By Rosetta Miller Perry,
School Board Members Amy Frogge and Jill Speering like to play to the cameras each week during Board of Education meetings. They constantly spout out policy to hide behind their nastiness and justify their unprofessional behavior and ridiculous attempts to discredit the Director of Schools, Dr. Shawn Joseph. But the irony is that when it comes to adhering to board policies, the two have failed to practice what they preach.
Many people may be unaware that the School Board has quite a few policies of its own that dictates how school business is conducted and the responsibilities around governance concerning the behavior of Board members. For example, according to School Board Policy 1.101-Role of the Board of Education, it states, “The board shall exercise its power through the enactment of policies for the organization and operation of the school system. The board shall delegate the administration of the schools to the director of schools.” So, what does this mean? It means Board members should refrain from interfering in the day-to-day operations of the school system, which is the direct purview of the Director of Schools.
Frogge and Speering’s behavior has taken on the appearance of a disgraceful reality show – struggling for ratings, high in poor taste, and lacking any semblance of class. Like the elements found in many reality shows, Frogge spews negative narratives about administration officials without facts, shares anonymous and baseless rumors, and makes obscure accusations and statements at Board meetings based on random conversations she says she has had with select employees.
Speering, who is a former Reading Recovery teacher, continues to advocate for the Reading Recovery Program, in which the Board voted 7-2 to eliminate in this past budget cycle. Even after evidence from multiple independent studies of the program showed that it did not provide sustainable results for Metro Schools, and despite carrying a multi-million-dollar price tag for the district, she is determined to hold on always citing it as her life’s work rather than what actually worked for students.
Then there is Board Policy 1.1061-Boardmanship Code of Ethics. This is also a policy that Frogge and Speering refuse to follow. In Article I, Section 1, titled “My Relations to the Children,” states that Board members will “at all times think in terms of ‘children first,’ always determining how my actions and decisions will affect the education and training of children.” Further in Article II, Section 2, “My Relations with the Community,” states, “I will represent at all times the entire community and refuse to represent special interests or partisan politics.” The two were the lone Board members who failed to vote in favor of a budget last year that requested funds to support teacher raises, professional development, and additional money for special education and English Language learners. Instead they decided to play politics. This action clearly did not put ‘children first.’
Another blatant violation can be seen in Article III, Section 3, of School Board Policy 1.1061-Boardsman Code of Ethics. It reads, “I will not criticize employees publicly but will make such criticism to the Director of Schools for investigation and action, if necessary.” Anyone who has ever viewed Frogge and Speering’s social media posts, find they continue to overtly disrespect MNPS’ administration instead of working through the appropriate committee structures and with Board leadership to address issues. In a recent social media rant by Frogge, she compared Dr. Joseph’s salary to former director Dr. Jesse Register’s salary leaving out Register’s benefits but including Joseph’s to try and make it look as though his salary was astronomically more than Register’s. The truth of the matter is bringing up salaries on social media as an issue is not only tacky, but irresponsible and quite unprofessional.
Frogge and Speering’s hypocrisy must be publicly addressed. If School Board members are going to demand accountability from MNPS administrators, then demonstrating accountability in their own behavior in accordance to Board policies, is where they need to start. It is time to flip the channel on this despicable reality show and turn back to what is in the best interest of children.