Metro Nashville Public Schools has a slate of candidates running in District 2 — one Democratic incumbent, one Republican and one Independent.
Early voting started July 15. The general election day for the seat is Aug. 4.
NewsChannel 5 sent out a questionnaire for all three candidates in this race. Only Pembroke responded and his answers are below. These answers are directly from the candidates and have not been edited for any length or clarity.
What made you want to get involved in public education?
The most influential people in my life are educators. Both of my parents retired after teaching at public schools for more than 40 years, and my wife is a former MNPS school teacher of four years. My biggest reason: I'm a dad.
As my three young daughters begin their academic journeys, with my eldest starting Kindergarten this fall at our neighborhood MNPS school, I have a vested interest in making Metro Nashville Public Schools as strong as they can be. I feel compelled to run for School Board, not as a political stepping stone, but because this is where change needs to occur in order to ensure the brightest future for our children, society, and country. I've lived in District 2 for 20 years and have deep roots in this community. I share the concerns of my friends and neighbors about the chaos and mismanagement seen in MNPS during the pandemic, but I need to do more than complain or worry. It's time to be part of the solution.
How do you anticipate Tennessee’s Education Savings Accounts will impact MNPS? Do you support such an effort?
This plan will surely lead to further decreased enrollment for students in MNPS and is not a solution to improving current public schools.
While I do believe in freedom, I do not believe in government hand-outs (just like I oppose “free college”). If this plan is enacted it at least should be equal for every student in MNPS.
Considering recent school violence nationwide, do you feel that improvements need to be made to secure Metro Schools?
Yes, however, we should not have knee-jerk reactions and analyze the pros and cons of any new implementations. Schools should not feel like a prison, but I would recommend adding SROs to every school.
Furthermore, having a K-9 unit at each school would not only act as a deterrent but could boost morale for the kids to have their own “school mascot.”
The issue of how race and racial issues should be taught in schools has been controversial. What are your thoughts on the subject?
Race should not be such a focal point, and CRT should never be allowed in public schools. The focus should be on the fundamentals of learning (science, math, ELA, civics, etc.) which is obvious our children lack per test scores.
What role should parents play in setting school policy?
It’s time for parents’ voices and concerns to be heard again and not discarded or ignored. Decisions should be made by assessing all of the input to derive the best solution. The current school board lacks a level of courtesy, respect and professionalism that needs to be restored.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing MNPS?
MNPS must reverse the current trend of declining quality of schools and overall reputation. This is done at the leadership levels to provide a better environment for teachers and students alike.
Tell our viewers why they should vote for you.
Unlike my incumbent opponent, I am NOT a career politician. I am a proven leader, businessman, and father that only wants what’s best for our children’s future. I will be the voice for the parents that have felt silenced for so long.