Middle Tennessee mayor calls for education commissioner to resign

Education

MAURY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Middle Tennessee county mayor is calling for the resignation of state education commissioner Dr. Penny Schwinn, who has faced questions from lawmakers while maintaining support from Republican Governor Bill Lee who appointed her to the position.

“She’s making a mockery of education in Tennessee and it’s time to find someone who really represents Tennessee values,” Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles told News 2.

Ogles said he lost faith in education Commissioner Schwinn when her department rolled out its “wellbeing child checks.”

“With the well-being liaisons where every child 0-to-18 [years old] would be interviewed without their parent and really that was the first strike if you will,” Ogles said.

An education department spokesperson said Wednesday “the toolkit for the wellbeing checks has been removed from its website and there is no timeline for updating or replacing it.”

The latest question is why an education department dashboard tracking school COVID-19 cases was delayed, but the dashboard went live Wednesday afternoon.

Commissioner Schwinn has been criticized in the past by lawmakers not strongly supporting Governor Lee’s voucher program and not making enough progress in reading deficiencies for certain grade levels.

Education commissioners typically take a lot of heat from parents, school superintendents, and lawmakers, but one top legislative leader privately said it’s not about who the commissioner is, but whether or not policies are being carried out.

The education commissioner will likely face that question and a lot more next week when she is scheduled to appear before a House committee Tuesday.

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