Ramsey: “I’m from the Government and I’m Here to Help”

TN Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey is one attention seeking son of a gun. Since his elevation to the Speaker of the Senate in 2007, Ramsey has used his bully pulpit to spout off all kinds of nonsense, most of which has gone unchallenged. Yesterday, the Lt. Governor had another “event”. He declared that the Memphis City Schools should be taken over by the state.

This is a startling statement from a guy who has consistently spoken out against state government intervention in local affairs. It seems that the Lt. Governor, through this statement, has positioned himself against himself, but that shouldn’t be too surprising considering just who and what Ron Ramsey is, and what he does. Ramsey, like so many others of his ilk, believes that government should stay out of “his” business, but when it comes to “your” business, well, that’s another matter.

The truth is, Ramsey believes he can say whatever the heck he wants to with impunity. No one has ever really challenged him, either politically or otherwise, and his district, which covers Sullivan and Johnson counties, is safely Republican. Without some serious money, there really isn’t anyone in the area that can dethrone him, so he has nothing to lose by spouting off about a district that is over 500 miles away from his home.

Ramsey said a lot of things, most of which are contained in media accounts below, and much of it comes as a result of his understanding of Memphis from his perch in Nashville, which is still 200 miles away. One thing though, that he said that is simply ridiculous is that “there are more people that work (for MCS) that don’t teach than do teach”. That’s just an ignorant statement.

According to the FY 2010-11 MCS budget (p. 19) there are 12,972 full time employees in the district. Nearly 60% of those employees are teachers, almost 14% provide instructional support, 5% are “middle management” type positions (principals, counselors, etc), 6% work directly for the administration in a non-instruction role (Avery employees as well as IT and other professional support), and 16% make the food, clean and maintain the buildings and do all the stuff that has to be done for a school district that serves over 100,000 students.

So get your facts straight before you make any wild assertions about who is hired to do what Mr. Lt. Governor.

What’s more, the State Department of Education says that MCS isn’t eligible to be “taken over” by the state, so again, I’m not sure how an auctioneer from Blountville is in any way qualified to assess who, what, when how or why a school district should be administered.

Further, by advocating this “big government” solution, Ramsey has run afoul of one of the Republican Party’s greatest spokesmen, Ronald Reagan. In his first inaugural address, President Reagan said these words:

Ahh, but as we all know, “big government” is only a problem when Republicans are not in charge of said “big government” so, all bets are off.

Since I moved here in 2004 I’ve heard time and time again from locals their belief that the folks up in Nashville have a pre-disposition against the interests of Memphis. Over those seven years, I would say it’s not just Memphis but all of West Tennessee, of which Memphis makes up 1/2 of the population. Ramsey’s assertion, and the actions of the Republican led state legislature this session only serve reinforce that belief.

I would take a deeper look into the motivations of the Lt. Governor, but I fear I don’t have soap strong enough to wipe that taint off, so I’ll wait until I can get a pallet of Lava or Gojo or something.

In the mean time, Ramsey’s statements should be taken for what they are, empty political posturing by a guy who talks fast for a living.

Media Reports

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ramsey calls for state takeover of Memphis City Schools
BULLETIN: Lt. Gov. Ramsey Threatens State Takeover of MCS
Ramsey: State should run failing Memphis schools
MCS Superintendent Cash Says State Is Not Equipped To Run MCS
Ferguson on Ramsey’s MCS Comments
Ramsey Advocates State Take-over of Memphis Schools
Ramsey: State Should Run Failing Memphis Schools
Ramsey: State Should Run Failing Memphis Schools
Ramsey: State Should Run Failing Memphis Schools

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