NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — One by one, fed up parents looked Dr. Shawn Joseph in the face and said they wanted him to step down Tuesday night. It’s a boiling point for criticism that's been brewing for some time.
“This is all part of something that’s been building for a number of months, a number of years and unfortunately, it’s going to continue to build because we’re just not getting the results that we should be getting,” said longtime critic T.C. Weber.
Weber is an education blogger. His wife is a Metro teacher and his kids are in Metro Schools. He, along with other critics, blame poor teacher morale, failing test scores and teachers not getting their raises on what they call poor leadership by Dr. Joseph.
“We’re in a pretty serious time, and I think parents and some teachers are starting to see it,” said Weber.
Dr. Joseph disagrees.
“You ask teachers and they’ll let you know. I support them and continue to do so. We’re going to keep working hard to make Nashville Metro Schools move forward,” said Dr. Joseph.
Dr. Joseph admits, things aren’t perfect in Metro Schools but says under his leadership, there has been significant progress in overall school performance, reading and ACT scores. Supporters like Pastor Soneye Dixon, who volunteers in Metro Schools and put his kids through the system, say Dr. Joseph never had a chance to succeed and prove he could do the job..
“I think he walked into a very difficult circumstance that he may not have realized how truly how difficult it was. Whether we keep him or let him go, it’s not going to solve the issues that we have,” said Dixon.
Supporters and critics admit the state of Metro Schools wasn’t ideal when Dr. Joseph started but say enough wasn’t done.
“I’m not going to say that he inherited the perfect system, but I would counter that argument by saying what have you done with it since,” questioned Weber.
Dr. Joseph tells FOX 17 News he plans to remain on the job and welcomes those who have input.
“I’m very appreciative that parents care enough to come out, and I encourage families to continue to come out for the good, bad and indifferent. We’re going to hear about it,” said Dr. Joseph.
His contract is up for renewal in June. It is up to the school board to renew it.