Accountability

September 3 at 9:37 PM

Dear JCPS,

Pardon me while I rant! The recent news that the state is lowering its standards for teacher certification, no longer requiring a Master’s Degree, has put me over the edge. Besides the feeling of cheapening my degree, and those of my colleagues, this news comes just a few months after learning (with little or no warning) that the state will require all elementary art and music teachers to be certified to teach art and music. While this may sound like a good idea on the surface, it is in reality a ridiculously, poorly thought out, unrealistic, and unnecessary burden on our schools!

Hear me out….

I am certified to teach k-5 (elementary education) reading, writing, math, science, social studies, etc., BUT, I am now….after teaching art and music at my school for 9 years….suddenly NOT certified to teach art or music!!?

So guess who is teaching art and music at my school this year, as I was forced to move to 1st grade….NOBODY!!

That’s right….my school, and several other JCPS schools, currently have substitutes filling these “VACANCIES”!!!

So my students, who were looking forward to being in Art Club, or Percussion Ensemble, or Choir, get none of that, much less an experienced art and music teacher. There are simply not enough certified art and certified music teachers in Jefferson County to fill all the positions. Also, I was not given even a year to acquire this extra piece of paper that says I can do what I’ve been doing (and doing well, by most accounts) for the last nine years.

Have I mentioned that my Bachelor’s Degree is in ART!!!??? I also have several years of music training under my belt (way more than math and science, I can say)!! So through no fault of my own, I must now figure out how to jump through all the ever-increasing paperwork hoops required of a regular classroom teacher (if the general public only knew how much time-consuming, bs, paperwork/computerwork teachers had to do….taking them away from doing things that would actually benefit students and instruction..).

Meanwhile, the classroom I was fortunate to teach art and music in for 9 years, sits empty…waiting for the next sub to show up!!

This rant is nearing its completion! While a lot of this may sound like it is just me being upset about my situation….at the root of it is MY students, and the students of other JCPS schools, as well!! They deserve better!! Rant over….for now!!

Thomas Matthew Bleuel

 

What follows next are the comments that were received on Thomas’ post.

Editor’s note:
Clearly Jefferson County Public Schools is already feeling the effects of this short-sighted Koch-orchestrated maneuver. Combined now with the new exit exam to graduate high school that will be voted on Oct. 3, the “50% of schools now at risk of failing” narrative, the shady replacement of KBE members and commissioner, the attempted takeover of the state’s largest district, and the MYRIAD other hate-filled, ignorant comments from our governor, how can anyone NOT see that these OUT-OF-STATE GRIFTERS are playing from a playbook? It’s been executed in 45 other states, just look around us! Indiana, Tennessee, Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Arizona, YOU NAME IT, they’ve tried it, and many other states are seeing the light. WHY CAN’T WE? It’s time to wake up and stop this nonsense by voting pro public education on November 6. Read our Connect the Dots article to see all of the conflicts of interest we’ve uncovered, and we’re just scratching the surface!

UPDATE: This rant was originally posted 3 weeks ago….the status is quo!! Nothing has changed, except the amount of quality art and music instructional time our students are currently missing out on due to this ridiculous turn of events!

 

 

Parents,

Do you know there are 6 junior class members that decide what vendor and price that the senior class has to pay for cap gowns? I’m upset because there are cheaper vendors. They offer school announcements, senior t-shirts, and when you purchase you can get your senior cap and gown for free. We are allowed to buy our rings from other places, why not caps and gowns?

Concerned Stakeholder at Moore High School

The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has a concern, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form.

NOTE: While the author’s identity is protected here, they are not anonymous to Dear JCPS. Any board member wishing to address the concerns shared here can contact our administrators to make a connection.

Airs Thursdays at 6:00 PM, Fridays at 3:00 PM and Saturdays at 7:00 AM. Listen live here:

It’s that time again! Time for Save Our Schools with Dear JCPS on Forward Radio 106.5 FM

Here are some of the things we will be talking about on today’s show (Sept 27, 2018).

In the studio today, we have Karin Bennett and (hopefully) Ivonne Rovira.

Our guest on the phone is Tyler Murphy. He’s running for school board in Fayette County. We will also be talking with Lassiter Middle School teacher Tiffany Dunn a little later on in the program.

Failing Schools
Principal Gerry’s WTQ video  (2:30)
Tylers video  (6:00)
About Tyler

No movement.”

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/kentucky

Opt-out movement discussion.

High School Graduation Requirements
Lewis’ article
Most recent statements (with audio)
Exit exams are not the solution
AROS opinion piece
Indiana and Tennessee examples

Oct 3 KBE will be voting on these changes

Connect the dots

Financial Forces Behind Louisville Charters

Connect the dots slides

From the Playbook Whoops he did it again! Bevin doubles down on kids in harms’ way.

In other news:
Judith Bradley drops out of school board race

What are we doing about it?
Canvassing on the issues, not candidates – Oct 4
State-wide tour last week before the election.

Upcoming Rally with Diane Ravitch
How things are coming along.
About the Speakers

https://www.salon.com/2015/09/11/jeb_bushs_charter_school_calamity_partner/

Co-sponsors and participants:
Press release

Tickets go on sale Friday.

Other upcoming events:

Thank you for joining us! A link to the program will be available on Sound Cloud later this week.

Dear JCPS,

I would like to address issues at Jeffersontown Elementary. The culture there is toxic and dysfunctional. The “adults” don’t trust each other or the administration, unless you are in the it club. The principal literally screams at parents who take questions to the board instead of asking her. Well, when you attempt to talk to the principal she NEVER looks up from her phone. She also sits out in the lobby/ main office area on Facebook or texting and ignoring parents who are coming into our building. Within the past 2 weeks we have lost our secretary and bookkeeper. I ask you with the front office completely leaving, the principal basically on her phone all day long and screaming at our parents. Why has the board not ask questions or investigated why the whole front office has had a turn over. Our attendance clerk also left over the summer due to drama.

I’m more concerned that the board is practically ignoring the fact that we’ve lost an attendance Clerk and secretary and a bookkeeper within the past 2 months. I’m also very concerned that their culture there is so toxic that the students notice that teachers don’t speak to each other and the teachers don’t trust each other. I cannot condone or survive in a toxic dysfunctional culture which is what J-Town Elementary has now become. Which is very sad considering what an amazing reputation it had in the past. We are losing students it’s due to the lack of professionalism of the main leadership in the building. I honestly believe that Dr. Hooper or any one from Central office would be appalled if they could see what the true Jtown has become not the dog and pony show they put on when the visits are scheduled. Dr.Hooper because it was his school.

I just want change. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

Sincerely,
Concerned J-Town Elementary Stakeholder

The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has a concern, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form.

NOTE: While the author’s identity is protected here, they are not anonymous to Dear JCPS. Any board member wishing to address the concerns shared here can contact our administrators to make a connection.

JCPS needs work. No doubt about it!

This is exactly why our community is taking back our district! We welcome state assistance, but we don’t need a state takeover now!

In 2015, we started speaking out against an ineffective superintendent who created a perfect storm for predatory charter schools and scholarship tax credits. We invited the community to submit anonymous letters that sparked the beginning of change in the district leadership. In 2016, we pushed to replace board members with questionable motives with community leaders who were committed to making a change in district leadership. And in 2017, we called for Hargens to resign. And she did! Two years before her contract was set to renew.

For the first time in decades, the new board selected a superintendent who is “one of us,” not another corporate shill recruited by outsiders and “education reformers” with their own agendas. Dr. Pollio understands Louisville’s complex history and challenges and has demonstrated his ability to turn things around. This time it’s different!

A state takeover at this time would undermine the progress currently under way and add yet another layer of bureaucracy to the mix. Any “deal” or compromise outside of existing KRS regulations creates an “unknown” scenario that could potentially:

• Take decision-making power away from elected board members
• Take SBDM and local decision-making ability away from schools
• Allow decisions that could resegregate our schools
• Put teachers’ contracts and pensions in further jeopardy
• Pull funding from our struggling public schools
• Pave the way for a predatory, profit-driven charter school agenda that’s been in the works for nearly a decade

Gov. Matt Bevin, newly appointed KBE Chair Hal Heiner and interim KDE Commissioner Wayne Lewis, and others, have been working behind the scenes since at least 2011 to pave the way for out-of-state investors to profit from our public schools. They’ve shown us their true intentions with our district. If we compromise with them now, they’ll keep coming back for more! Learn more about the real agenda at www.dearjcps.com/exposed.

Our JCPS board meets again this Friday night at 5:15 PM where they may vote whether to accept a compromise with the commissioner. Contact your board member, and tell them we will stand with them as they stand up for us!

The Public Has A Right to Know!
These folks in Frankfort have been working with wolves-in-sheep’s clothing in our community, pretending they want to close the achievement gaps for black and brown students. Yet, these are the same people who supported the gang violence bill and sales tax increases to fund pensions! They have resources to assist with directly aiding problems of community (homelessness, home repair, equitable housing), yet they CHOOSE NOT TO!

They have prejudices about our minority and low-income families’ struggles. Stereotypes we know are not true. They privatized prisons to make maximum profits off black and brown people and now they want to do the same for our schools, feeding the pipeline to prison even faster! This tactic is called “disaster capitalism.” Yet this is a disaster THEY created! We want JCPS to focus on educating our kids. These outsiders would rather force our district to manufacture widgets!

The entire Louisville community is finally paying attention. Now is our chance to hold district leaders accountable and expose this hidden agenda by outsiders!
This state takeover was led by folks who did not attend public schools and most of their kids never attended, either. Yet, they know how to fix our broken school system? We don’t need more of their “solutions!”

They may have denied us a hearing but that doesn’t stop us from  and see what’s going on for ourselves!

Dear JCPS,

I’m very happy to see the latest post from a Manual parent telling her story that Mayes was a bully and ruled with intimidation, reaching far beyond the African American and LGBTQ school communities. These are exactly the accounts I was referencing in my anonymous posts — LOTS OF US OUT HERE HAVE THINGS TO SAY, but we weren’t allowed to speak out for fear of retaliation.

I hope and pray that JCPS will not allow someone else like this to ever lead a school. Were it not for those brave students who recorded him on tape, there never would have been an investigation in the first place. We would all have continued to live under the authoritarian rule of Mayes with no voices to be heard. The District must listen to students, parents, staff, alums, – EVERYONE – and take us seriously when we have important and legitimate concerns. Therefore, JCPS must learn from this mistake and put in place a system to allow for scared (and anonymous) constituents to blow the whistle on corruption within our schools without the fear of retaliation. When we SEE SOMETHING, we must have a way to SAY SOMETHING. JCPS must put a system in place and let all of us know how to report the misdeeds of school administrations. Give us a phone number of an ombudsman or other designated official, and give us the promise of anonymity. The District owes all of us this, so this sort of improper leadership never happens again. Mayes got away with his nonsense for 5 long years and that is unacceptable.

Concerned Manual Parent

The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has a concern, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form

NOTE: While the author’s identity is protected here, they are not anonymous to Dear JCPS. Any board member wishing to address the concerns shared here can contact our administrators to make a connection.

Dear JCPS,

Thank you for your continued support of Dr. Pollio’s wise decision to remove Jerry Mayes from his former position as DuPont Manual’s principal. My child is a current Manual student and was subjected to Mayes’ practice of pulling students out classes to settle issues via intimidation. My child’s experience shows that at times Mayes’ use of these tactics extended beyond racial minorities and students who are LGBT, as my child is of Caucasian decent and doesn’t identify as any of these groups.

In my child’s second year at Manual, my child and another student were the targets of bullying by two other students. This had been reported to one of the Assistant Principals, and he was working diligently to resolve the situation and was maintaining excellent communication about the process with my child and me. For unknown reasons Mr. Mayes involved himself in the situation. His response was to pull all 4 students out of class for a group conference, forcing my child to discuss the situation in front of those who were the alleged bullies. His responses in this meeting clearly indicating that he wasn’t aware of everything that had been reported, wasn’t really interested in hearing any of these 4 students’ accounts of the events, but instead to give a lengthy pontification of his own views and experiences, a large number of which were totally irrelevant to the current issue. After an hour of this, he culminated the meeting by pulling out a stack of school transfer papers and telling these students that these forms could be completed right then if they couldn’t behave and that there were plenty of others students in JCPS who would love to have their spots at Manual.

He never communicated any of this to me, and when I sent him an email expressing my displeasure with how this was handled, he called me and basically said that he understood the situation and that he knew how to handle these matters and that he expected no further issues. I did not appreciate his response of blaming the victim, nor did I appreciate him pulling my child out of a science class that my child was having trouble with for an hour, especially not when it was a week before the final exam and the teacher was reviewing material for the test.

In three years as a Manual student, this is the one and only interaction my child had with Mr. Mayes. I highly doubt he would even recognize my child’s name or face now. But yet he felt that he understood what was going on well enough with my child to threaten a transfer during their very first interaction. It was very, very troubling to me, and the fact that Mr. Mayes remained in charge of Manual for the school year after all of the troubling allegations were made public was even more troubling. My child and I are very relieved and grateful that Senior year will be free of Mr. Mayes ‘leadership by intimidation. Yet even after everything that has happened, I’m still unwilling to tell this story publicly for fear of retaliation against my child.

Manual Parent

The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has a concern, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form

NOTE: While the author’s identity is protected here, they are not anonymous to Dear JCPS. Any board member wishing to address the concerns shared here can contact our administrators to make a connection.

Dear JCPS,

Wayne Lewis, “interim” Kentucky Education Commissioner recently stated in the Courier Journal he has “No Agenda” with respect to the takeover of JCPS by his office. However, I have read his 194 page doctoral thesis and it is clear he intends to see the takeover happen. His paper reveals his hostility toward public school systems like JCPS including teachers, administrators and the teacher’s union. He obviously favors charter schools and writes throughout his paper of the difficulties they will face such as getting uncertified teachers into the state retirement system, using “alternate” tests instead of standardized testing, converting existing private schools into charter schools and using money from the state lottery to fund building maintenance and expansion. He explores eliminating racial quotas for students, getting rid of the “cap” on the number of charter schools allowed within the state. He also wants to allow “admissions preferences for some students”. If Mr. Lewis is getting a head start on twisting his words to meet his agenda then imagine what he will do once he is no longer “temporary”.

Bill Michael
Constituent of Board Member Chris Brady

The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has a concern, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form

Dear JCPS,

It seems that when you move to a better neighborhood, your child is forced to go to a school that places them with those that are not within the same neighborhood. The reason why we moved in the East End was to have a nice safe home and schools for our kids. Now we are being forced to move our oldest out of Eastern and our 4.0 GPA middle school turned high schooler in the fall in a school that has not only proven to be unsafe, but understaffed and unruly. I have grown up going to schools like these in my youth, which is the reason why I have avoided it for my children. However, JCPS is seemingly forcing us to go to a school, taking my son out of Eastern for the past two years, and placing him and his sister in an uncomfortable school in which they are not accustom to. Being a black man, I already know the pitfalls some of these schools have for my children, and moving away for the more crime filled areas only to have to have my children deal with it in school makes no sense. I will take my children out of JCPS before they will attend Waggoner or Jeffersontown. Why take a kid out of a school that they have been for the last two years and move them to a completely different environment? This is the reason I favor charter schools as parents have a choice as to what the education and the safety of our children will be. JCPS takes the choice out of the parent’s hands as they know what is best for our kids. This letter is more of outrage of what JCPS decides what’s best foe kids without taking some basic considerations in their decision. I will be appealing and while I wait, sending our particular case to my media friends,,,,

The views expressed here are those of the author, not of Dear JCPS. If you would like to respond, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form