Support Letter for Director of MNPS

Sent to MNPS School Board Members via email on 3/19/2019


Members of the School Board,

I’m writing to express support for renewing the contract of Dr. Shawn Joseph, Director of Metro Schools on behalf of the over 20,000 union members and their families that belong to the Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. Dr. Joseph has restored a productive working relationship with unions that represent MNPS employees.

Too many people in Nashville seem to have forgotten what conditions were like under the previous director of Metro Schools. Labor relations between teachers, support staff, bus drivers  and the administration were extremely contentious. Dr. Register refused to negotiate memorandums of understanding with support staff, he dismantled policies that were good for labor and management, and he outsourced 700 good custodial jobs, disrupting the lives of families across the district.

The morale in Metro Schools has been a topic of recent news coverage, as it should be. However, to suggest that the morale in Metro Schools is solely at the feet of the Director ignores the chronic underfunding of system and the impact of systemic poverty in our city. The State of Tennessee funding formula gives Davidson County one of lowest allotments per student in the entire state. Despite the economic boom, our city did not fund the Metro Schools budget request last year, leaving teachers and employees with no raises or cost of living adjustments. 72% of Metro School children are affected by some level of poverty.

Dr. Joseph inherited a school system with immense challenges and we believe he is doing his best to address them, but he can only be as effective as the resources he is given.

He has taken concrete steps to repair the relationship between the administration and employees, and he respects the rights of employees to have a voice in the workplace. The members of the Central Labor Council believe he should have the opportunity to continue to implement his vision for the district, and we will continue to advocate for the funding the district desperately needs.



Vonda McDaniel


Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle TN, AFL-CIO

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