The leader of the new conservative group, Hamilton Flourishing, said it is paying for a "scholarly" analysis of TVAAS (Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System) tests that were celebrated by Supt. Bryan Johnson.
Doug Daughtery, director of Hamilton Flourishing, told members of the Pachyderm Club that Dr. Johnson had celebrated gains by several schools with a press conference in front of the Aquarium where banners were unfurled one at a time.
Mr. Daughtery said, "These tests have been controversial all over the country. There is a company that has the algorithms and controls the outcomes of these tests."
He said the tests do not deal with student proficiency, but with learning gains.
Mr. Daughtery said the group plans to move from a 501-C(3) to a 501-C(4) organization so that it can become more involved in political races. A Hamilton PAC has also been formed.
He said one race Hamilton Flourishing will target involves four open County School Board seats. He indicates the group favors the return of Rhonda Thurman, but "will focus on two or maybe three" of the open posts.
He said it will also work to come up with a "voter guides" extending to the municipal elections. He said, "We plan to get more involved politically. We hope to roll back on the leftward movement." He said 65-70 percent of local residents have conservative beliefs, but he said there has been a shift on the School Board and County Commission away from that.
The speaker said the group UnifiEd was able to push Joe Graham and Greg Beck off the County Commission and replace them with David Sharpe and Katherlyn Geter.
He said it is forming a "letter writing group" that will send letters to the editor from a conservative view point.
Mr. Daughtery said Hamilton Flourishing is forming a Citizens Council for the Public Schools that will come up with several "markers" that include the cost per student, the graduation rate and the third grade reading level.
He said the group is producing a mini documentary on single mothers in Chattanooga as well as working on a study of "equity." There are lectures every third Tuesday at the Public Library that are shown on Facebook Live as well as weekly audio blogs.
Hamilton Flourishing is sponsoring an eighth grade civics essay contest. He said thousands of entries are expected. The winner at each school will get $75, and the overall winner will receive $300. The topic is one of the bill of rights.
He said Hamilton Flourishing was involved in the effort to convince the County Commission not to approve a 34-cent property tax increase.