Four of the seven JCPS Board of Education seats are up for grabs this November. If you’ve been thinking you would like to see things done differently in JCPS, this may be your chance to find someone to run for school board in your area, or maybe even file to run yourself! The deadline to file is Tuesday, June 7.
The seats that are open are the ones currently held by Diane Porter, James Craig, Linda Duncan and Corrie Shull. Their bios can be found here. As of the date of this page’s publishing, only James Craig (District 3, incumbent) and Matthew Singleton (District 5, Linda Duncan’s seat) have filed to run in November.
Visit JCPS School Board Central – 2022 for information on how to file, who is running, their positions on important issues, and other updates as we head into election season.
This message was sent via email to Board Member James Craig on Dec. 1, 2020, ahead of the Work Session on the Student Assignment Plan proposal discussion.
Good evening, James,
I wanted to reach out as your constituent, first to congratulate you on the tremendous strides toward equity and racial justice that the district is making under the collective leadership of you, Dr. Pollio and the rest of the board. I also wanted to express my support for the proposed changes to the student assignment plan, as well as some additional requests for consideration.
From the reconfiguring of the map and the addition of a close-to-home “no-application required” school choice for West Louisville students, to putting an end to push outs from our traditional schools and to resetting diversity targets, these changes are to be heralded and will no doubt improve situations and outcomes for many of our district’s most underserved students. We must continue to pursue them as urgently as possible.
My overarching concern with the proposal is that these changes still don’t go far enough, still lack “the notches in a new belt,” if you will, and as a result, still have potential to backslide and/or cause unintended harm. I know neither of us want that, which is why I wanted to continue bringing feedback and concerns from the community.
First, the district was very responsive to the earlier demands that were brought forward by the Coalition for the People’s Agenda, which is why we were pleased to extend our support for the tax increase (congratulations, again!). These demands still resonate as we move forward with the implementation of the student assignment plan. As a reminder they were “EARN”, or:
Evaluation and presentation of inequities in current plan, in its entirety. We have seen great efforts being made here and I was moved by the public forum that was held. However, this needs to be ongoing, intentional and more community driven. We would like to talk with you in the future about what that looks like going forward.
Anti-racist budget (divest from policing, testing, harmful curriculum; invest in counselors, smaller classes, recruitment/retention).
Resolution in support of the Coalition for the People’s Agenda and the movement for Black Lives. (Board Member Shull has offered to take the lead on this and the Kentucky Alliance Education Committee will consult. I hope you will support or even consider co-sponsoring it with him.)
No wholesale return to in-person schooling until it’s safe (safe from policing, racist teachers, and COVID). Would like to update you on some examples of how the internal investigations process broke down, and suggest a form of intervention/restorative practices with teachers who exhibit harmful behaviors.
As my board member, I would like to ask you to see if you can determine if there is any feasibility to implementing the following “emergency provisions” with the proposed changes expected to be voted on at the next board meeting. You see, these are barriers that have prevented, and continue to prevent, some of the proposed changes from happening organically, and the coalition believes that removing them prior to the start of the 2021-2022 school year would allow the district to ease into some of the proposed changes, and also right some of these identified wrongs even sooner :
“Dual resides for everyone!” Not just West Louisville students, but all students could automatically have Shawnee as one of their two choices. Simply providing dual resides for West Louisville students risks further resegregation, but offering that option to families outside of West Louisville might set the stage for “flipping the script” for further voluntary integration in the future. “More carrot, less stick.”
“Ban the box!” Remove the application barrier for families that do not have a resides school that is close to home while we wait for the dual resides plan to be fully implemented across all grade levels (and even now while learning is virtual). This is a barrier that disproportionately impacts black, brown and poor families and now that it has been identified, it should be removed without any additional study necessary. It, in effect, allows the district to baby-step into the dual resides plan, accomplishing the same end result, but during this interim could still leave the decision-making ability up to the school’s principal. It would simply allow impacted students to apply, when in the past, they needed a 2.0 GPA and no behavior or discipline issues. For our West Louisville families, these are hurdles that were likely exacerbated by the discriminatory system in the first place.
“Guaranteed curriculum.” Please research Marzano’s guaranteed viable curriculum to explore if this concept can be incorporated into the above implementation of dual resides, hubs or any other emergency situations as we try to mitigate the remainder of this school year without gaps widening any more than they already are.
I do hope there will be a way for the public to submit 3 minute videos or join the zoom meeting on the evening the board intends to vote on such a historic decision. During this extraordinary time we are living in, in the midst of a pandemic and as ground zero participants in the movement for Black Lives (with Breonna Taylor and many other victims of police brutality and corruption being JCPS graduates), and on this day our mayor declared racism a public health crisis, I am proud to bear witness to one of the nation’s leading urban school districts also leading the way. Let’s continue to be a shining example of how to deconstruct and dismantle structural racism in public education.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Co-founder, Dear JCPS Co-founder, Save Our Schools KY Charter Member, Network for Public Education 2014 Governor’s Commonwealth Institute for Parental Leadership (GCIPL) Fellow Board Member, Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression Chair, Coalition for the People’s Agenda Education Committee Decision-Making Council
This is a DRAFT of our legislative priorities for 2020. We want your input! Please help us rank them and provide examples of each of the categories listed below. Suggested edits and additions also welcome.
ACHIEVING EDUCATIONAL JUSTICE in JCPS “with E’S”
FROM OUR JCPS BOARD MEMBERS & SUPERINTENDENT, we demand:
To the JCPS School Board: “Stop School Closures/Mergers in Black, Brown and Poor Communities; New Construction Should Not Be Based on Current Student Assignment Plan; Student Assignment Plan Should Come First!; Gather Authentic Community Feedback; Fight the State Takeover!”
JCPS is scheduled to be audited again in the Fall of 2020, where another state takeover recommendation is imminent. To prevent this from happening, an authentic, community-supported student assignment plan must be developed, we must prevent the closure of schools in black, brown and poor communities, and we must stop the dangerous merger of schools with high concentrations of poverty and trauma, including our two alternative schools, all of which further feeds the privatizers’ agenda and fuels the pipeline to prison.
Our current JCPS school board was elected by this community and is accountable to its voters. This power is at risk of being stripped away when the state returns to audit the district in the Fall of 2020. A state takeover of JCPS will enable a handful of state leaders who are intent upon executing their financial backers’ plan, against the will of the voters. These state leaders were not elected by us and they are not accountable to us, and there will be nothing we can do to stop this assault, unless we take action now.
We challenge our 7 elected-members of the JCPS school board to support the following:
Stop the closures and mergers of schools in black, brown and poor communities. Recognize this for what it is: an attack on public schools that serve our most vulnerable populations, straight out of the privatizers’ national playbook.
Look for opportunities to fight for equitable solutions for students in black, brown and poor communities. Seek to develop and finalize an authentic, community-supported student assignment plan before moving forward with any new construction based on the current, inequitable, student assignment plan. The committee’s ability to bring the board meaningful recommendations should not be restricted by decisions made prematurely, without their input.
Listen to the concerns of those serving our most vulnerable populations. Do not move forward with the dangerous consolidation of MDA and Breckinridge Metro. Put stakeholders on the renovation committee for Shawnee. Be intentional about using data gathering techniques that seek feedback from our most affected, most disenfranchised community members. There is currently no onramp for meaningful community input.
The Kentucky Alliance holds their People’s Agenda meetings every Sunday at 1:00 PM at the Carl Braden Center at 3208 W. Broadway. We invite the community, the media, and JCPS board members to come and participate in the dialogue, so that community input from the most affected community members is intentionally sought and incorporated into the final student assignment and facilities plans.
Showcase of Schools is Saturday at the ExpoCenter. @Dear_JCPS has partnered with Jefferson County Public Schools to ensure that parking fees do not prevent families in “non-neighborhood resides” districts from exploring and exercising their public school choice options. There will be free parking for West End families who do not have a resides school in their neighborhood (no dot in your color block shown on maps), along with with free shuttle rides to and from the ExpoCenter. If you live in one of these areas, contact us to obtain your free parking pass at 502-565-8397. You can also text your zip code to the same number, and we will send you a short survey and a digital parking pass. Your feedback will be provided to district leaders and student assignment committee members as they work to improve the student assignment plan.
Also, we are also looking for volunteers to help us knock on doors and conduct surveys as we conduct more outreach in the coming months. If you are interested in helping, complete this survey to sign up.
I received the attached email from board member Linda Duncan this morning. I wanted to share it with you, along with my response.
Thank you for your email.
As they say, “correlation does not equal causation.” Yes, gaps have widened, and yes, students have become less engaged. However, that doesn’t mean busing is to blame. There are many, many other factors that come into play. And this is where we need to be focusing our attention.
It’s also not an either/or scenario. As I explained to Rep. Kevin Bratcher (who sponsored the “Neighborhood Schools” Bill last session), by the board approving a Males of Color Academy, we have not “announced … that diversity is not the top value anymore.” Not at all. Families who want schools to provide Afro-centric curriculum and equity in instruction, discipline and opportunities has nothing to do with wanting to return to segregation. This should exist in ALL schools, but since it doesn’t, they are requesting we start with one. Why must families choose between diversity and equity?
Males of Color Academy is open to students of all races. Segregation by choice is not the same as segregation by force, or by lack of access. If disenfranchised families want this option, we should listen to why, but it doesn’t mean we should force it upon all. We all agree things must change, but that doesn’t mean the only way to do it is to return to segregation. It’s well past time to do the difficult work of revisiting the student assignment formula and process. It’s been a taboo subject no one wants to touch and that’s finally starting to backfire on us. The current student assignment process is not transparent, has significantly more hurdles for poor, minority students, and frankly, it’s discriminatory.
How can district leaders come to ANY conclusions without giving those most affected by busing an opportunity to be heard? I encourage you to talk to teachers and families in these downtown and West End schools. I encourage the district to engage in authentic dialogue with community members. Not just the ones who know how to advocate but the ones who are too busy overcoming systemic injustices to contact their board members and attend community forums. We must get out into the community and find out what people want to see happen here. We cannot defer to the ones who are the loudest, because some of the same folks who are promoting a privatization agenda have given a small sliver of the community a megaphone. They do not speak for the majority of people I encounter in my advocacy work.
Our student assignment plan is not perfect. But due to our segregated housing in Louisville, and lack of schools in the West End, busing is still needed. Approval of the Males of Color Academy should not be used as “justification” to end busing and take away opportunities that busing and integration provide to a greater number of students … not just students of color, but white students, as well.
White privilege is real. So is generational, institutionalized racism. Nowhere is it more prevalent than in our public school system. But often, those who make the rules have a hard time seeing how those rules can limit access to opportunity for others. While these issues are nothing to make light of, sometimes you need a hands-on approach to help white students or family members understand their privilege. We hope this example is of benefit to those who wish to approach these sensitive, yet undeniable, issues with an open heart and open mind. (Download a PDF of the flyer here.)
There are two sets of CARDS. Educational injustices experienced by students of color go in the FAT CHANCE pile (click here to print your own cards). Tax breaks, stock market gains, work bonuses, opportunities due to “who you know,” etc. go in the PRIVILEGED COMMUNITY CHEST.
They choose their TOKEN (the IRON, because it’s the only one that’s left), and the game commences.
When they notice that the board is not set up equitably, they complain. You respond with, “That’s in the past. We’re all equal now. Let’s play!“ You roll and proceed to move forward the correct number of spaces.
When a player lands on a “DRAW A CARD” SQUARE, you draw from PRIVILEGED COMMUNITY CHEST. Your opponent draws from the FAT CHANCE pile. These distinctly different stacks of cards represent the systemic disparities still in place from generations of targeting, profiling and redlining of the black community reflected in policies and norms throughout society today.
When your opponent lands on YOUR PROPERTIES, they pay you RENT. If you own all properties in a COLOR GROUP, their rent is DOUBLED.
When you land on THEIR PROPERTIES, same thing. Except, they probably don’t own any properties, you bought most of them (or inherited them) before they got there.
Eventually, they will inevitably land on one of your HOUSES or HOTELS and they won’t have enough cash to continue. If they happen to have purchased a property, they have the option to MORTGAGE their property to the bank in order to stay in the game. However, they only get half the LOAN AMOUNT on the back of the card.
When your opponent runs out of cash, they have to GO TO JAIL, while you continue to roll the dice until all assets have been acquired. If they complain about any of the rules, you say, “That was one of the rules that was decided on before you got here. Don’t like it? Get here earlier next time.”
OBJECT OF THE GAME:
To inspire whites to understand their privilege enough to research it and develop talking points so they can respond to others who try to marginalize it by saying racism or privilege don’t exist, and to commit to fight to create equitable learning opportunities for our children of color.
Credits: Created by Gay Adelmann. Inspired by Shelton McElroy and Jane Elliott.
Disclaimer: We realize this post will probably upset some of our white followers. However, in this current climate, and the increasing suffering of our students of color, we believe it’s a chance we must take. If you disagree with the examples presented in this post, it’s possible that you are not one of the ones impacted by them. The FAT CHANCE CARDS were created based on actual examples experienced by students of color in our district. These hurdles continue to happen every day in our schools. And we cannot end them until we acknowledge they exist.
Everyone should know by now that you all can only do “so much” due to a possible state takeover but at this point it doesn’t matter and let me explain to you why.
Charter schools are a radical change. Trying to legally segregate us again was an almost radical change. Approving the Dubious Academy was a radical decision (kudos) although seemingly very rushed and unorganized with some very stupid contingencies…but still very good nonetheless.
What are you all actually doing to help the other 30 thousand students of color? From what i see, NOTHING compared to simple things you can do. It is easier to approve a school and start one for a specific demographic than it is to teach culturally and historically accurate information to your teachers and students??? No no no no no. I do not for one second believe that mess. One bit!! I’ve visited a school or 2 with high concentrations of students of color and white teachers. I’ve been at other schools as well where its like walking in a mini university. I’m no professional in the field but correct me if I’m wrong in thinking that its easier to teach students who look like the people who write and sell the curriculum. African descendants built this country. My parents parents parents’ environment was manipulated in a way to create a perpetual cycle of poverty, maladaptive behavior, and a slower pace of growth than every other demographic. And we are seeing the manifestations of the social experiment of the “ghetto” (which was adopted from Adolf Hitler and given steroids) in today’s children and adolescents of color.
For starters, a simple way to begin to break the school to prison pipeline is teaching a real education with real facts. Not some europeanized lie that’s been perpetuated for HUNDREDS OF YEARS. You know, like the roman emperor names Septimius Severus who was from Africa. Who was born with heavily melenated skin. Or the man who created the machine to attach soles to shoes. Or the woman who created the ironing board. Or the fact that every major religion on the planet in our existence was started by melenated people. Or something as simple as making sure every map in every classroom that has and needs one shows the relative size of every continent. You know, the fact that America, China, India, and Europe, and Japan fit into the continent of Africa…All together. Or that Plato, Aristotle and their gang of philosophers gained the vast majority of their base knowledge and much more advanced knowlege from Africa. That Alexander the great was intimidated by Queen Candace of Ethiopia and instead of an invasion, he retreated before even going to war with her and her army. That the wealthiest human in history was Mansa Musa of Mali. Or that people from Africa sailed to the americas long before Columbus.
In no way am I saying anyone is better than anyone else, but why lie? Stop contradicting yourselves by saying, “We’re committed to equity” when you pay for books that teach lies. You want real change in the classrooms? Stop closing down schools that actually work. Teach your teachers diversity and empathy, as well as how its difficult to learn when you’re too hungry, tired, and/or wound up to learn from trauma. Fix the biased busing. Teach the truth. Equitably market the schools downtown. Create youth counselor positions for people who will be trained to teach emotional regulation and social skills for our students who live in poverty and affluent neighborhoods.
Of course teaching curriculum based not entirely off of white male fairy-tales will cause a ton of white flight. SO WHAT!!!
If you can’t teach relevant information that will change the perspective of how we view one another to a more positive one then you do not at all need to be teaching anyone’s child anything. Oh and ending the play-based school downtown was a stupid decision. You clearly missed the obvious fact that the schools leaders didn’t support it in the first place. You also missed that they clearly defied the board by not implementing the program like they were directed to. Also, I don’t see how smart of a decision it is to appoint the new CAO when she literally has only worked with 1/6 the students of color population that Louisville has. WAKE UP Pollio. White students get more than enough in this city from the school district. And now the person in charge of Title 1 and 2 funds is the same person who cannot give a moment of silence to 2 students? We cannot continue to be devoid of common sense.
So I leave you with this… Are you all really, truly within your soul committed to radical change? To level the playing field for the most miseducated and neglected? Because your actions say, “Of course not!”
My name is H.G., I am a freshman at Doss High School. I agree with busing for many reasons. If busing was to stop many families without transportation would be affected greatly. Families only want the best education for their children. If busing is the way to get their kids to a better school on time and efficiently why would you cancel that?
One reason I agree with busing is because, it gives all students opportunities to go to school in areas with more money. The diversity of schools is another reason, some say it raises test scores and balances the races between classrooms. Racial integration is a worthy goal and busing is an easy means to achieving these goals. Students will be able to become friends with kids who are unlike them and have different interests.
But busing isn’t all that is expected, there are some cons of busing too. Students are forced to be on the bus for hours at a time. It is also harder to be involved with after school activities if you live an hour or two away from your school and you want to go to a game or be in a sport it won’t be as easy as it is with a child that lives ten to fifteen minutes away. Children in higher socioeconomic areas naturally have more opportunities than with children who do not. It also can focus on where children go to school rather than the quality of their education.
Although busing has its ups and downs it’s a convenient way for kids in the east to go the west and vice-versa. Busing is an affordable way to achieve desegregation that only makes up about five percent of the operating cost of a school district once the system is in place. Desegregation diminishes many of these disparities and creates a more just society.
In conclusion busing is the way to go. It may have its downs but all around it’s the smartest choice. It will have less complaints and it will be equal for kids to go where they want to go.