Now a county commissioner attacks UnifiEd


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – For the second time in a week, an elected official has gone pubic with strong criticism of the educational action group UnifiEd.

County commissioner Tim Boyd took part of this morning’s meeting to accuse UnifiEd of trying to influence school decisions.

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He held up their recent APEX report as he made these comments. The full report can be found here.

It was at the end of the county commission meeting that Boyd launched a scathing attack on UnifiEd, the citizen organization which has sponsored debates for school board members.

Commissioner Tim Boyd says “This report doesn’t suggest things, doesn’t recommend things, it demands things, and the word must, including the bibliography, which I read in fine print, fifty four times telling elected officials community leaders, people on this dais, that we must comply to this document.”

Those comments follow by a few days a news release and response from school board members Joe Smith and Rhonda Thurman.

“I’m offended by it. I don’t endorse it. I don’t think the people of this community endorse it.”

The acting director of UnifiEd spoke with us today but refused to discuss most points raised by both the school board members and the commissioner. She did however responded to Boyd’s comparison to New York school.

Boyd said  “Thank you, New York City. Through the inspiring organizers who facilitated that community led process for building better education.” “New York City has one of the worst performing academic records in the nation.”

UnifiEd Director Natalie Cook says “There’s a reference to New York City in the introduction to the APEX project report, because there were some methods of gaining community input that were employed during a project several years ago in New York City, to source community voice and priorities for improving public education, and we did draw on some of those methods.”

Cook told News 12 that some of those issues , including busing, have been discussed at the school board debates.