"Males of Color" Magnet School, District Boundaries, Privatization of Public Education

Diversity Vs. Equity. Why Must We Choose?

I received the attached email from board member Linda Duncan this morning. I wanted to share it with you, along with my response.


Hi Linda,

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.

Yes, let’s change the formula. But let’s do it in a way that is equitable, transparent and inclusive. Let’s stop throwing our most vulnerable, most disenfranchised students and their families under the bus, literally. Let’s seek their input and give those paying the highest price a chance to lead the discussion for once. This is difficult work the JCPS community must do, not have dictated to us by lawmakers. Dear JCPS is ready to assist. Please let me know how we can help.

Thank you for your service, and again for reaching out.


"Males of Color" Magnet School, Accountability, Admin, Behavior/Discipline, District Boundaries, Magnet Review Process, Privatization of Public Education, Standardized Testing, Teacher Shortage, Vision: 2020


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.)


Set up your GAME BOARD. Give yourself cash, properties and hotels and houses, totaling $18,000. Your opponent gets the traditional $1,500 to start. This 12:1 disparity represents the median amount of wealth transferred from whites to their heirs, compared with African Americans.

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.”


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.

"Males of Color" Magnet School, Accountability, Admin, District Boundaries, Privatization of Public Education, Vision: 2020

JCPS = Allergic to Real Change

Dear JCPS,

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!”

Obi Negus

"Males of Color" Magnet School, Accountability

FCPS Parent Disputes Opinion Letter on Lexington’s CGW Academy

My name is Dr. Shambra Mulder, one of the FCPS parents that was named in an article that you published by an “anonymous” writer about the Carter G. Woodson.

First of all, I am appalled that you would allow someone to use people’s names in a public way. Had the person not hid their name I may have believed that their intent was not malicious.

Nevertheless, my primary problem with the piece is that it was a gross misinformation about something that is not that difficult to get accurate information.

To save time, I will share ONLY my social media reactions to the article:

1. Not sure of the definition of “Lexington Elite” because we are still Black and are reminded of that fact everyday in Lexington.
2. My son does not attend CGW but if he did it would because it the best school for him and it is his parent’s choice (unlike some of the “elite” programs in FCPS).
4. If all the kids on this list went to CGW they would make up less than 10% of the school’s population.
3. Why be anonymous- could it be be because you are being messy, racist, or just plain cowardly?

Fear is the at the root of everything when you try to block something that would benefit someone else!

The success of racial minorities do not equal the detriment of White people especially when the game is already stack against us (equity).

5. God is at the root of the success of the “Black Elites” and the success of CGW and Satan (or his children) will not stop it.

My other comments: I guess the boys that go CGW are supposed to be from single parent homes, poor, and thugs because that is how they see them.

I truly believe in this era of “fake news” folks just want to write/say things because they think people will believe it if it is in print.

Also if one is bold enough to write people’s name in the letter, the editor should make you report your name Anonymous (because you feel threatened or unsafe?)…lol.

This letter was published with the permission of the author. Dear JCPS believes it is important to share leads and feedback relevant to information being proposed by the administration in order to help our board make informed decisions. Additional responses can be posted on our Facebook page or emailed to moderator@dearjcps.com.

"Males of Color" Magnet School

Opinion: CGW Serves A Real “Who’s Who” List of Lexington Elites

Dear JCPS,

Take heed.

The Males of Color Academy that is being proposed for JCPS is modeled after the Carter G. Woodson Academy in Fayette County. CGW is a “specialized program” here in Fayette County that sounds good in theory, but, in my opinion, it is our first unofficial attempt at a Charter-like private school for children of color.  They tout it as being for “at risk” African American boys but, the kids that go there are a who’s who of district and local VIPs, including:

Jimmy Meadows, director of elementary schools

Darryl & Faith Thompson, Equity/SBDM, FCPS

Brian Hodge, Equity Council

Roy Woods, UWBG, former Equity Council chair

Ron Mack, Partners for Youth

Vince Mattox, former FCPS now at KyState University

Dr. Roger Cleveland, EKU Professor of Ed, CRTL trainer

James Brown, City Councilman

Rolanda Woolfork, UWBG, Give 10 Program

Russell and Jodi Ferguson,  church ties with Akins

David Cozart, current Equity Council chair and leader of the Fatherhood initiative (Cozart’s wife is also Admin Dean at CGW)

Tracy Curtis, NAACP

Dr. Michael Winkler, NAACP and a Radiologist at U.K.

The CGW application asks specifically about church affiliation which I believe to be a violation of church/state separation.  It is a well known fact that joining Akins church is a sure way to get into CGW, especially if you are capable of generous financial giving to the church.


The “at risk” youth are blocked out by the massive application process and the lack of affiliation with the church that CB Akins pastors.

The parental involvement requirement is impossible for many of the families that would most benefit.  In short, it is a private school where the elite boys of color can attend without the influence or interaction with the REAL “at risk” peers.

And that’s a pity.

For what it’s worth,
Anonymous FCPS Stakeholder

NOTE: This information was submitted to Dear JCPS and although the post’s author is anonymous, they are not anonymous to us. The identity of the person who submitted the info is withheld in order to protect their identity. Additional feedback is welcome at moderator@dearjcps.com.

"Males of Color" Magnet School

Regarding the “Males of Color” School Proposal

Dear JCPS Board Members, Superintendent and District Leaders:

Several parents, teachers, staff, administrators, students, community members have contacted us with questions and concerns regarding the proposed WEB DuBois school for “males of color.” We are hoping that you can provide us with answers to the following more urgent questions:

  1. Where will the school be housed?
  2. When is the board expected to vote on this proposal?
  3. Will there be opportunities for public input via community forums?
  4. When was the public first made aware of this proposal (prior to the work session)?
  5. How long has the board known about it?
  6. How can we possibly expect to be ready to open this school in 2017-2018 and be sure all the controls are in place and questions are answered in order for it will be successful, and not another failure like so many half-baked proposals we’ve seen in recent years?
  7. Dr. Marshall said this proposal was to “address some of the inequities that we’ve talked about for years, … It’s the next natural step on what we’re working on as far as equity and in closing the achievement gap.” Please explain how this proposal will this address inequities and close the achievement gap?
  8. What did Dr. Marshall mean when he said this proposal was a “big step for the board?” Where did this idea come from? The board or the administration?

Also, in case you missed it, please provide the community with answers to the following list of questions from Louisville School Beat.

And please review and respond to this list of Questions and Comments From Stakeholders, which is constantly being updated and added to.

And also, please consider this letter from one of our very own teachers who teacher in a priority school.

Non-Negotiables Could Make ANY School a SUPERSCHOOL

We look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you.


"Males of Color" Magnet School

More Questions and Comments From Stakeholders

Dear JCPS submitted the following open letter to JCPS Board Members, Superintendent and District Leaders Regarding the “Males of Color” School Proposal. The letter contains the a link to the following collection of questions and concerns that have been submitted to Dear JCPS since the work session on Aug. 23, where a magnet for “males of color” was proposed. (Posted 8/28/16 8:16 PM/Revised 8/29/16 8:04 AM)

Using the argument that a school like this in Lexington is successful (and making the assumption that would translate to JCPS) may be irrelevant. For example, is Lexington a district of choice like JCPS is? Do they have district-wide forced busing? Is the busing strictly taking primarily african american students out of their neighborhoods? How many students does the Lexington district serve? How many of those are FRL? How does the entire district’s racial and socioeconomic makeup compare to JCPS?

Is this school faith-based?

The principal said it is a “school within a school.” Is that what you’re planning for WEB DuBois? What would that look like?

What will the application and selection process look like? Doesn’t that self-select only students who have parents with the ability to navigate the complex system?

In Dr. Marshall’s presentation, he testified how during one of his visits to CGW, he saw a student who was not behaving. The student was “sent home to get his mind right” and later came back and was engaged and cooperative. Research shows that sending kids home from school does more harm than good. Is this an approach that would be used here?

How/when will the negotiate with JCTA about ideas for teacher incentives? Will these incentives be offered to other teachers at other schools? What is the purpose of tracking scores back to the students’ resides schools? How can you hold schools accountable for the scores of students they don’t even teach?

There have been so many recent failures, such as the Catalpa school, Maupin and Atkinson Elementary, Frost, Valley Prep, Myers Middle School, as well as broken promises for schools like Shawnee Middle School that was voted unanimously by the board to be magnet only, and within a year had a resides. These situations lead to disasters with qualified teachers leaving and students getting the raw end of the deal. The district sent tons of manpower to Maupin just to keep it safe. What happens if this is another half-baked plan or when “non-negotiable” promises are broken? Even if this proposal was the greatest thing since sliced bread, we DON’T TRUST the district to do what it is proposing.

I might be alone in this, but I feel like this is structured like a private school. It serves a very defined and limited population. Public school funds should be spent on programs and initiatives that improve education for everybody, not a select few. Maybe there is a need for a school like this, but if your school doesn’t serve everybody it shouldn’t be funded with public money.

Someone mentioned using this school as a catalyst. A learning opportunity. No longer have to go to another city to see the example. We would have a successful school right here in our own district that we could learn from. “Yeah. Because we do that so well…” (sarcasm).

The presentation said that the CGW school makeup reflects the overall current school system. Does that include alternative students? Low advocacy students? Poverty? IEPs. Special needs? FRL?

What is the “exiting” process? What percentage?

Explain the tracking of the scores to the resides. Why? What is the advantage/disadvantage? How does that compare to magnet students at Manual, Male, etc?

Marshall’s presentation said the success is due to/dependent upon community based effort. And you “have to have a strong parent piece.” This would be true of existing schools. Why not get them involved with schools that are already struggling?

Don’t you think there could be other factors (such as busing) that may be preventing community and parental involvement in our current schools? Why not remove those hurdles instead of creating a brand new school?

And what about kids with IEP’s. Are they taking any of those kids? What percentage?

This isn’t really a question but I think it does say a lot about this man’s confidence in his own ability to lead turnaround efforts for young men of color, considering he’s not willing to take behavior issues or a high level of poverty. He doesn’t have an innovative idea. He has the same idea every teacher in this country has been asking for, only we’ve been told that we should believe that all students can learn and if they are failing it is our fault and we need to do better.

I really don’t see where this school helps anyone who actually needs help. It looks like to me that this school would be set up to be a model – look what happens when we put handpicked students in the best environment and give them everything they need to be excellent students. The question then becomes: If this is how to build good schools, why aren’t we striving for ALL our schools to look like this?

The more we create opportunities that siphon “select” kids from the general population, the more we leave behind higher and higher concentrations of “everyone else”. Even one of Dr. Marshall’s non-negotiables is no high concentrations of poverty. Yet, by creating a school that caters to this desire, we are exacerbating the very situations we acknowledge should not be allowed to persist. How is that EQUITABLE?

To me, this sounds like a charter school funded by JCPS. Will the kids who do not conform be sent back to their JCPS resides school? I would think that the school would want to keep their scores to show success, but then how successful is it if you take the cream of the crop? Success, in my opinion, is taking high poverty, low performing students, naming and claiming them, and showing by their test scores that the trajectory of their lives have been changed.

i just don’t understand why they are not doing something for more at risk youth…give them massive support. i would be all over supporting that! They want suggestions…here is one. Workplaces all over the country have discovered that having an exercise room boost employee effectiveness by 10-15%…how about the same for schools? Pilot it in a few high poverty to see what the baseline change would be for those schools.

But it is self exclusionary for at risk kids who would meet all the criteria except the parental piece. You could have a brilliant kid with inadequate parents who don’t know how to apply him and aren’t going to be involved at the school. So kids will be denied just based on who they are born to. How is that going to help those kids when they will lose out through something they have no control over? It’s a huge missed opportunity. Why not have 5th grade teachers be the ones to identify and recommend kids to this school model and you can take them with or without parental support. That will be how you change the system

Yes. And then it focuses on what the child can do rather that the circumstances the child was born into. And JCPS could even make it a sense of pride “your child has been recommended to this school. This is a great opportunity blah blah blah…” It takes the idea out of the equation that the parent EXPECTING that their child deserves to be in the school

After reading the article, I disagree with this plan. It is segregation. Instead of a school of color, how about teaching more true history at All schools?!
We need more than a black history month, we need inclusion of the true history of this country.
The economy of the world is global. Trying to start a school of color doesn’t make sense to me.
The first step in saying we are ALL equal is inclusion.
Just because blacks have had lower scores does not mean they should all be in a special school. Color is not intelligence. There are ways to reach out to students and not put them outside of typical schools.

I still think it is what we can do within the schools we have now that can make a difference.
I truly can say when I was young, all my classmates were white. Then forced busing came and I had people of color in class. And it has made me a better person to know others with a differing upbringing, outlook and history.
I still say black history needs more acknowledgement in school. Hell, all cultures need to be expressed.
I really don’t want a separate school to be the slippery slope for folks to say segregation is better…

I don’t want to simply reject it out of hand but I have 2 key concerns: How does this help address the systemic issue of racial disparities in our district, not just with academic performance but also with discipline and other things. There will be plenty of black male students who won’t be attending this school so I don’t see this as “the answer” to solving problems of racial disparity. Second, how are students going to be selected for the school? Will it be like magnets and even transfer requests which basic requirements automatically disqualify students who struggle the most? If so, I find that problematic as well – the students who need the most help will continue to fall through the cracks.

I don’t feel like they should be excluded due to not having parents that will be involved. Im sure there are lots people in education that would step into this role for the simple fact of seeing these kids succeed.

I am not in favor of any proposal that further strips my school of students. In a selective program that can mandate “parent accountability” or else, the child gets kicked back to resides- its a horribly inequitable playing field for my kids. We cannot mandate parent accountability “or else”. We teach who walks in. We are making good strides with SIG grants, special consideration for priority schools not to take overstaffs and have more say on their hiring practices, holding them harmless if enrollment declines- strides but still a long way to go.

Seriously!! Those young men would most likely be successful anywhere!

Yes, so why aren’t we already doing these things in our schools? This is what teachers have been saying for years that they need. Why do we need to create a new academy and make it application only when all we really need to do is adequately fund our schools and provide necessary supports to kids from poverty.

But these wouldn’t be kids from poverty…at least most would not be…

In a perfect JCPS world, ALL students of ALL backgrounds would receive the best education possible. However, for many reasons (school, parents, economics, etc), that doesn’t always occur. While this particular school idea would not be an option for my family (we are at the best schools in JCPS, are proud and happy), I can see where a school of this nature will benefit some. This may not be the answer. However, thinking out of the box and exploring methods that cater to current times should never be over looked. For the record, I am an extremely active volunteer in the school system.

But they don’t want high concentrations of poverty…so they want to leave out our most vulnerable MOC. Why? Because it’s hard to educate kids when there’s a high concentration of poverty? Hm. Well my school had about 90% as of last year.

A point to keep an eye is get the zip code where these students come from or what is their resides schools and trend the performance of those schools over time that their resides population is cherry picked. I suspect we will see those schools performance decline.

Already happens with the schools we have.

Why not work on getting the tools these schools need to tackle these problems so we stop failing these children.

And then take the performance of the academy and fold its number in that resides school and I bet the decline affect goes away. What this would mean is all you did is shift students from one school to another in order to produce one superior student population.

That sounds very familiar to several schools we already have.

And let ask this rhetorical question: how does doing this help solve the issue? I would conjecture it makes it worse because the failing of the resides population will now be covered up by one exception student population. This effect is already happening with the magnet programs

Sounds familiar….wait…wasn’t that the plan for Shawnee Middle?

This idea has been floating since the Dewey Hensley days. When they were talking about closing gheens to offices this was one project that was discussed filling the building. I could say a million things about how the students “chosen” would have been successful anywhere they went to school…..but it has been said already. If anyone thinks this is not a done deal…..they wrong. It has a name and a Twitter page already.

On paper it sounds like a good idea but I fear getting it off the paper and getting the right people are two different things. We’ll see.

I wonder if anyone is going to file legal action seeking an order of injunction. You fight the SCOTUS over being able to use race as a means to diversify schools…and then this?? I mean really??

What about Title IX? Are we going to have a separate school for girls of color? They have been using the term “males of color” but when asked by Toni Konz about race for enrollment, JM stammered that any race could apply. Really???? We need to be teaching these concepts in ALL our schools, especially accurate and comprehensive black history and not just show Roots for a month and consider that black history.

I do think there are plans for the same for girls.

We have a middle school for boys and one for girls. The Olmsteds. We just don’t get the special conditions that this school is asking for. We do and are capable of teaching an “athro-centric curriculum” if given the training and resources to do so.

JCPS needs to be looking at the West End School right here in Louisville. It is a tuition free private school for at risk “males of color”, but they could learn a lot from this school.

Brilliant! I want to teach there! A perfect school! Lol!

Why is it OK for this school to be allowed to “require” parents to visit the school 4 times a year…but others can not nor enforce any type of consequence???

I wonder how many alt cert, long term sub, or new teachers will be employed there…

I thought they were trying to get rid of schools that hand picked students? Schools like Manual….and breaking the traditional models? I don’t understand what is so much different except that it will concentrate on a black male population? Now I’m confused…..

By trying to change the application process (the last attempt seemed to fail just because of strong parent protest) they are essentially getting rid of them. I have wondered if there was a connection between the abandonment of the 8th grade ACT Explore and the proposal to lower the requirements for manual and then have a lottery.

Rumor has it that those were some of the top things on her agenda when Donna got here…getting rid of the magnet programs and the alternative schools…remember the Manual parents created quite the uproar??

They did the Magnet Schools of America audit, which found that except for Manual, JCPS “magnets” are not really magnets because they have resides populations.

Can someone explain to me why poverty would exclude a student from this DuBois school?

How is this not “separate but equal”???

So we bus to desegregate schools but now we are creating a completely segregated school?

Schools are just as segregated as before with bussing because of advanced and comp classes, but we see diversity on paper when you look at the overall school population.

As long as it’s not a charter. I worry that students will be booted back from this program like they are from the Private Public Schools now. As a teacher who deals with the kids who “fail” out of traditional and it turns out they are perfectly well behaved, just performing under the school’s goal, I’ve seen the devastating effects of exclusive programs that then weed out under performing children. I also think that with the involvement required of the parents, these selected students would thrive at any school. We have to do better for our students of color, but I’m not sure adding another exclusive program is the answer.

I have mixed feelings about this also. If it would be targeted at students with home problems, as in living in dangerous neighborhoods, or even being homeless, then I would be in favor of it.

Anytime JCPS discusses doing something, i just automatically know it will not be done well.
That’s been true for the past 20-30 years. But then again, that was before Dear JCPS. 😉

The school that they are trying to emulate is a great school. However, it’s not different from a traditional school, or Brandeis, or from any east end school. Those students at the Lexington has high expectations and so does the parents. Parent involvement is expected or their child cannot attend.

So with that being said Are only the male students that are already excelling going to be able to attend this school? The others that really need the help and don’t have parental backing will not be allowed. Those are the ones that need the support. I’m confused on what they are trying to accomplish with this school.

Segregation was forced. Students would apply to this school like they do magnet schools. Before u count it out study the success of these model schools in other states and even here in ky. The school is Lex has been highly successful. Young African American males are in crisis and if this is executed properly and implemented effectively it can be totally awesome for jcps. Training is also imperative. These schools deal with the whole student…..physical, mental, psychological, emotional. Many of these model.schools boast 90-100% graduation and college reqdiness. More than 90% go on to finish college and more than half receive full scholarships. Let’s not get so hung up on the way wdrb worded it and focus more on the amazing impact this can have on a very vulnerable population. Look at the West end school
….amazing things taking place down there!

Consider The West End school as a model as well. It’s private but has similar goals.

I would say a percentage of AA males (in inner city neighborhoods) are in crisis — not all. That comes from the lack of support systems which is a generational issue. You are right about college preparedness.

Here’s my thought. I’d rather see JCPS trying to address the needs of student populations that are struggling in a public school setting than seeing the phony saviors of charter schools creating similar schools that have less accountability and transparency.

I wish they’d stop doing this kind of thing so close to the time decisions on it have to be made.

I don’t know how I feel about this. I see lots of positives but push back from the community. There are non-students of color who receive better schools and opportunities in comparison to those who are. The West End School does a fantastic job in engaging young boys / men. If JCPS is truly here for helping disadvantaged kids, I’m here for it.

What this says to me is “we’ll only teach adequate history to African Americans but continue to perpetuate a lie to everyone else.

What troubles me is that something that needs quick action once again has no plan set before the board prior to presentation. This is a pattern that seems intentional to force the board into decisions without enough time to get community input or make an educated decision.

Went to the meeting, and this is what I’ve gathered: It seems that Jcps, no America as a whole will never make it mandatory for adequate, and accurate African American and African history in its public schools and the only way that children of color can get real history taught to them in an unbiased and non-whitewashed way is if we (African descendants) teach our own. That’s a fact. Here’s where I’m mildly conflicted: Whats the point of teaching our own the truth if everyone else around us is continuing to be taught lies and unfairly biased history. That’s social programming and while our children of color will be the only non brainwashed individuals around. Being taught about true African history and it’s almost infinite benefits to the world now, everyone else will be learning about Christopher Columbus’ barbaric self and his onslaught of a land that had tribes and not States.

Is this change in curriculum the only difference from other public schools? Or do they propose different teaching/learning approaches as well?

I want to see a major shift. Im so over small change at this point. I don’t care about 2 classrooms…that’s so few students of African descent that you can’t even count that as an acceptable percentage. It’s not MANDATORY in America to teach HISTORY. It’s mandatory to Eurocentric perspective though.

Even teachers who don’t want to teach history outside of a European perspective knows american history is really about how white America became so wealthy.

I’ve helped many kids from an alternative school with their homework who were only being taught about slavery, MLK, Rosa Parks, and the civil rights movement. There’s so much more. I’m telling you I’ve sat in the classrooms of an alternative school and have seen the watered down work myself…it is one school, and it’s not every teacher but I’m more concerned with the one sided history being taught than your classroom. I’m concerned with the masses. Not just a few. You can keep taking this personal, but it’s a stain on a wall compared to the amount of emotion I carry everyday knowing how biased our society is. I guarantee you that while your efforts are noble, the curriculum (which you have no idea what I know about) is still way off…like I said, I’ve seen lots of the assignments…

If this is such an amazing school, why will test scores track back to resides schools instead of DuBois being accountable?

Wouldn’t it be nice to have “mandated” parental involvement in all schools, too?

Yeah, I think more parent support and parent programs would be beneficial as opposed to yet another program my students can get kicked out of and sent back to me broken and exhausted.

Well, I went with an open mind. And now I have a list of about 12 concerns. The primary one being, anyone can be successful with these things they’ve outlined. Why would we create even more disparities between those who can navigate and advocate and those who cannot?

Everyone’s history and culture should be taught in all schools. We need to teach the true history and not the whitewashed version from elementary through high school. That’s been a problem forever and now that they realize this is a good way to educate students of color, let’s do this everywhere. Hire teachers who can teach this and put them in all public schools. Can this be done?

If they only take “students of color” who behave, make good grades and scores, and have parents who care-then it’s a joke. These kids do well where they are. If they take the behavior problems-the ones with poor grades-poor scores-parents who never participate–then let’s see if it works.

Instead of “parents who never participate” let’s go with majority of parents who “can’t” participate.

Anyone can ask for a curriculum map to know what is being taught in history classes in schools. That should certainly be shared with parents of students if they inquire. The social studies standards are being rewritten in KY and they have been worked on for years now because no one can agree what should be taught. I participated in a focus group session in 2014 to work on the standards and I challenged some of the language used to communicate concepts. One I challenged was participation and deliberation: applying civic virtues and democratic principles which, in short, stated in order to evaluate how citizens SHOULD (my emphasis) interact with each other in formal institutions and informal interactions. I asked what SHOULD meant? According to whom? The law? It didn’t say. European descendants? It didn’t say. I felt like it was coming from a white perspective. In 3rd grade, they were going to teach how citizens responsibly participate in democratic processes and practice civic responsibility. For those people who feel like they are part of a democracy, maybe. For those who aren’t? Not in my opinion. I felt they were too fluid and could avoid teaching the truth if a teacher wanted to focus on the whitewashed history. I learned true history when I went to college. Never before. The book Michael references, “Lies My Teacher Told Me” is an excellent book to read and anything by Howard Zinn should be required reading.

There are many unanswered questions and assumptions I see within the limited presentation given. If the goal is to provide support for success of students of color, shouldn’t be more specific about how they’re being underserved and how this plan will address it? If your goal is to open this school with lofty goals in less than a year, shouldn’t we have more than a PowerPoint slide and a few presentation boards? There should be a full plan AND a principal and support staff in place with a workable plan and information about how his will be prepped for success.

I am still sitting on this and I have 3 African American sons and teach. I see pros and cons… I still need some time to digest this information.

My son’s school started a middle school 3 years ago. It was to be a magnet only. It required an application to get in. Parental involvement was a must. It was a lot of these things they listed. But a year later JCPS broke their promise. So I don’t trust them to implement. My other thing is, ANY school can be successful if they have this list of non-negotiables. You’re not doing anything but moving student mix around. This is another shell game. And thirdly (or is that fourthly?), the history and lens they are proposing needs to be taught at EVERY school.

JCPS has an all male academy at Olmsted, so an all male academy isn’t needed. Teaching through the lens of AA culture is a great idea, but by selecting only a few to receive that education further perpetuates the racism and segregation we are trying to eliminate.

This concept is about test scores and funding, not education. It’s about taking some of the most vulnerable kids in our district and making them high profile pawns in someone’s ego trip.

My proposal? Let’s revamp the history curriculum for ALL JCPS. Do away with the whitewashing. Teach all kids the truth. It gives white kids perspective. It gives kids of color a sense of inclusion. And it levels the playing field.

You want diversity in this district? Then put your money where your mouth is. Quit making kids travel all over hell and high country. Bring all schools up to a level of quality that kids can be proud of their heritage and homes.

The LAST thing we need in this community is another way to segregate.

I don’t care how you try to market this idea, it’s segregation. It’s George Wallace remade into John Marshall with a lot of buzzwords and politically correct rhetoric.

Are they kids at risk with all of the non-negotiables??

Federal court ruling says JCPS cannot assign schools on race alone. So JCPS has kept this asinine bus program and assigned based on parental education and socioeconomic status, ostensibly. Take those factors out and make them “non negotiables”. Now you’re assigning on color.

So how does would this school help them be less at risk? I was thinking at risk academically, which wouldn’t make sense either, since they did mention something about non novice students, right?

Again, weren’t these types of students NOT what the population would look like?

Unfortunately, in this country, race jumps to the front of the line when it comes to decisions made by others. And I’m speaking from watching 2 well- off women of color raise their sons in our society. One has lost her 2 oldest to murder. The other is struggling with how to raise her boy so he’s not another statistic. Let me clarify: both moms live in middle class neighborhoods. They are employed. Active in church, school, and community. Both are married. Both have family support system. Their boys would all be shoo-ins to this academy. Except, well, 2 of them are no longer with us.

And could you imagine if it was a school for persons of non-color??? What if I said I wanted my kids with only white kids who were not living in poverty, not behavior problems, had parent accountability?? Oh my goodness, I can’t imagine the backlash!!! Of course, we do have those kinds of schools, and they are private schools where most all of the kids are white, middle to upper middle class, behavior problems are shown the door, parents ARE accountable, but you have to pay for it. This is soooooo unfair to single out one population to be given the red carpet treatment. Sorry, again ALL students deserve this type of learning environment.

I think you are forgetting that African-Americans have LONG been victims of discrimination in education. It is whites who are privileged. I object to this DuBois school for a different reason. It does NOT help the kids who need it most. Those are the kids – black AND white, Hispanic, etc. who live in poverty stricken neighborhoods, with high crime, and very limited mobility in terms of bettering themselves. If we are going to have a special school, it should be for those kids.

Perhaps JCPS is looking down the barrel of a governor who wants to hand tax dollars to men who want to create charter schools just like being proposed.

Exactly what I said yesterday. The students that would be chosen for this school are the ones who don’t really need a lot of help. If they are to implement a school of this nature it needs to be for males that have NO support system. Most of them just need to be accepted. Made to feel like they are part of something. They need to be actually held accountable for their actions. No matter how hard you try to get these parents involved for most of these kids is simply impossible. They need teachers , councilors , and the entire staff to step in for these kids. I know it’s not their job but I feel that there are plenty educators out here that would not mind to step into these roles if it meant these boys would succeed and make something out of there lives. Discipline is JCPS’s biggest problem. The students that they want to go to this school are going to succeed no matter where they are. So NO NO NO we do need this type of school.

My son goes to a middle school that was just started 3 or 4 years ago and we were promised some of the same things mentioned in the outline of this school. No resides and no high poverty. Among other things like amazing clubs and lots of things that would move along the lines of their magnet program. We were LIED to. We now have resides, hardly any discipline, and very little magnet related opportunities.

How do you pay teachers to make them teach longer and better, and what does that even mean? It’s not quantifiable.

What does “above adequate” mean? What is “stay faithful to the plan” when he didn’t even have his one PowerPoint slide ready a day before the meeting?

Is Saturday transportation provided?

My daughter went to Shawnee Middle. We got all these promises of what they would do and they did nothing. I had to put her in private school this yr.

Is there data for Carter Woodson showing it’s improving results?

And not just on the kids who attend but overall? What about the kids who get left behind in higher concentrations of poverty? Is their district as large? Full of choice like us?

The presentation seems to say “our schools and teachers suck, this won’t”.

I agree. Manual, Meyzeek, and Noe have done a lot of damage to other middle and high schools.

This list of questions and concerns is evolving. Please check back often. If you have a question and you don’t already see it listed above, please email it to moderator@dearjcps.com.

"Males of Color" Magnet School, Vision: 2020

Non-Negotiables Could Make ANY School a SUPERSCHOOL

Dear JCPS,nonnego

If someone came up to me and said, “Can you make a school full of African American boys that gets outstanding test scores?” I would say, “If that’s the kind of school you want, I can make it happen. I have a list of non-negotiables: It must be a full-district magnet without a resides. It can’t be a school you send kids with bad behavior. It can’t have high levels of poverty. I need a good counseling staff, teacher pay incentives, and full access to any needed resources. Oh, and it needs to have a high-level of parental involvement, and having kids for additional enrichment time would be good, also.”

If they honored these “non-negotiables,” I could build a school with parental involvement, relatively low poverty, low behavior incidents, more-than-adequate resources and I could hand-pick my students and get rid of anybody who didn’t meet my standards. I would be able to build a SUPERSCHOOL.

I could create an ideal school for a small handful of students who will probably be successful at whatever school they attend. I will drain the best and the brightest from the other schools in Jefferson County. This school, on paper at least, would just kick so much ass. It would give Manual a run for its money, because it would basically do what Manual does — hand-pick the best students from across the district and exit anyone who steps out of line. I wouldn’t take kids with lots of discipline issues or from high concentrations of poverty. On top of that, the only students who could get into my school would be the ones whose parents already have the means and the engagement to give up a Saturday every month to be involved with the school and its staff.

The kids in poverty, the traumatized students, the students who don’t have the involvement at home for a variety of reasons — those kids will be left behind. They’re the ones who need the most help and they will be tossed aside; someone else’s problem.

I would pluck the shining stars out of every school in Louisville and bring them to my school. There, they will continue their trajectory of success… success that they’re likely to achieve wherever they go because they already have many advantages. But there will be empty desks at Frost. There will be empty desks at TJ and Knight and Farnsley and Moore and Highlands and Westport. And the students who once looked to these peers as an example to model and learn from will not have that positive influence anymore.

Having said ALLL of that, let me just say for the record that I don’t actually have a problem with the concept of an Afrocentric school specifically for young men of color. That doesn’t really bother me the way that it seems to bother many others. I know that even the most successful black students face roadblocks and hardships that do not typically affect even the most mediocre white students. But a young black man who comes from a middle-class background and has parents with the means and the inclination to give up at least one Saturday every month being involved in the school… that student has advantages many of his peers couldn’t begin to dream of. If I fill a school with this type of student, *of course* it will be successful. I’d be much more impressed by a school that took 100 of the most troubled students living with some of the worst trauma you can imagine, and helped them become successful. Where are the non-negotiables for THAT school?

JCPS Teacher