Dear KBE members,
Parent of graduate of Shawnee High School (one of the “lowest performing” schools in the state)
Send your email here: http://www.saveourschoolsky.org/2018/10/02/tell-kbe-to-delay-vote-on-new-high-school-requirements/
With the vote on new graduation requirements looming, several educational organizations and leaders have already named specific concerns with many aspects of the Kentucky Departments of Education’s proposal. The issues they’ve identified should be sufficient to at least pause the approval of the proposal. But, the debate has become one over details which often implies a concession to the main premise. In other words, the Titanic’s course may be approved because we’ve been focused on the deck chairs.
Most agree that we need to find ways to help our students be better prepared for the next stage of life. However, we are not asking whether setting the minimum requirements for graduation is the appropriate place for this conversation. Minimum requirements should be achievable by all within our current system. A diploma should be work, but it only needs to show that a student has completed the minimal course work requirements, as our current system does. Colleges and employers all look at test scores, resumes, previous experiences, portfolios, recommendations, etc… in addition to a diploma. It’s neither necessary nor should a diploma have to carry the weight of having to certify that a child has preemptively completed the additional training, education, or development that may be required in the future. A diploma is a noble accomplishment, but it should not represent our highest expectations of education.
In fact, it is a best counter-productive to set the policy and practice for reaching our highest goals though minimum requirements. When we do, we shift the burden that should belong to adults onto children. Figuring out what type of teaching and learning most engages and challenges our students, and then training and preparing educators to implement it is an adult problem. Creating learning experiences for students that are both personalized, but also equip them for a diverse world and an unknown future is an adult problem. Finding ways to stretch the teenage need for instant gratification towards long term decision making and investment is an adult problem. Marshalling the resources, funding, and connections to facilitate authentic workplace and research experiences for students is an adult problem.
I know many hard working adults in education, and I think most would say that we are making progress on the problems above, but they are by no means solved. Our schools still don’t have sufficient or equitable access to resources. Our teachers don’t have access to the full training and support necessary to truly transform practice. Our policies aren’t always fair, up two 21st Century standards, or in the best interest of students. Solving these problems is the real work of raising expectations. Of course, children need some measure of responsibility and personal investment when it comes to their futures. But, the proposed graduation requirements takes this too far. We should never create a policy that holds children accountable for things adults should be working on.
A Very Concerned JCPS Teacher
September 3 at 9:37 PM
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.
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!
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.
Opt-out movement discussion.
Connect the dots
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
Co-sponsors and participants:
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 Board,
Please do not make any deals with Wayne Lewis. The people of Kentucky did not elect him for anything. It would be the worse thing that can happen if JCPS is turned over to the state. Fight it and let it go to court. It is wrong in every sense of the word what they are trying to do. Bevin is trying to destroy education in Kentucky for public schools and you must not let that happen. Fight for the people. Fight for the kids of Jefferson County. You fight now and the voters will fight in November.
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!
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”.
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.
Any day now, the Governor-appointed Kentucky Board of Education could decide to “take over” the district and remove power of our democratically elected school board. We CANNOT let this happen! We must maintain control of our schools, by any means necessary.
Dear Kentucky Board of Education,
As a public school parent, School Based Decision Making Council Parent Representative, a former PTA President, a 16th District PTA Board Member, and Parent Advocacy Trainer in Fayette County Public Schools, I implore you to NOT takeover the Jefferson County Public School System.
Quite simply, this is an unprecedented attack on Democracy and local control, including the destruction of parent voice and power in JCPS. This is not to say that this is a vote for status quo, but to allow Marty Pollio to continue the good work he is doing within the district.
Please allow the recently elected board members and the newly hired Superintendent to keep the momentum of improvement that is currently happening! Please allow local constituents to retain control over their tax dollars and school governance, through KDE State Assistance and support, NOT through an unnecessary and politically driven takeover of local control!