This letter was presented at the JCPS Board Meeting on May 10, 2016 by Dear JCPS Co-founder Gay Adelmann.
As a newcomer to Louisville a few years ago, and upon our selection of a magnet, (which happened to be a priority school in the West End), I was immediately sucked into the dysfunction that is JCPS. I saw some blatant disconnects and easy fixes and I made an effort to be part of the solution. Along the way, I met many people who said “you’re wasting your time.” “The district is going to do what it wants to do.”
The Pollyanna in me said “They just don’t have the info they need to make good decisions.” Teachers were afraid to speak up. But the answers were clear if you knew where to look. So we spoke at board meetings. We wrote proposals. But we were shut out. Calls were not returned. We were treated as hostile. And we were lied to. Sure enough, the district continued to “do what it wanted to do.”
That’s when I said, “un uh.” These are our schools. Our kids. Our tax dollars. So we started Dear JCPS. And that’s when we found many more who were been beaten down, ignored, had issues swept under the rug. Parents who had no choice but to resort to lawsuits. We were drawn to each other like a moth to a flame. Suddenly, the district’s ability to “ignore the problem long enough so that it would go away” was in jeopardy. Repeated attempts were made to discredit and derail our group.
Because district leaders did not authentically respond to our questions and concerns early on, they appear to have a hidden agenda. And now, the district’s lies and misdeeds are becoming undeniable.
When you sign off on out-of-touch recommendations that are obtained with no genuine input from stakeholders; when we are asked to pick one of three options, of which two are not even viable, that is not brainstorming. That is manipulation.
A state senator “shadowed” my son yesterday, but some of our district leaders, entrusted with making some of the most important decisions in our city, can’t be bothered to do the same.
Public education is under attack nationwide. Your complicity that allows them to undermine the success of our district, and expedite — not thwart — its demise, is criminal.
Your negligence is not only filling the pipeline to prison, it is filling the pipeline to the morgue. Two of my son’s classmates have been murdered this year.
Imagine if you lived in a war zone, not knowing if you or someone you loved could be killed at any moment. And you are required to come to school – in many cases bused across town — and forced sit for ridiculous tests and test prep that do not teach you what you need to escape the war zone, but instead are used to label and place more hurdles and burdens in your way.
Yes! We need a more equitable code of conduct, but more importantly we need the supports in place to make sure it’s successful.
These are our children’s lives and futures you’re playing with. We did not elect you to boost your resume, to satisfy your philanthropic goals, or so you could throw your influence around on the golf course or the board room. We elected you to fix our broken school system.
If you think the media is to blame for this debacle, you’re still not getting it. But the community is – and we’re outraged. Our school board is our last hope to save public education in Louisville. You either take this bull by its horns, or we will VOTE YOU OUT!