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A true story about microaggressions, racism and feeding the pipeline to prison in JCPS.

“Dear JCPS,

Before I start to disclose the contents of the topic of this letter, I want to state that everything in this letter is a FACT!  Not some hypothetical situation.  Not some situation that happened somewhere else in America (although it could have).  But this is a true story that happened in the not-so-distant past right here in JCPS, Louisville, KY.  While all of these facts can be proven (the very definition of a fact) as they are documented in various emailed documents to the district (making them subject to open records) and I have seen them with my own eyes, the name of the minor will be protected including adult names and locations. Furthermore, so that we are clear on the facts, I will provide other evidence such as photographs and policies from inside and outside of JCPS to substantiate the facts in this case.  

A fifth grade black male student brought a disposable razor to school.  The disposable razor was not out and the only reason anyone knew he had brought it to school was because he needed to get a pencil or piece of paper out of his locker. “

Read the full story here: Daquans First Weapons Charge

Dear JCPS,

My name is XXXX and my son is in 2nd grade at XXXX Elementary. I have been carefully watching our county’s positivity rate and balancing that against what I believe to be best for my child and I am writing to ask that you please give consideration to having the option of our youngest learners K-2/3 return to in-person learning.

I know that academically and socially, the best place for my child is in the classroom with more time with a teacher and access to his friends. I know that he can wear a mask during the day because he has been attending a day program at the YMCA. 

I also need him back in the classroom because he has been in limbo with IEP evaluations since March. We had our last ARC meeting on March 10th. I have been trying to get him help for almost a year. This is a group of children who are even more at risk with NTI. We are all doing the best we can, but without a formal plan in place or even knowing exactly where he falls, it’s like working with duck tape and bubble gum: it might all hold together for a while, but when the heat is on, it starts to fall apart. With NTI, the heat is on. 

Thank you for listening. 

Sincerely,
JCPS Parent

Although this letter is posted with the author’s name withheld, that does not mean they are anonymous to Dear JCPS. To submit your concerns to the board and also have them posted here, use the handy link at www.dearjcps.com/advocate.

 A “live REAP” is one of the reasonable demands that is evolving as part of the Coalition for the People’s Agenda. Therefore, it is imperative that the public not be misled about the existence of this document ahead of the anticipated Board vote on the Student Assignment Plan changes on Sept. 29th. Please contact your board member and remind them that when it comes to the proposed tax increase, they need to #EARNThePeoplesVote.

Read more.

When efforts to reconcile differences over support of West End and Black families continued to break down, Dear JCPS was left with no other option than to withdraw from the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, Louisville.

Full story.

“Instead, Dear JCPS is honored to be working with the Kentucky Alliance Education Committee on their revival of the People’s Agenda, to include a list of demands for JCPS. Their organization meets Monday’s at 4:30 PM via Zoom,” Adelmann said. “When the dust settles, we want to be standing on the right side of history. AROS Louisville, under its current leadership, is on the wrong side of history. And we wanted to distance ourselves as quickly and vocally as possible.” 

#StandWithBlackJCPSStudents #BlackJCPSStudentsMatter

Dear JCPS Superintendent Pollio, Board Chair Porter and Board of Education Members:

During this critical moment in the movement for Black lives, not only across our nation but right here in JCPS, it is unacceptable that JCPS Board Meetings continue via Zoom, without an adequate forum for stakeholders to express our concerns publicly.

Since March, the only way for the public to participate in these meetings has been to send written remarks to the board secretary, who then forwards them to board members and records them in the minutes. At a time when our district is taking great strides to ensure technology is distributed equitably so that even our community’s most impacted families have access, why not encourage this same technology to be utilized for participation in public discourse, as well?

On August 6, leaders from four of the undersigned Black-allied, anti-racist organizations sent an “urgent” email to Dr. Pollio, reminding him that Black and West Louisville families represent a very powerful and important voting bloc in Jefferson County. We warned of grave concerns we were hearing from the community about moving forward with the student assignment plan as proposed, without obtaining buy-in from the impacted community for the tax increase necessary to fund these changes. Instead, grassroots organizations and community members continue to be ignored, shut out, manipulated and misled. Efforts to elevate solutions to these concerns have been met with resistance, barriers or flat out ignored.

On August 11, ahead of the August 18 board meeting, all three co-chairs of the Kentucky Alliance emailed a plea to the Board, noting that stakeholders “can only submit written statements” which “are not read out loud at the meeting.” They further requested the public “be allowed to participate by zoom, phone, or by submitting video or audio statements that will be presented during the meeting.”

For nearly six months, Coalition leaders have been trying to warn JCPS decision-makers of the increasing number of grassroots organizations that feel Louisville’s Black and West End voters have zero appetite for a tax increase at this time. We fear district efforts to further advance this agenda without demonstrating a good-faith effort to earn the vote of Black voters and their allies, is likely to backfire, resulting in a failure of this ballot measure.

If you could hear us, we would want you to know that the People’s Agenda is a living document that focuses on nine important social-justice issues, including Education and Youth Empowerment. If we could speak, we would let you know about the Coalition’s reasonable demands around student assignment and other structural and systemic inequities, so the Board could address them by the next board meeting on September 29, ahead of the November 3 vote.

We, the undersigned, object to yet another board meeting taking place with lack of access, especially at a time when the district must  make EVERY EFFORT to ensure impacted stakeholders are part of the decision-making process and their representatives have an ONGOING seat at the table!

On behalf of the Coalition for the People’s Agenda,

Tyra Walker, Shameka Parrish-Wright, Dre Dawson, Co-chairs, The Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
Latasha Harrison, Founder, Louisville PTO
De’Nita Wright, Coalition of West Louisville Neighborhood Associations
Michelle Pennix, Retired JCPS Principal, PrincipledPennix
Dennisha Rivers, Founder of Vision of Life Outreach Ministries
Gay Adelmann, Co-founder, Dear JCPS, Co-founder Save Our Schools Kentucky
Leigh Ann Yost, Leigh Ann The Advocate
Gin Spaulding, JCPS parent, retired JCPS teacher
Ivonne Rovira, JCPS teacher, co-founder JCPS Leads, co-founder Kentucky Educators United
Greg Tichenor, JCPS teacher
and countless other marginalized voices yet to be heard

Please give us your feedback following your first two days of NTI in JCPS. If you are a teacher and a parent, please complete the survey twice. If you have students in more than one school, please complete the survey once for each school.

Your name is not required, however, we ask for your email address in order to minimize duplicates or false entries, or to follow up. Thank you!

This is a message we received from a Louisville Catholic school parent:

“The teachers all thought surely the Archdiocese would listen to the Governor’s recommendation. When the Archdiocese announced that they would not be following the Governor’s recommendation, that’s when teachers started reaching out to me.

These are the things I’m most concerned about:

1. Teachers are afraid of losing their jobs, and are not being offered the opportunity to teach remotely instead of in-person. They are afraid of speaking up and talking to their peers for fear of retaliation for organizing as a “union.” Continue Reading

 

After watching this week’s episode of Save Our Schools with Dear JCPS

  1. Complete the survey to let district leaders know your thoughts on safely returning to in-person school.
  2. Sign the pledge to stand with JCPS Grassroots Organizations as they stand up for our most vulnerable students.
  3. Join KEU to stay up-to-date with the latest actions and information related to state and national efforts to advocate for students, educators and our community!
Survey Results as of 2 PM July 21, 2020. 200 Respondents.

Dear JCPS Superintendent and Board of Education,

Tonight, as you weigh difficult, critical decisions regarding when and how to safely return to in-person schooling, we thank you for keeping the health and safety of our students, their families and their teachers and all who work in the service of their care as your primary concern.

No doubt you’ve received numerous and varied points of data regarding this topic. Due to the extra layer of anonymity Dear JCPS provides, combined with our group’s intentional efforts to seek input from impacted community members, we believe that we bring a different perspective to the table.

We hope that you find useful the information reflected in our recent survey results revealing teachers’ willingness and ability to return to in-person schooling. May this feedback, along with parents’ needs, concerns and barriers also captured in the survey, help guide your decision making as you begin to phase-in, pair and prioritize students, adults and classrooms. We hope that you will take a moment to read some of the individual concerns that were shared with us by parents, teachers, staff and administrators, as well, which can be found here:

Survey Responses

Later this evening, we will be uploading the most recent episode of Save Our Schools with Dear JCPS. In it, we discuss the purpose of the survey, some surprise revelations regarding the proposed tax increase (including the overlooked West-End, black- and black-allied organizations’ stances on it and efforts underway to prevent them from being silenced), a new program we are proud to launch called Dear JCPS Teachable Moments, and more. We hope you will give it a watch, review the comments, and provide us with your feedback.

Thank you again for your hard work and bravery to make difficult decisions during these uncertain times.