Articles by: Blake Farmer

TV networks opted not to air President Obama's speech, so immigrants gathered to watch the announcement together. Credit: David Wright Smith

Nashville Immigrants Cheer Executive Action, Legislators Prep Legal Action

November 21, 2014 at 8:15 am

While they hoped for more, Nashville immigrants cheered President Obama’s announcement to focus deportation efforts on criminals. Legislators want Governor Bill Haslam to file suit.

Aspire is a charter school in Memphis that is part of the Achievement School District. The ASD has 23 schools for the 2014-15 school year. Five are directly run by the district. The rest are run by charter organizations. Brick Church College Prep is the only ASD school in Nashville. The rest are in Memphis. Credit: TN Photo Services

Two Nashville Schools Must Show Why They Shouldn’t Be Taken Over By The State

November 21, 2014 at 12:01 am

Two Nashville middle schools have one last chance to save themselves from state takeover.

Soldiers from the 159th CAB, 101st Airborne Division conduct joint Medevac training. Credit: John Giaquinto via DVIDS

Fort Campbell Losing Another 2,400 Soldiers In Army Downsizing

November 20, 2014 at 2:39 pm

The 159th Combat Aviation Brigade based at Fort Campbell has likely flown its final mission. The Pentagon has reportedly chosen to phase out the unit as part of a larger Army restructuring related to sequestration.

Diane Ravitch, who writes a popular education blog and teaches at New York University, met with fans following an event at Vanderbilt University Wednesday night. In attendance were teachers union officials and some Metro school board members. Credit: David Wright Smith

Diane Ravitch Cheered By Anti Education Reform Crowd In Nashville

November 20, 2014 at 5:50 am

A Nashville crowd of 400 was enthralled with education reform naysayer Diane Ravitch from the moment she was introduced by Metro school board member Amy Frogge to when she left the stage.

U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez (right) toured LetterLogic, a Nashville invoice processor, which pays employees a starting wage of $12 an hour. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Labor Secretary Beats The Drum On Minimum Wage In Nashville

November 19, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Governor Bill Haslam said this week that raising Tennessee’s minimum wage would be a non-starter in the legislature. But the U.S. Secretary of Labor believes a majority of Tennesseans would welcome such a pay hike.

Industrial hemp can look so much like marijuana, even experts say it can be difficult to tell apart. Credit: Arcatan via Flickr

Tennessee Farmers Are Stoked About Planting Hemp, But Not About Following The Rules

November 18, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Some farmers are chafing at Tennessee’s tight regulation of hemp, sounding off at a hearing on the rules held by the Agriculture Department Tuesday.

The Williamson County school board has been meeting in recent weeks to discuss Common Core and whether to pass a resolution in opposition. Credit: David Wright Smith

Tennessee School Boards Want Input On Picking Education Commissioner

November 17, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Tennessee’s school board members are hoping for a new education commissioner who might be more receptive to their views. Kevin Huffman, who announced late last week he’s stepping down, was seen – at times – as dismissive of local districts.

Governor Bill Haslam launched a review of Common Core earlier this month, and he says he really does plan to pay attention to the comments. Credit: TN Photo Services

Tennessee’s Common Core Review Yields 15,000 Comments And Counting

November 17, 2014 at 1:58 pm

In a process that began just 10 days ago, more than 15,000 comments have been submitted as part of a review of Common Core State Standards. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam says he really does intend to listen.

Nashville’s Public Schools May Have A New Expectation Of Teachers: Door-To-Door Recruiting

Nashville’s Public Schools May Have A New Expectation Of Teachers: Door-To-Door Recruiting

November 17, 2014 at 3:59 am

Taking a cue from charter schools, some of Nashville’s undercapacity traditional schools have started canvassing for students. Some teachers are embracing the marketing role, even while acknowledging its just one more unpaid duty for educators.

Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said he was brought to Tennessee to be a "change agent." He has defended Common Core standards, stayed the course on stepped-up teacher evaluations and unsuccessfully defended the state's participation in Common Core testing. Credit: TN Photo Services

Tennessee’s Lightning Rod Education Commissioner Steps Down, Citing Toll Of The Job

November 13, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Governor Bill Haslam is going to have to find a new education commissioner for his second term. Kevin Huffman, who has often found himself at the center of controversy, is calling it quits after four years.

Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, right, at the dedication of Ebola treatment unit ceremony in Tubmanburg, Liberia, on Monday. Credit: DVIDS

101st Airborne Commander Says He Shouldn’t Need Reinforcements

November 13, 2014 at 6:24 am

The commander of the 101st Airborne Division will brief family members at Fort Campbell today via video conference from Liberia. Roughly 700 soldiers from the post are helping build Ebola treatment centers.

The East Nashville Advisory Committee met in the same room where there was an uproar Sunday night, in a meeting organized by parent activists with East Nashville United. Credit: David Wright Smith

How Much Input Will An East Nashville School Overhaul Advisory Panel Get?

November 13, 2014 at 5:41 am

In its first meeting, a special advisory committee for an East Nashville school overhaul heard an update for plans from central office administrators. But community organizer John Haubenreich says he heard too much from the district.

Volkswagen's workers voted in February and narrowly rejected representation by the UAW following intense pressure from Republican politicians. Credit: VW

VW Releases Policy To Recognize Unions Without Another Election

November 12, 2014 at 8:08 am

It appears Volkswagen may recognize the United Auto Workers to represent employees in Chattanooga. The automaker has released a statement establishing what it’s calling a “Community Organization Engagement” policy.

Bridgestone Americas announced Tuesday it will build an office tower in downtown Nashville, constructing a high-rise that will be one of the tallest in the city. Credit: Highwoods Properties

Bridgestone To Bring 600 More Jobs And A New Skyscraper To Nashville

November 11, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Bridgestone Americas is not only moving from the airport area to become part of the Nashville skyline. It’s also consolidating office functions from Chicago and Indianapolis in the process, bringing 600 more jobs to the city.

Micah Miller is a retired Army medic from Murfreesboro. He's now studying to be a chemistry teacher at Lipscomb University, which has expanded scholarships for veterans and now have 200 on campus. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Recent War Vets In Tennessee Mark Veterans Day In Their Own Way

November 11, 2014 at 3:41 am

Tennessee has roughly 500,000 veterans by federal counts, and more than 10 percent of them served since 9/11. This new class of veterans is figuring out how to mark Veterans Day.

Moderator Kenny Byrd addresses Metro School Board Member Elissa Kim, who was questioned about having advance warning about a reorganization plan for East Nashville. Credit: David Smith

‘Antagonistic’ Meeting Shows Continued Mistrust In East Nashville School Overhaul

November 10, 2014 at 7:27 am

An East Nashville parent group is apologizing for the “antagonistic” tone of a meeting held Sunday night at the East Park community center.

NAEP--the National Assessment of Educational Progress--is nicknamed the Nation's Report Card. The same test is given to a sample group of 4th and 8th graders in every state. It's not the same thing as the annual standardized exams taken by all students; those are designed by the state. Past disparities between results on the state tests and NAEP were one of the factors that lead Tennessee to create a more stringent set of standards and tougher state assessments several years ago. Credit: Jason Selicksar via Flickr

Tennessee Report Card’s Comparison Tool Dovetails With School Choice Trend

November 10, 2014 at 5:36 am

The Tennessee Report Card released this month shows detailed stats on each of the state’s 1800 public schools, from racial breakdowns to reading scores. But state education officials are highlighting another key function – side-by-side comparison.

Year to date, home sales are up more than five percent from 2013 with an especially big sales jump in September. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Nashville Home Sales Continue Climb While Prices Slide In October

November 6, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Nashville area home sales continue to pick up the pace. Closings jumped 22 percent in October, according to monthly numbers out today from the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors.

Miranda Lambert wins Album of the Year for Platinum with producers Chuck Ainlay (l) and Frank Liddell. Credit: Donn Jones / CMA

Miranda Lambert’s CMA Streak Breaks Record As Luke Bryan Wins Top Award

November 6, 2014 at 6:14 am

Country music has a new queen. Miranda Lambert picked up four Country Music Association awards last night, giving the 30-year-old a total of 11 CMAs – more than any other female artist in history.

Rep. Gloria Johnson of Knoxville is a teacher by trade and led some of the resistance to Gov. Bill Haslam's reforms and became a lead spokesperson for the Tennessee Education Association. Credit: Gloria Johnson via Facebook

Tennessee’s Republican Supermajority Gets Even Bigger

November 5, 2014 at 10:46 am

Republicans picked up a few more seats in the state legislature. Knoxville teacher and Democratic state Rep. Gloria Johnson fell to challenger Eddie Smith, who got big help from the state’s Republican Party.