City employees can trade work hours for time in schools

Wednesday, February 3, 2010 at 11:56am

Playing his part as the “education mayor,” Karl Dean signed an executive order this morning establishing a new program that allows Metro employees to volunteer in Metro schools during the workweek.

At a press conference this morning at Warner Enhanced Option School in East Nashville, Dean outlined the specifics of a plan that gives government employees the opportunity to receive up to two hours of paid administrative leave in exchange for one hour of volunteer work. The event marked Dean’s 37th executive order over more than two years as mayor.

“Research has shown that when students are paired up with volunteer tutors or mentors, they are more likely to improve their grades, be more engaged in school, and most importantly, graduate from high school,” Dean told a classroom of educators.

All volunteers under the new program, coordinated by the nonprofit PENCIL Foundation and the Mayor’s Office of Children and Youth, will in the short-term work at 10 participating schools, where activities could include tutoring and various beautification projects. As the initiative evolves, the list of schools is expected to grow.

“The volunteer opportunities for Metro employees are many and vary,” Dean said. “I feel certain that Metro employees will have a passion of giving and will find a place where their talents and knowledge can benefit our schools.”

Though not directly part of the new program, Dean also encouraged employers of private businesses to create their own unique policies to allow employees to spend time in Metro schools.

“I appreciate the mayor taking this approach,” said Director of Schools Jesse Register. “Volunteerism really does work. It can be very effective. When employers give their employees an opportunity to do this as a part of their work week, it can really make a significant difference.”

Besides Warner, other participating schools are:

Dan Mills Elementary School

John Early Elementary School

Cane Ridge Elementary School

Dodson Elementary School

East Literature Magnet School

J.T. Moore Middle School

LEAD Academy

Madison Middle School

McGavock High School

Wharton Elementary School  

5 Comments on this post:

By: house_of_pain on 2/4/10 at 7:38

If they receive paid administrative leave as compensation, it's not exactly "volunteering".

By: Sumsrent on 2/4/10 at 11:59

Notice that the article calls the employees... "government employees" instead of city/metro employees, now...

"Dean outlined the specifics of a plan that gives government employees the opportunity to receive up to two hours of paid administrative leave in exchange for one hour of volunteer work."

What a nice way to double a salary without doing any work!

Two for one... what an incentive to avoid work. A government worker can skip their own job and go play school. I would imagine that there will be a shortage of government workers soon. All the government workers will be getting double pay to avoid their own jobs. What a deal!

What government worker wouldn't sign up as a participant of this so called volunteer program?

Double the pay! Does this include travel time? Mileage? How do we know that they're recording time accurately... the old honor system? Who covers the insurance liability for these volunteers, or injuries, when their own department is paying them? Doesn't any of this break any labor laws? Doesn't any of this break school rules and security?

Is there something wrong with this picture?

Do we even need to discuss how this shows the failure of the school systems?

Do we even need to discuss how our leaders have no skills in problem identification and developing proper solutions?

Anyone else want to debate how government wastes money?

Anyone else want to debate how us peon tax payers support the protection of government employee jobs?

By: sidneyames on 2/4/10 at 12:45

By: house_of_pain on 2/4/10 at 6:38
If they receive paid administrative leave as compensation, it's not exactly "volunteering".

House I read the article and couldn't quite figure out what I wanted to say.

Then I read your comment: Thank you for saying it so succinctly. Volunteering is doing something without compensation.

They are getting paid for 2 hours? And volunteering 1 hour? Shouldn't that be: Volunteer 4 hours: Get paid for none?

By: sidneyames on 2/4/10 at 12:46

And Sumsrent: If you run for office, let me know. Sounds like you have an analytical mind and also some critical thinking skills which may very well be lacking at the Mayor's office.

OMG and I voted for him. Shame on me.

By: DustyU on 2/4/10 at 12:49

By: sidneyames on 2/4/10 at 11:46
OMG and I voted for him. Shame on me.

sid - exactly!!!! :)