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  • We met Amanda during the teacher-led actions in Frankfort. She approached us about hosting a parent-led rally in front of Van Hoose and we did everything we could to support them. The event was a huge success.
  • Amanda also spoke to news media about the parental support of JCPS teachers.
  • She will make a great 15th District PTA leader and advocate.
Questions and responses are taken from the 15th District PTA Website, where you can also find information about the candidates on the slate, the election and how to become a delegate. 

What PTA positions have you held in the past and what PTA/PTSA are currently a member of?

I have been a member of the Eisenhower Elementary School PTA since my daughter started kindergarten there last school year. I enjoy volunteering throughout the year and look forward to another four years of service to our school.

What prompted you to seek this position?

In the recent months I have become a much more actively involved parent in the bigger picture outside of our individual school walls. Several people contacted me to say that they thought I would be a great advocate for our children in this capacity as a board member, and I agreed that it is an amazing opportunity to make a positive impact on a wider scale. I will be happy to assist the Board, in any way possible.

What about the position excites you and why do you want to join the 15th District PTA Board?

I volunteer at every possible opportunity for both our school staff and PTA. I have always been dedicated to helping improve the lives of children around me, in whatever way I can. Without a doubt, a strong community of support for our students is the most vital key to their success, and the PTA is the heart of that community. To be a part of such an important part of our school system is wonderful, because as a mother to me nothing is more important than education.

Will you be comfortable being an ambassador or advocate for our association and our mission which includes National PTA Resolutions and Position Statements? If so, what makes you passionate about our association?

I feel more than capable of being an advocate for the PTA. My hope is to help take ideas that work in successful PTAs, and share them to other schools to help strengthen them. Outside of our school staff, the parents involved are an important part of schools that do well. PTA gives us the organization to accomplish amazing goals. Joining a board requires working as part of a team.

How would you describe your ability to work on a team? The role you think you will play as part of this team.

As an EMT for over a decade, the first thing I learned is that for success team work is crucial. I am comfortable working and adapting to others, compromising, and playing whatever role is needed at the time. Those are all important factors to being a team player, and any organization cannot succeed without those abilities. I am great at organizing and leadership, but also know when to step back and play a support role. A 15th District PTA Board position is an important commitment.

Are you able to give the time necessary to fulfill this role and to attend all PTA board meetings and events?

I am currently a stay home mother, dedicating my time to ensuring my daughter’s education gets off to a good start and volunteering all of my free time. As such this role fits perfectly into the flexibility my schedule

By Gay Adelmann

With the recent bullying and threats of retaliation against JCPS teachers who stood up for their students and their profession, and the distractions caused by leaders attacking those who are standing up for teachers, instead of pushing back on the bullies, it might be easy to overlook important upcoming opportunities to reshape the leadership within our district’s oldest and most prominent parent/teacher advocacy organization.

The 15th District PTA will hold elections for executive officers for the 2019-2021 term prior to the annual Awards Banquet, which is set for May 7 at the Louisville Central Community Center, Inc. at 1300 West Muhammad Ali Boulevard.

As a parent and a 20-year volunteer for PTAs in 7 different school systems, I envision a PTA that advocates for all students, especially those who may not have the same opportunities my children have had. That is why I’m concerned about an apparent preemptive move to prevent candidates who “rock the boat” from being eligible to serve on our PTAs district-wide board. A meeting to vote on several proposed bylaws changes will take place this coming Monday.

The proposed bylaw in question reads: “If a board member has been removed from the 15th District PTA Board of Directors for cause, theft, malfeasance, or for not fulfilling their duties, they shall not be eligible to hold a position on the 15th District PTA Board of Directors. Appeal Process – If removed from office, after a minimum of two years, an appeal may be made. An individual may be reinstated by a majority vote of the 15th District PTA Executive Board.”

I am one of those volunteers who was removed from my position on the 15th District PTA executive board (where I served faithfully for 3 years), for advocating for parents as an officer with Dear JCPS, and not remaining “obedient” to PTA. Following a rally spearheaded by Dear JCPS in February of 2017 encouraging Dr. Hargens to step down as Superintendent, the 15th District PTA Exec Board took steps to remove me out of fear they experience retribution from the district and could lose access to JCPS schools and the clothing closet. Despite this action having nothing to do with my involvement in PTA, and having received widespread support from the majority of our elected school board members and community, 15th District PTA leadership chose to side with the bully administration instead of its parent and teacher members.

Unfortunately, numerous other volunteers have also been removed from the PTA boards at the district and local level for standing up against a corrupt administration. Tonight’s bylaws change could prevent these or other outspoken advocates from serving on the 15th District PTA board in the future, by a status-quo-seeking establishment that refuses to stand up to bullies who attack its members. Sound familiar?

While our ALEC-backed, Koch-funded legislators were performing CPR on dead bills, harassing female staff members and raiding pensions, and our DeVos-endorsed governor and his handpicked Board of Education and Commissioner were spewing lies about special sessions, lobbing jabs from the ALEC Playbook, and issuing unlawful subpoenas, KEA and JCTA leadership, joined by officials from AFSCME, Teamsters and SEIU, aggressively pushed back on their own members and their allies instead of fighting attacks from bullies and privatizers.

Smacking of voter suppression and more cliquishness, anyone wishing to cast their vote on these proposed PTA bylaws changes must have been appointed as a delegate by their local PTA president, and names must have been submitted to the 15th District PTA president, by April 19.

It’s not too late, however, to sign up to vote as a delegate in the election on May 7. Delegates will determine the officers who will fill 8 of the district PTAs 9-member executive board, (The role of president will be filled by Eddie Squires, as determined by an executive board vote in February, following the death of president-elect Adam Kesler.)

In addition to an 8-member slate nominated by the existing executive PTA board, additional “rank-and-file” PTA members are expected to be “nominated to run from the floor,” challenging some of the candidates on the establishment’s slate.

They are:
Vice President 2 – Jamique Washington
Vice President 3 – Amanda Rhye
Vice President 4 – LaTasha Harrison
Vice President 5 – Sharika Anderson-Brown
Secretary – April Johnson (Zimmerman)

Jamique Washington
2nd Vice President Nominee
Amanda Rhye
3rd Vice President Nominee
LaTasha Harrison
4th Vice President Nominee
Sharika Anderson-Brown
5th Vice President Nominee

April Johnson (Zimmerman)
Secretary Nominee

Removing a volunteer for “cause” — a subjective term that has not been clearly defined — runs the risk of being skewed by one’s perceptions and biases, such as race or methodology. “Cause” can mean lacking loyalty and obedience to officers and bully district leaders (instead of PTA members and students), as was the case in my situation. It’s hypocritical to pretend the removal process is applied evenly, when instances of fraud, malfeasance (including election rigging, theft and criminal convictions), were not acted upon, even after being brought to leadership’s attention. And it’s naive to think an appeals process that puts the defendant back in front of the same clique that removed them in the first place would be without bias.

Fortunately, there is a grassroots movement afoot nationwide, where “rank-and-file” members are organizing and taking back their organizations. I encourage everyone to get involved in the upcoming PTA elections. Come to the bylaws vote Monday night, participate in the discussion, and ensure transparency and accountability. Also, contact your PTA President about becoming a voting delegate for the May 7 officer election.

Consider the advocacy work of each of the nominees who are running from the floor. Be intentional about voting for a PTA Executive Board that looks and thinks more like the district population it serves. In this vindictive political climate, we need to elect leaders who know how and when to rock the boat on behalf of their members, not protect a bully administration and status quo.

The Louisville Urban League will be providing transportation to these events. To RSVP please contact Carla Robinson at crobinson@lul.org.

Full disclosure:

I have also filed to run for president-elect from the floor. Not because I wanted to serve, but because I truly believe in PTA, and I want to see 15th District PTA advocate for its members and students in ALL schools they serve. (Of all of the candidates who responded to Dear JCPS’ invitations for nominations to run from the floor, I was the only one who met the minimum service requirements for president-elect.) After tonight’s bylaws vote, I may no longer be eligible to run on May 7. Repeated requests for clarification on the grounds for my removal and whether there will be time to appeal, have gone unanswered. I have a problem with that.

Think what you want about me. I don’t really care. I’m an unpaid stakeholder and advocate in this community, and yet, I’m constantly being attacked by people in positions of power who should be advocating for their members. For what? Advocating for their members! You figure that one out.

Some want to imply I’m only saying something now, out of retaliation for those who have attacked me. I suppose I could have been blasting out every wrong that I’ve witnessed all along, but I usually give the perpetrator numerous opportunities to recognize the error and change course. Until recently, I’ve avoided calling out their leaders out of respect for the institutions I believe in. Clearly, that was a mistake.

However, if you insist on believing them over me, simply because I’m not the one on the attack, at least reach out and give me an opportunity to respond to the accusations (which I’m usually not privy to), as I’ve tried to do for them. Chances are I can provide clarity, and probably even some form of evidence to dispute the misinformation, if asked.

This in’t about me. I know of at least two other officers who were removed from the PTA board over sketchy allegations that felt more like personality clashes than “cause.” This is about making sure they — and people who stand up against the administration when appropriate — may continue to be eligible to serve. This is about the democratic process. This is about the kids.

If you, too, want a PTA that advocates for ALL students in JCPS, I hope to see you and other unapologetic allies tonight at CB Young at 5:45 PM.

Gay Adelmann is a public school graduate, mother of two recent public school graduates, and co-founder of Dear JCPS and Save Our Schools Kentucky.

Are Louisville Teachers Being Forced To Choose Between The “Lesser of Two Evils?”

“The beatings will continue until morale improves,” seems to be the mantra of the Kentucky GOP when it comes to public education.

In the latest attack on its teachers, Kentucky’s new pro-charter education commissioner vowed to not punish teachers “as long as there are no more work stoppages.” It’s unclear whether the final day of Kentucky’s legislative session tomorrow will be met with another teacher-led “sick out.” It would be the 7th sickout in Jefferson County in a month. Kentucky Legislature has been on recess the last 14-days, resuming on March 28 for “sine die” and to pass any final legislation.

In addition to other terrible bills that pose a potential risk to Kentuckians, nine resolutions stand ready to be passed by the Kentucky Senate, which would confirm the governor’s newest seven appointments to the Kentucky Board of education. The two additional resolutions appear to extend the length of current appointees’ service by swapping their seats (expiring in 2020) with two who would have been appointed to the new slots, possibly a maneuver to protect key players in the event Kentucky’s unpopular governor does not win reelection.

The entire 14-member board is now completely made up of privatization-friendly appointees from Kentucky’s charter-pushing, ALEC-backed governor, following an earlier round of appointments two years prior. Last year, the new board ousted the Commonwealth’s highly qualified commissioner, Stephen Pruitt, the day after they were appointed, and replaced him with an 5-year teacher and charter school ideologue who immediately called for a state takeover of the state’s largest district.

Serving nearly 100,000 students, and a $1.7 billion annual budget, Jefferson County Public Schools is by far the largest school district in the state of Kentucky, and the 30th largest in the nation.

Let’s ignore the fact that few, if any, of these board members have experience as educators or parents in the public school sector. In fact, several of the members have direct ties to charter schools and have been working behind the scenes to undermine public schools and/or position themselves to potentially profit from charters, scholarship tax credits and state takeovers of schools and districts.

KBE appointments subject to confirmation include Hal Heiner, Gary Houchens, and Ben Cundiff. Their names, along with that of their chosen commissioner, Wayne Lewis, can be found on formation documents and on boards of existing charter schools dating back to 2011, long before they worked their way into positions of conflict of interest or self-dealing.

Charters, vouchers, “scholarships” and myriad other hedge-fund darling investments have been the law of the land on 43 other states, so these well-funded privatizers know how to penetrate a market. And once they’ve opened their doors, they will continue to expand and decimate districts. We know this because we’ve heard from our allies in Indiana, Tennessee, Florida, Arizona, California, West Virginia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Iowa, Washington State, the list goes on and on.

These folks keep telling us, “whatever you do, don’t let them in. It’s much harder to get them out once you have them.” JCPS teachers see it, and they have been literally keeping these most dangerous bills at bay this session and last. “To again fail to (approve charter funding) is pretty shocking and something we’ve never seen in any other state,” according to Todd Ziebarth, a national charter school advocate who helped craft the 2017 law.

But this fight is far from over. So what legislation is still in play that could happen on Thursday? House Bill 358 would give public universities the option to exit the Kentucky Employees’ Retirement System (KERS). The bill passed the House where the Senate “took a problematic bill and transformed it into an outright dangerous one,” according to Louisville House Rep Lisa Willner. “The Senate version would still permit public universities to opt out of the public retirement system (KERS), and would all but require that “quasi-governmental” agencies – community mental health centers, domestic violence shelters, child advocacy organizations, rape crisis centers, and all 61 health departments statewide – exit the public retirement system altogether. The Senate version of HB 358 threatens the very existence of these lifeline organizations, and could effectively dismantle the statewide system of public protection and crisis support.” The number of Kentucky workers whose inviolable contracts would be broken would expand to nearly 9,000.

Although many legislators have assured us HB205 (Scholarship Tax Credits) and HB525 (Pension Trustee Appointments) are dead this session, it doesn’t mean they won’t continue to bring them back next year and the year after that until they pass, much like they did with charter school legislation, which finally passed in 2017. Our only saving grace has been the fact that there was so much pushback, the general assembly’s been unable to muster enough intestinal fortitude to fund them again this session. The trick is figuring out if we can really trust this latest promise, because those in the minority are usually the last to know what’s going on, and those in the supermajority have broken our trust before.

The same body that passed an unconstititional “sewer bill” on the last day of 2018 session is the same body that called a special session to try to pass it again constitutionally last winter. And now we’re simply supposed to trust them when they say these harmful education bills are dead?

But those bills aren’t the only threat in the near future. As I mentioned, charter school legislation passed in 2017, but has yet to be funded. A looming state takeover of JCPS could open the door to conversion charter schools, without waiting for any funding mechanism to pass.

Could the confirmation of the KBE appointments be checkmate for Jefferson County Public Schools? Or said another way, could a disruption in the confirmation of these appointments derail the privatizers’ agenda to implement charter schools in our most vulnerable communities? If for no other reason, concerned citizens of Jefferson County need to email, call and then head to Frankfort on Thursday to put pressure on the Kentucky Senate to not confirm Bevin’s appointments to the KBE.

Jefferson County teachers are fighting against a “solution” that has been not only proven not to work, but leads to school closures, district bankruptcies, displaced vulnerable students and increased taxes.

If I were a teacher, I would be outraged at Commissioner Lewis’ latest attempts to bully and intimidate teachers. I’d love to see teachers call his bluff and reveal their collective power over him. But I’m not a teacher. I’m a parent, community organizer, concerned citizen and taxpayer who recognized years ago that her son’s “failing” public school in a high-minority, high-poverty area of town was being groomed for a charter school takeover. And yet, here we are, six years and one helluva fight later, risking watching everything we’ve been warning folks about come to fruition.

The Friday following the last sickout, many parents also kept their children home to show solidarity with teachers who have been fighting for our students, and to exercise the only power they knew how. There is talk of another parent-led action during the week of abusive state testing. It’s time teachers and parents in these red states recognize the power they do hold, and to use it to stop the hostilities coming out of Frankfort.

Whether it’s parents or teachers doing the talking, it’s time to turn the conversation around and say to Lewis, the KBE, our state legislators, and union leaders who appear to be siding with the state bosses and their big money donors, “There will be no more disruptions, as long as you stop the shady attempts to privatize our schools against the wishes of taxpayers and against the best interest of our most vulnerable students.”

Dear JCPS invites other concerned citizens to Frankfort on March 28 for a Rally in the Rotunda from 10 am – 12 pm. We will also have the table in the annex basement where concerned citizens like myself are happy to answer any other questions you may have about what’s really behind this movement and what are next steps.

Gay Adelmann is a parent of a recent JCPS graduate and co-founder of Dear JCPS and Save Our Schools Kentucky. She can be reached at moderator@dearjcps.com.

Karin Bennett, Greg Tichenor, De’Nita Wright and Austin Norrid, Opinion contributorsPublished 9:58 a.m. ET March 11, 2019 | Updated 1:54 p.m. ET March 11, 2019

JCPS says there’s an urgent need to invest in new buildings throughout the county. It’s promoting the plan as a cost-saving measure and critical step. Marty Pearl/Special to Courier Journal, Louisville Courier Journal

We believe that putting student assignment first is key to avoiding a state takeover.

The Jefferson County school board is discussing rearranging the facilities before resolving student assignment. At the upcoming JCPS board meeting on Tuesday night, our elected school board members are expected to approve a $120 million Facilities Capital Fund proposal, which will result in a net loss of three elementary schools in southern and western Louisville. 

Read full article here:

https://www.courier-journal.com/story/opinion/2019/03/11/jcps-must-fix-student-assignment-avoid-state-takeover/3126036002/

February 25, 2019

SBDMs are under attack!

I wanted to let you know about several items that are gearing up for passage in the immediate future that can have serious negative implications on our public schools and local councils’ decision-making authority.

First is Senate Bill 250, which was introduced and passed the Senate Education Committee in less than a week. It is poised for passage in the Full Senate this week and will likely move quickly to the House. The bill, sponsored by Julie Raque Adams, has been championed by Greater Louisville Inc. and puts business interests over our student well-being. 15th District PTA President Autumn Neagle testified in Frankfort on Thursday against this bill, stating their organization, which is responsible for parent representative selection, was not even consulted for input before it was filed. SB250 consolidates more power in the hands of the Superintendent by taking it away from parents and teachers who serve on these committees.

Many “priority” schools in the West and South Ends have already lost their principal selection power, further limiting their ability to pull their schools out of priority status. THIS BILL WILL REMOVE PRINCIPAL SELECTION POWER FROM EVERY REMAINING SCHOOL IN JCPS. The bill also reduces the amount of transparency and accountability the administration is required to provide to our elected board members and the public. These efforts are a continuation of a national movement by business leaders to end-run local control and decision-making in order to further their agenda to divert tax dollars away from public schools and into charter schools and private schools. House Bill 205, makes these so-called scholarship tax credits legal, representing a very real threat to our schools.

Finally, the JCPS School Board has been mandated by the state to make significant improvements to their student assignment plan, which is expected to be voted on this summer. However, a massive facilities proposal is set for passage ahead of this decision, expected to be voted on at the March 12 board meeting at 7 PM at Van Hoose. The proposal includes the closing, merging and relocating of nearly a dozen schools in the South and West Ends, reducing the number of seats available in these schools, thereby severely limiting any changes the committee might recommend based results of community feedback. The proposal also depends on a dangerous merger of Breckinridge Metro and Minor Daniels, and relocating them into a non-neutral neighborhood.

Below are some actions you can take THIS WEEK!

  1. Call 800-372-7181 and leave a message for ALL HOUSE MEMBERS to vote NO on SB250 and HB205 because they undermine public school local decision-making and funding, opening the door to powerful outside interests to profit from tax dollars intended for public school children.
  2. Visit www.dearjcps.com/advocate and send a one-click email to all JCPS board members asking them to vote NO on any facilities proposals that would limit the student assignment committee’s ability to make authentic changes to the current plan prior to gathering and evaluating community feedback. Failure to drastically improve the student assignment plan could result in another attempted state takeover of JCPS in 2020, this time successfully.
  3. Show up or sign up to speak at the March 12 board meeting at 7 PM at Van Hoose to share your concerns.

The success of our public schools is dependent upon taking action now. The events are unfolding rapidly, so our window to act is short. Since time is of the essence, please contact me at 502-565-8397 with any questions.

Thank you,

Gay Adelmann
President and Co-Founder, Dear JCPS
President and Co-Founder, Save Our Schools Kentucky

Following my experience, this year,  with the North Oldham High School Academic Team as a certified Quick Recall Official, I have changed my mind from supporting charter schools to opposing them. Teachers and Public Schools need to be fully supported fiscally  with competitive pay and funding. This can be justified in terms of educational  success and the future success of Kentucky students and their impact on the economic and social standing of the state. This also applies to Kentucky higher education.

Harold Trainer

Prospect, Ky

Watch the video here.

Dear JCPS,

Our district is headed for a state takeover in 2020 UNLESS we come up with an authentic, community-supported student assignment plan now!

We did not escape it. We only postponed it. We know auditors will be back.

What are we doing about it? Quietly making minor tweaks to the student assignment plan? Or planning a revision that our community can get behind?

We know their intentions are to justify takeover of our district, which means the removal of your powers. I know you know this, but again, I ask, what are you doing about it? Your district administration isn’t going to save you. It’s up to you. It’s why we elected you.

I am not speculating when I make the following statements:

There is a national movement to privatize our public schools, and convert them into charters or worse. Taking over the board gives them power to do this, even if they don’t get their funding mechanism.

They desire to take away local control. Look at what they are doing with SBDMs. I am disappointed that Dr Pollio has come out in support of this bill, by the way. I agree he needs more power, but let’s take it from the state, not from us.

They want to have say over our student  assignment plan. Look at HB151 from 2017. But the plan they come up with will be ill-informed and cause more harm than good. Especially to our most vulnerable students who always bear the brunt of ivory-tower decisions.

Closing schools before these vultures have even taken us over is having you doing their dirty work for them! LOOK AROUND THIS NATION at what is happening. Don’t be complicit.

Don’t close a single school in a black, brown or poor community, at least not until you hear recommendations from the student assignment committee. Don’t build a new school in any part of town until you know where the student assignment committee feels the greatest needs are. You are tying their hands and forcing them to work with a plan, instead of the other way around.

This is a teachable moment. We encourage board members to educate their constituents, not put your own district’s wants ahead of the greater good. This is a sin that’s been committed far too often in this district.

The audit mandated a revised student assignment plan. It was the poison pill. But it’s also our brier patch. Authentic, community-supported student assignment plan is our ticket to prevent state takeover.

Please do not blow it.

We’ve been busing our most disenfranchised students from their communities, many against their will, making it impossible to attend parent teacher conferences, pick their child up from school when sick, participate in after-school activities. If it’s good enough for them, why isn’t it good enough for us?

Why aren’t we having this conversation?

If you pass this facilities plan based on projected growth, without considering this possible proposal, you essentially shut us out. Perhaps that’s the district’s plan. But is it yours? We elected this board to represent the taxpayers, parents and students. To course-correct when the administration puts their own or outside interests first. You have 18 months to show us what you’re made of. But this time, it won’t be us voting you out. It will be Wayne Lewis and ALEC and their enablers.

Let’s ask parents with means, transportation, and time to carry some of this burden for the next decade. Why shouldn’t families in the West End have the same opportunities my child had?

Watch the video of the guest speakers from Tuesday night’s @JCPSKY board of education meeting here.

Speakers at Tuesday night’s JCPS Board meeting included Dear JCPS officers, Tiffany Dunn, Gay Adelmann and Michael McCloud. They addressed the state takeover, putting students first, and the proposed policing of JCPS students. Here is the text from Ms. Dunn’s speech:

My name is Tiffany Dunn. I’m a national board certified ESL teacher at a wonderful school, Lassiter Middle.

At our November 13th faculty meeting we were told by our administration,

“We are operating as if we are already under state control.”

This was said twice for emphasis.

My question to you is, “why?”

JCPS parents, teachers, and stakeholders fought hard and made it clear we had no interest in being controlled by a privatization-minded, predatory state board of education and commissioner. We succeeded, but only to have our district wave the white flag anyway?

What does “operating as if we are already under state control” look like, you ask?

Our professional learning communities have been hijacked. We have district personnel sit in our meeting every single week. Instead of having collegial conversations about student learning, we are being forced to give common assessments. On the same day. No matter where we are in our teaching. And then analyze the contrived data as if it’s legitimate.

We’re also being told we have to do project-based learning – the SAME project as our PLC members. Have any of you looked at the research on PBLs? It’s dismal. John Hattie has it at a .15 effect size – what does this mean? To be considered effective – a strategy should be at least .4. PBL effectiveness even falls behind charter and religious schools, which not surprisingly, weren’t much better.

This type of control is not only attack on teacher autonomy, it’s an attack on student learning.

Along with the classroom control, we have become obsessed with MAP testing and student data. We are losing precious class time to assess students. Most appalling is that ESL and ECE students are being denied their reader accommodation on the reading portion of the MAP test.

So, these results aren’t even reliable or legitimate! Next Tuesday, our school is having a reward day for students based on MAP growth. We are losing two more class periods of instruction. Less than 1/3 of our 6th grade students qualified.

I ask you, “Why are we using test data for rewards? What are we trying to accomplish? Shame students into learning? As if they’re trying to do poorly?”

Wayne and his cronies want nothing more than to see us fail – it fits their narrative and it will line their pockets. Following a takeover agenda will only get us one place – taken over. It was and always will be the end goal.

Instead, JCPS needs to align itself with research-based strategies, not data mining. Teachers should be treated as the experts, not babysat by district and school administrators.

Below is the text from Gay Adelmann’s speech:

I sure hope that teacher does not experience any retribution for speaking up for her students tonight.

No teacher should ever experience negative consequences for doing what’s best for their students.

And that includes our teachers who speak out against these threats of privatization and excessive testing and everything that goes along with it.

Dear JCPS,

My name is Gay Adelmann. I am the co-founder of Dear JCPS and Save Our Schools KY.

In May of 2016, I stood up here and told the current board chair he needed to put the interests of our students ahead of the interests of privatizers. He didn’t listen. And he’s gone now.

In August of 2016, Dear JCPS cofounder Erin Korbylo stood here and told Dr. Hargens that we gave her a vote of no confidence because she worried more about what business leaders thought than about doing what was best for students. She’s also gone now.

In fact, the first time I spoke to this board was in 2013. Before Dr. Pruitt was even the commissioner. Only two of you are still here. And here Wayne Lewis comes in from nowhere, telling you how to fix JCPS. And you jump through every hoop he sets for you.

Don’t worry about them. The superintendent reports to this board, this board reports to us – the voters. Our students are your customers. The customer comes first. Not Frankfort, not business and chamber leaders (who probably don’t have kids in our schools), not these disingenuous Alec-funded fake grassroots groups.

Because no matter what you do! It’s a shell game. It’s a moving target. They’re going to find a way to say our schools are failing. So you might as well do what you know is right.

Not only did voters keep out the privatizers out of our district, we pushed back on a state takeover and charter school funding. While we weren’t pleased with the compromise, because we knew it would lead to more of the same, living in fear of being taken over

You’ve gotten a two year stay of execution. Use it.

Spend it doing what’s best for students — especially our most vulnerable. Not jumping thru hoops for unqualified, outsiders with a privatization agenda.

Here’s something I don’t think the community understands.

What may be fine for mainstream students, like many of ours, is not fine for our most vulnerable. ESPECIALLY when you have a district of CHOICE!

I did not realize this until I saw it first hand as a Shawnee parent.

When you have choice and diversity, two things we TREASURE, you cannot allow them to use these qualities against us and destroy our district in the process. Fight back! Help them understand.

When you treat students as data (in the aggregate, the average, the statistic, instead of the wet clay that they are), you learn to manipulate it to give you what you need to make Frankfort happy, instead of giving each student what they need individually to “reach their full potential.”

Our most vulnerable students are the ones who end up being used as pawns to make the data look good for the adults.

We know that these practices are abusive. They’ve told us! Resist doing what you know is harmful. Give exceptions – fight back – for schools with high needs populations. For vulnerable students. Because what works for the mainstream often throws our most vulnerable students under the bus. And we’re losing a generation of kids.

If any elected official has a problem with our district cutting back on this state-mandated abuse, let them say so publicly. So we know who to vote out next time.

Put students first. Not in aggregate. Not the averages. Not data points. Not the mainstream.

All students, especially the most vulnerable.

Support excellent teachers like Ms. Dunn. Allow her to do what she knows to be best for her students, and everything else will follow.

Thank you.

Tiffany Dunn and Michael McCloud wait their turn to speak.

We do not yet have a transcript of Michael McCloud’s speech but will post it here when we do.

If you have a message you would like to submit to Dear JCPS, please email moderator@dearjcps.com.

Dear JCPS,

I have students that range from K-5th Grades I transport daily to and from school. At best, these students are on the bus approximately 45 minutes in the morning and approximately 1 hour in the evening, depending on traffic. It is my responsibility to safely transport all my students to and from school. I have students that refuse to sit down safely in their assigned seats, inappropriately touches other students, use foul language, eat and drink, breaks pencils and crayons and throws them at other students, throws food (most recently threw bags of carrots at other students), fight, speaks ill of other students family members to include making fun of other students less fortunate and cursing out the bus driver and being extremely disrespectful. One more thing on this note, they will fabricate lies against the bus driver and for that I am glad we have cameras. I have written approximately 150 disciplinary referrals so far this year. I have had a couple of suspensions for 1-3 days, however, I also have repeat offenders. I had one student this past week get suspended for 5 days, but, after 2 days, their suspension was lifted and allowed to return to my bus. Unfortunately, most of my students that get suspended from riding the bus, does not go to school. With all this said, my concern is for all students safety. The few that cause these problems are jeopardizing the safety of everyone on the school bus. It is just a matter of time when one of my students get hurt, then who will the blame fall on? Usually, it’s the bus driver. I have to keep one eye on my student mirror and the other eye on the road, which can become unsafe. We can only stop the bus for 5 minutes to address any discipline issues. In the winter months, it starts getting dark by 530PM. Needless to say, I have been extremely late dropping off my students because of discipline issues ( 630PM the latest time so far this year). I am making it very inconvenient for the majority of my students and their parents because of the actions of a few, which is not fair either. If the repeat offenders were held accountable, and go through the suspension process, and continue to be disruptive, then the parents or guardians need to be responsible for getting their child to and from school, no matter their personal difficulties doing so. If the student misses school in excess of the attendance policies, the parents are ultimately responsible and should be dealt with in accordance with the applicable laws concerning truancy. If expulsion from the school bus is not an option, then move that student to a closer school nearest to their home,as a hardship transfer. By far, my bus has less problems than most, but, the safety issue remains the same. How many referrals are too many? I had a member of my management team tell me, as we were speaking on the discipline problems of one of my students, ” That student only has had 3 referrals.” I honestly think more than one referral, you have an obvious problem. Let’s force the parents and guardians to get involved more. Children will only do what they are allowed to do and a piece of paper is not going to stop their disruptive behavior if they realize they are not being held accountable. There has been problems in the past in which the school can’t reach the parents, whether a disconnected phone number or the parent refusing to respond. 9 out of 10 times, I find copies of referrals that were sent home for a parents signature and to be returned to school, ripped up into pieces and thrown on the bus floor. Bottom line, the students are required by law to attend school. Having transportation should be considered a privilege, not a right. We need to get a hold of our students at the elementary level and not just pass the problem on to middle and then high school. As students get older, their behavior becomes more violent. Let us not continue to allow unsafe behavior to go unpunished. I don’t want to see any of my students get hurt or worse. We are JCPS and We have an established standard on school bus safety. Let’s start enforcing it and stop pointing fingers at everyone else. It’s our problem, let’s fix it!! Thank You for your time.