one or all of these events.
MNEA will be showing the film “Backpack Full of Cash” at the Vanderbilt Mayborn Building – Vanderbilt University, 230 Appleton Place, Nashville, TN 37212 followed by a panel discussion with school board members Amy Frogge and Christiane Buggs as well as other panelists. This film, narrated by Matt Damon, explores the efforts underway to privatize K-12 public education.


THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 30th, 5:00 pm
Betsy DeVos is coming to Nashville, and MNEA & TEA are hosting a RALLY at the Riverfront Park by the Music City Star Train Station. DeVos will be speaking at the National Summit on Education Reform held at the Omni Hotel.


 We will gather at the Riverfront for a rally. MNEA & TEA are arranging for speakers and performing artists. After the rally, look for a march from Riverfront to the Omni around 6:30 on public sidewalks. Check for further details as more groups get involved. Join parents, teachers and public school supporters as we assemble to ask DeVos to not “DeVostate Tennessee Schools”. Here is the Facebook Event Link.…
If your organization is interested in co-hosting this DeVos action email or
Interested in some anti-DeVos rally poster art? Click Here.



ALEC not Welcome Here! Rally Organized by the Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle TN -at Cumberland River Park Thursday, December 7 at 4:30 PM – 7:30 PM

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is holding their annual Nation and States Policy conference in Nashville, TN, Dec. 6-8. ALEC’s corporate backers draft laws that hurt our communities, take money from our paychecks, defund our schools, criminalize our neighbors, dirty our environment, and intentionally weaken our democracy to keep their corporate clients wealthy. We will rally at Cumberland Park and march to the Omni Hotel, where the ALEC conference is being held. Please join us to send a strong message to our Legislators: we want a PEOPLE’s Agenda, not a Corporate Agenda!! Click for facebook event info.…


WHAT NEXT? We can rally and march for public education. But, what actions can we take NOW to make our public schools great and protect them and our children from DeVos takeover? Look for plans to gather, learn and take positive steps to understand how public education needs you to survive the attack and fleecing from privatization. Stay tuned. Sign up for TREE email alerts.…
You can also sign up for text messaging from Defend Public Ed TN to get immediate updates on actions. Text @defendp to the number 81010. You’ll receive a welcome text from the Remind texting service. If anyone has trouble with 81010, you can try texting @defendp to (941) 900-3867.

110th Tennessee General Assembly And the DeVos Era

The 110th Tennessee General Assembly is underway in Nashville and, yes, Betsy DeVos is our new Federal Secretary of Education. Please, we need your voice now more than ever to stop the DeVos-style attacks on our public schools. Your amazing action needs to go local!

Make note if your representative is on an education committee. If you see your representative on this list or if they are sponsoring a bill, you will be a big help reaching out directly to your representative and explaining how bills can impact your children and/or your classroom.
Education Administration and Planning (**Sub-committee)
Harry Brooks, Chair
Eddie Smith, Vice-Chair **

Education Instruction and Programs
Harry Brooks
Roger Kane ** sub committee chair

Two big voucher proposals have already been filed this year, to divert public money away from public schools. The first is SB161/HB126 Kelsey/H.Brooks, which targets Shelby County Schools. The second is HB 336, essentially a rehash of the voucher legislation that was stalled last year. More specifics on these proposals will be coming soon, but the bottom line remains the same – Voucher schemes reduce the funding for public schools that serve our most vulnerable children, are proven not to increase student achievement, and open the door to various types of scams and fraud. Vouchers have been stopped in Tennessee before, we can stop them again!

A new state accountability system, that assigns schools a letter grade from A through F, is planned next school year based on this year’s test scores. This type of over-simplistic rating system only reinforces a myopic obsession with test scores to fuel the “failing schools” narrative. Several school systems are already taking issue with this new law passed last year. Collierville Williamson County Ripley Knox County Schools

House Finance Chair Charles Sargent and Governor Haslam will each be putting forth legislation that aims to increase school funding. A close look at these proposals will be coming soon.

Our Anti-Voucher Day on the Hill went well this Tuesday. Thank you to those who stopped by and took the time to say no to draining public school funds through vouchers. Still want to help? Download our talking points and use them to write a letter, send an email or make a phone call. TREE VoucherTalkpoints2017

Take Action! Download.


Thank you Metro Nashville Education Association (MNEA) and Statewide Organizing for Community Empowerment (SOCM) for teaming up to host the screening of the movie “STANDARDIZED Lies, Money & Civil Rights: How Testing Is Ruining Education”. The movie ended with a panel discussion. Watch the trailer and find out more. We plan on partnering again for more documentary screenings on education reform. Stay tuned.

PLEASE SUPPORT OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS in 2017. They Need You Now More Than Ever. You make a difference when you speak out, share information and show you care about our public schools. Get ready to make a lot of phone calls and send a lot of letters and emails. Let’s support for our children. Thank you.

TREE, CAPE & SOCM to HOST Discipline Panel Nov 17th

The panel will discuss the discipline practices of no-excuses versus restorative justice methods. CLICK ON THE FLYER AND MEET OUR PANEL!

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge


Nashville, TN – November 3, 2015 — Public school discipline in Nashville is a topic of discussion among parents, city leaders and educators in MNPS. What is the best way to keep children on task and learning in the classroom? What can reduce suspension rates and drop out rates?

There are two methods at work in MNPS and in local charter schools. One is a very strict approach called “No-Excuses Discipline”, lauded for results that improve classroom control. But, is criticized for an oppressive approach to zero-tolerance and punitive measures. The other method is restorative justice that works to lower rates of suspension and expulsion and to foster positive school climates with the goal of eliminating racially disproportionate discipline practices and the resulting push-out of students into the prison pipeline. Both methods are used in charters and in MNPS.

“We are pleased to bring together advocates locally and from across the country to discuss different discipline efforts we are seeing in MNPS.” says Lyn Hoyt, president of TREE. “As a community we need to understand what is working and what is not. We hope this panel can share stories and methods to better refine the social emotional growth of our children.”

National experts on charter school discipline, along with local parents and teachers who have experienced no-excuses and restorative justice school environments will make up the panel set to convene November 17th at Margaret Allen Middle School, 500 Spence Lane in Nashville at 6:30 pm.

Joining the panel is a Chicago area native Ramon M. Gri­ffin, a third-year Ph.D student in K-12 Educational Administration at Michigan State University. His research interests include urban education, urban community engagement and the intersection between trauma exposure, PTSD and discipline policies in no-excuses charter school culture.

From the Annenberg Standards: ” Community-based groups have fought for, and in many cases won, new district-wide discipline policies that focus on restorative practices, eliminate or reduce the role of police in schools, and end out-of-school suspension. But most of these new discipline policies apply only to traditional public schools. Charter schools in most states are free to design their own protocols for student discipline. Increasingly, community-based and youth organizing groups are expanding their campaigns for just and fair discipline policies to include charter schools.”

Middle Tennessee Coalition Advocating for Public Education (CAPE) is a regional coalition that organizes actions advocating for public education.

Tennesseans Reclaiming Educational Excellence (TREE) is a state-wide volunteer advocacy organization rooted in fighting for strong, equitable public education and is committed to growing child-centered education policy.

Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment (SOCM) is a member-run organization that encourages civic involvement and collective action so that the people of Tennessee have a greater voice in determining their future. We have been working for social, economic, and environmental justice in Tennessee for more than 40 years.


Join TREE for a Screening of the Movie “Education Inc.”


Nashville community invited to Education Inc. screening and discussion
Film highlights corporate takeover of community schools

Students, parents, teachers, and public education advocates are gathering Tuesday, Sept. 1, for a screening and discussion on the trend of corporate takeovers of American public schools examined in the documentary Education, Inc. Screening of the film begins at 6:00 p.m. followed by a panel discussion at Vanderbilt Wilson Hall 103, located at the intersection of Terrace Place and 21st Ave. S. (Metered parking is available around the building.)

Panelists include Nashville School Board member Will Pinkston, Nashville Schools teacher Amanda Kail, and Nashville Schools parent Chelle Baldwin.  Several groups from Tennessee have come together to sponsor the event:  Tennesseans Reclaiming Educational Excellence, Metro Nashville Education Association, Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment, Vanderbilt Students of Nonviolence, and Vanderbilt Students Engaging in Education Dialogue (SEED).

“As public schools nationwide struggle for funding, complicated by the impact of poverty and politics, corporate reformers see opportunity to take away local control of our community schools,” said Lyn Hoyt, president of Tennesseans Reclaiming Education Excellence (TREE). “It’s important we stop and take a look at what’s happening here in Tennessee.”

Education, Inc. was produced by documentary filmmakers and public school parents Brian and Cindy Malone. The Malones made the film to inform and engage local communities across the country. They have made the film available for house parties and community screenings by simply purchasing a DVD. Their hope is that students, parents, citizens, and public school advocacy groups will use the film to help start an important conversation about the role and value of public education in America.

Please join us.

For questions contact Anne Marie Farmer, 615-295-8733,


Join Us on the Hill Against School Vouchers


Join us at the Tennessee State capitol, Legislative plaza Tuesday March 3rd for a “Day on the Hill Against School Vouchers”. Come help us take action!

Here are the current voucher bills in committee: HB0210/SB0122 and HB1049/SB0999

We encourage you to make appointments with your elected officials now to share your concerns over this destructive legislation. Find their contact info here.  They are always very open to hearing from constituents.

At our booth you will find flyers with talking points and an opportunity to craft your message to share with your lawmakers in writing. If you are not able to get an appointment or speak to anyone at the general assembly, come to the TREE booth and we will make sure your voice is heard. We will be joined by other citizen activists from other groups opposing vouchers.

Go right, down the hall, from the security check-in. You will find our table and many others. Our booth will be open from 10am till 2pm.

If you are unable to join us in Nashville, please take the time to thoughtfully email or call your elected officials and tell them you do not want private school vouchers in Tennessee. Remind them that research consistently shows vouchers do NOT increase student achievement. Let them know that our public schools are already stretched thin, and we cannot afford to take money AWAY from our public schools at a time when our schools are asked to do more and more. Find your legislators’ email addresses and phone numbers here.

Former State Representative Gloria Johnson has started a petition against school vouchers.


You can read more on the TREE Facebook. Please join us. We will be giving away our round “No School Vouchers” sticker shown above at our booth.