Police Free Schools, Privatization of Public Education, Teacher Shortage

JCPS: A District Under Siege

Not everything is as obvious as it seems

Image source: WFPL

If a swarm of armor-clad SWAT team members, chest deep in bullet-proof-vests, some reportedly carrying weapons “bigger than themselves,” storming Kentucky’s most prestigious “private public” high school the morning after a hotly contested Governor’s election doesn’t strike fear into your veins, nothing will.

What’s even more curious to this observer, who spoke to eye-witnesses and insiders last night and this morning, is that there’s been little to nothing else said about it since (other than a curious statement condemning “domestic terrorism” from JCTA). The rumors that it was politically motivated or an “incel” who was pissed about the election outcomes, or even that it was “AI” (whatever that suggests, other than no one to hold accountable), have already been drowned out by the usual street traffic of the day.

I have questions. Lots of questions.

Here’s a “SWATTING of Manual” timeline I’ve been working on, as well as some theories and outstanding questions we need to be thinking about. I hope you’ll help me stay on top of this until we get honest answers and regain our confidence that those making life or death decisions that impact our children are capable of doing so. Let’s “contact trace” our way to what led to the SWATTING of the sanctuary school for our city’s elite. Was it targeted, to send a message? And if so, by whom?

Did someone, a computer, even, call in the threat?

Could the whole thing have been staged? An inside job, perhaps?

Maybe even by a small faction or criminal gang within the police force? We’ve heard of fire fighters also being arsonists. Maybe the call was orchestrated by the dark underbelly of the force, to generate fear and a sense of helplessness so that they could come in and “save the day.” In addition to boosting morale with a success story, the media will make them into heroes.

I know what you’re thinking. Tin foil hat time, right?

Well, we can’t rule it out, and here’s why:

We know local, state and federal police were involved in picking off Omari Cryer (except instead of SWAT, they got US Marshals to pull the trigger, literally) when VICE News broke their story, “Money and Drugs Go Missing,” exposing evidence of their possible motives in Breonna Taylor’s murder.

 

Then there’s also the curious assassination of lion-hearted activist Travis Nagdy when he alerted activists and protestors that one of LMPD’s own had just shot and killed an innocent, unarmed white man in a predominately Black neighborhood at the height of the protests in 2020. These are the same protests following the wave of police killings that led to extended occupations of cities like Seattle, and to some degree, Louisville already. One more time being caught red-handed would surely result in significantly more outrage and potential violence and damage, all of which would be on LMPD’s murderous hands!

There’s historical evidence police have targeted and terrorized the people of Jefferson County relentlessly. Let’s look at the riots of 1968, which not only led to the murder of James Groves by LMPD, the wrongful arrest of the Black Six and the destruction of Black owned businesses, homes and wealth. There’s also the case of the misidentified four in 2014, one of whom was the cousin of US Senate Candidate Charles Booker, who was mysteriously murdered following an embarrassing wrongful arrest conviction and settlement. Not to mention the targeting, bullying and intimidation of Metro Council Member Jecorey Arthur the night he voted against their contract. Here he spoke about it at a Metro Council Meeting, along with a dozen OTHER examples not covered here.

 

And, of course, there’s the murder of Breonna Taylor, the ENTIRE DOJ REPORT and the BOTCHED GRAND JURY TRIAL — that same one that cost Daniel Cameron the governorship Tuesday night — which confirms, in writing, by the highest-ranking legal authority in the nation, that our allegations are indeed true, that the department acts in ways that violate its citizens’ rights, and to date, have experienced nothing more than a slap on the wrist, to charges which they still declared they were innocent. 

I keep hearing everyone at the top, middle and bottom say parents, students and employees need to be held accountable. Meanwhile, we’ve got our police, our elected, and appointed officials avoiding their own role, for which they are handsomely paid, unlike the scapegoats they blame. Tell me again how things will be different going forward when nothing changes, and there is zero accountability at the top? Let’s start there!

And, given WHERE we are (deep red Trump Territory) and the VOLATILE TIMES we are living in, as the last of the “election deniers” and cult followers desperately cling to the final shred of “truth” they’ve been led to believe for nearly a decade, while their “anointed one” sits on trial, we must consider the possibility that JCPS is being held hostage by those put their political or professional careers, white nationalism or worse, ahead of our students, schools and access to a free, quality public education for all.

It’s terrorism, alright. But the perpetrators may be hiding among us. In plain sight.

Another insider I spoke with today reminded me about all the Class D Felonies involving possible sex, drugs and human trafficking involving minors in JCPS, which a teacher mom uncovered at Manual. We talked about how it was swept under the rug after that parent and I took it up the channels, to school administration, district leaders, the school board, the FBI, and anyone who would listen. No one did.

Or DID THEY?

The human trafficking ring rumors seemed to keep coming back to coaches all over the district. It even involved the 17-year old refugee student who was in elementary school, apparently so he could play on sports teams and a donation would be kicked back to the foster/guardian’s non-profit, or something. Some of these guardians were also reported to be coaches! We shared what we knew about Manual with FBI, DOJ, and Homeland Security. And then BOTH Stoner brothers came under scrutiny weeks apart, while working as coaches at Manual. These are a lot of crimes, and these are just the ones we ARE hearing about! Not to mention the whole embarrassing Jerry Mayes debacle.

Maybe something is finally moving on these crimes. Maybe yesterday’s “SWATTING” was really a “raid with good optics.” What if the police went in and secured the building long enough to gather the evidence they need, and JCPS politely went along with it because the truth is much harder to explain. Maybe, just maybe, all the crimes we’ve been experiencing, witnessing and reporting are finally being uncovered.

I’m STILL hearing the principal at Manual was PISSED that he was not informed of the plans. I’m wondering if Van Hoose was, and judging by how well rehearsed their spokesperson was, and with an out of the ordinary, premature blaming statement from JCTA, if I was a betting person, I’d say they all knew. But at the school level, by all accounts, it was a surprise attack. What it if turns out it was a warrantless, “no-knock” search of the school? Like the “good old days!” At least, in this case, no one was shot and killed. Not even the “bag man.” But this time, the cops and their accomplices will come out smelling like a rose, as long as no one snitches. Because they have it all planned out.

Or maybe all of the above is just wishful thinking. Maybe some nutjob really did phone it in like a dickless coward, SWAT swooped in and saved the day, and all the crimes we keep hoping someone will uncover will continue happening at the expense of our children and taxpayers. Meanwhile, Brent McKim, the white man who won’t quit, will stay in power of the teachers’ union just long enough for the GOP to kick the last leg of the stool out from under us, even though a new president will have been elected. By the time she takes the helm, there will nothing but rubble and ashes left. The so-called Manual teacher and his “deeper learning” pit crew, have spent more time rubbing elbows with Mitch McConnell (another Manual grad) than they have wiping noses in a classroom. What is this, some kind of cult or secret society? By the way, these are the same dozen or so people who have been running the teachers union into the ground for the past two decades or more. They act like they think they work for JCPS, not their members, and upon further inspection, many of their players appear to have been recruited from out of state, have taken shortcut routes into their roles, and have ties to privatizers. They abuse their power to game the system in order to STAY out of the classroom, but they think they know how to represent teachers? Haven’t they done enough damage? Isn’t it time for change?

If you or someone you know is interested in running for JCTA Executive Office, as VP, Secretary or Treasurer, please contact moderator@dearjcps.com for support or endorsement requests.

Pattern or Practice, Privatization of Public Education, Safe Return to School, Standardized Testing, Teacher Shortage

What’s in a Tweet?

On Wednesday, June 29, 2022, I was lured to Twitter by a random notification that Louisville’s illustrious junior education reporter had Tweeted something we all needed to keep our eyes on. Turns out, it was about me, or so I thought.

The tweet read, 

Aware that I had at least two examples of a “publicly visible photo” and one Tik Tok “video” containing “damning evidence” of the fact that I do indeed take baths, I immediately went to my Facebook and Tik Tok accounts and disabled the artifacts in question. Not that I’m ashamed of them, mind you, but because I didn’t know what else to do other than comply with Olivia’s threat.

Running for school board invites all kinds of crazy, including death threats from randos who question your morality for standing up for bodily autonomy, defending LGBTQIA+ rights and the teaching of accurate history and science. Of the four of us running for the District 3 Board seat in Jefferson County Kentucky, I am the only female, and I am by far the most outspoken on these issues. The last thing my family needs is for the media to gin up reasons for the zombies to come for me.

The tweet went on to say, 

Since my images didn’t quite meet Olivia’s prudish criteria of a “fully clothed model” showing off a “potential new bathtub,” I felt pressured into taking the images down or invite next-level hell after realizing her Tweet also included the threat of making “next week’s newsletter” if I didn’t comply by “EOD Friday.” In fact, since I didn’t not see her Tweet until an hour or so after she posted it, I knew “the enemy” was already scouring my timeline in search of this “damning and shameful evidence.” 

What does what a local reporter is “fine with” even matter? Isn’t she supposed to report the news, not be judge, jury and executioner of a candidate’s campaign by tainting the candidate as some kind of immoral sleezy character? But isn’t that what her Tweet was intended to do? To shame the offender into taking it down? Whether the Tweet was directed at my opponent, Steve Ullum, who it turns out had one photo that I saw circulating, or me, who had two photos and a minute-long popular Tik Tok video, was unclear.

But, if the plan was to blackmail me into taking the video down, their scheme backfired. As word got out that it might have been me who “violated” Olivia’s code of ethics, support and curiosity started to roll in. A renewed interest in the video and disgust by those who saw the intrusion into private lives and body shaming as unacceptable turned their smear campaign upside down. As I acknowledged the content and reactivated the TikTok, I was suddenly notified by one of my informants that someone all-knowing had informed them that it wasn’t me she was Tweeting about after all. While I was relieved to learn this, something still didn’t add up. Support suddenly dried up, and in fact, I was accused of “manipulating” one of my informants into supporting me. But the most curious part was how they knew it supposedly wasn’t me.

At a minimum, this experience reminded me of the shenanigans that took place last spring, and the reasoning behind why they might have wanted that video taken down. Two of the candidates for whom the teachers’ union is trying to justify their continued endorsement and big spend, were implicated in that video. One of them condemns my opponent for caving under pressure by disruptive right wing radicals, which created an opening for a sinister bill like HB208 in the first place. Coincidence? Decide for yourself.

The story begins here.

On the morning of 3-4-21, I woke up to discover I had been thrown in Facebook jail for calling “Let Them Learn” parents “selfish white people” which is exactly what they are for trying to force people who are at high risk of death and long-term health effects back into crowded, dilapidated classrooms just so they can get THEIR children out of their hair while they are forced to work from home. Let Them Learn is one of several right wing radical groups that popped up recently to antagonize Black and Brown families, storm our school board meetings and cut in front of everyone, including some who’ve been waiting generations for their concerns to be addressed.

How is this hate speech? Because I pointed out that they are white? I’m white. White people hold the majority of decision-making seats in our country, and we have not experienced the generations of violence and discrimination that our Black, Brown, (not to mention LGBTQIA+ and women) friends, family and neighbors have. Facebook has really played a supporting role in the dismantling of our freedoms and I believe they should be sued, prosecuted, and punished, but we’ll get to that later. Any lawyers interested in taking on a class action suit against Facebook (or any of these clowns), please contact me.

Back to the story. Decide for yourself. Here’s a retweet of the first Tweet I made on March 4, 2021.

After Tweeting this and more events that were unfolding in Frankfort in real time, specifically calling out HB208’s sinister intentions, and a fun little sideshow I came across while “flipping channels” between the House and the Senate closed circuit TV programs. It was of another JCTA endorsed candidate 

I took to TikTok and shared the “offensive” bathtub scene as part of the edutainment . Could it be that it’s not the shoulders-up, wet hair, version of me in a bathtub that offends their sensibilities, but the truth telling that I direct viewers to pay attention to on Twitter? On the video, I call out weak and racist actions by elected officials who were endorsed by JCTA’s PAC, one of whom is running for reelection to the seat Steve Ullum and I are challenging. Coincidence?

My belief is that this vague Tweet was part of a smear campaign intended to intimidate me into deleting my TikTok video. When it became clear to those conspiring on this scheme that I wasn’t going to let them shame me and scare me into deleting my video, they suddenly changed course and revealed to everyone that it was not me they were trying to expose after all, but Steve, who I mentioned above. 

Pay no attention to the fact that the one photo of Steve in a bathtub that was circulating didn’t hold a candle to the photos and videos that had been on my timeline. So, either these “informants” are easily gaslit and will believe whatever lie JCTA’s dark money white supremacists conjure up, or they’re in on it. How else could they be sure it wasn’t me she was referring to? Something about this story doesn’t add up.

At the time, COVID was raging, but a radical right wing push was underway to force students back into classrooms so they could sit for standardized tests and provide privatizers with data to mine. Despite promises, lack of funding, dire circumstances in many buildings, we knew it was coming. Whether it was going to come in the form of HB208 out of Frankfort, or a preemptive motion made by board member James Craig to give Dr. Pollio the power to reopen in-person schooling, students and teachers were going back, regardless. Why? So they could take high stakes tests.

It was Deja Vu All Over Again

This wouldn’t be the last time Craig sided with rabid white parents demanding they be able to expose other people’s children to the dangers of COVID. In March of 2022, he advocated for JCPS to drop the mask mandate. 

He once again succumbed to pressure from the loud, gun-toting, temper tantrum throwing few, instead of science, and definitely not considering our most vulnerable students, employees, and their families.

From WAVE3, regarding the March 8, 2022 Board Meeting:

Board member James Craig suggested the motion to match CDC and state health guidelines updated last week, categorizing prevention steps based on “low, medium, or high” numbers of cases and hospitalizations.

During the meeting, Board Member Kolb lays out a great argument why masks should remain required in public schools, starting around the 31-minute mark.

From the Courier Journal

The board voted 4-3 on a motion from member James Craig to let Superintendent Marty Pollio make masks optional for Kentucky’s largest school district, in accordance with state and federal guidance.

The “no” votes Tuesday came from board members Chris Kolb, Corrie Shull and Diane Porter, while Craig, Linda Duncan, Sarah Cole McIntosh and Joe Marshall voted in favor of the motion.

But I digress…

The March 2021 vote was a nail-biter, too. My theory is that Board Chair Porter had already committed her vote to someone, either Superintendent Marty Pollio or Board Member James Craig, that she would provide the “yes” vote if it was a tie. They already knew Craig, McIntosh and Duncan were going to vote “yes” because they all wanted to get reelected and their constituents are mostly either privileged or racist white people. A vote that puts minority, vulnerable populations ahead of their own doesn’t play well at election time. She knew there was a strong chance she was going to be a swing vote. When Marshall voted “yes” at the last possible moment, she was able to vote no and save her political capital for another day. If she was truly opposed to the motion, why didn’t she use her agency to influence others to join her in voting no? Especially since she pointed out that COVID impacts her district.

 

Here, on March 1, we even interviewed Joe Marshall, asking him to explain his rationale for casting the fourth and decisive “yes” vote. We shared our ongoing frustrations with him.

On March 3, 2021, I blogged about HB208 and the dark-money-back-room-dealers’ scheme and how it just backfired. The astroturf groups overplayed their hand, and then they showed their hand. Someone apparently doesn’t want you following these breadcrumbs. But in classic fashion, their scheme will once again backfire. Their meddling simply shined a spotlight on what we had put behind us,and we think the public will be interested to revisit them.

Will They Kill #HB208?

Lorrie A. Shepard: Testing Students This Spring Would Be a Mistake | Diane Ravitch’s blog

Here’s the transcript of the TikTok video originally Published on March 4, 2021

Today I woke up and was in Facebook jail.

Then, House Bill 208, the “force everybody back to school” bill thanks to the “Let Them Learn” privileged white parents passed our Kentucky General Assembly today.

So now, everyone has to go back to school so they can take standardized tests. 

I had to take to Twitter and my fake Facebook account to get the message out.

And while I was doing that, a bill came into one of the House Committees from Jason Nemes that was racist.

So I live-Tweeted about that as well.

It was a good day to learn to be on Twitter.

And since I’m still in Facebook jail I guess I’ll learn how to TikTok.

 

Below are some more links to Tweets from that day:

I believe a crime was committed with this smear campaign. I believe it was an effort to intimidate me into deleting my TikTok video. I have filed complaints with the FBI and Courier Journal. I will make the contents of those complaints public in the near future.

 

#Louminati, Privatization of Public Education, Racial Equity, Teacher Shortage

Complaint Filed with OEA

To every rumor, there is a seed of truth.
 
Better Schools Kentucky (BSK) is the Political Action Committee (PAC) that decides who to endorse for state and local elections and where to spend resources and campaign contributions. We are aware of several abnormalities regarding the selection of those who are chosen to serve on this PAC, which serves as the lobbying arm for the largest school district in the state of Kentucky, Jefferson County Teachers Association (JCTA). which we want to bring to the public’s attention.
 
The abnormalities in question started first with the 2020 BSK election, and continued into the 2021 officer election, where the entire executive board was also on the ballot (a once every three years phenomenon). The BSK election challenge and results can be found here. An email isolated to complaints about the officer election can be found here
 
On Jan. 12, 2021, several white JCTA leaders took to Facebook to spread disinformation about me (Dear JCPS co-founder and page moderator Gay Adelmann) in order to distract from a 4-hour livestream that I had started a couple of hours earlier on my personal FB page. There were several false statements made on a post on Tammy Berlin’s Facebook page, which can easily be disproven. One claim made by another female white leader accused me of “stalking and harassing” her when she appeared on a nearly 16-minute long livestream on the Dear JCPS facebook page from the Senate Steps to protest the confirmation of one of Bevin’s pro-charter school appointees to the KDE, Gary Houchens. Anyone can watch the video to see that she walked into the frame at the 14:30 mark after we had been livestreaming for quite some time. In fact, you can see the person holding the camera changed two times before she came into frame. The person holding the camera at the 13:13 mark had brown shoes, and several times during the feed, you can see me moving about the space (not behind the camera) and I’m wearing black shoes. 
 
It’s not the first time this small handful of powerful white leaders have slandered me for speaking up for racial justice in JCPS. In 2019, they held a 40+ -minute press conference referring to me and others as “rogue groups” because we elevated concerns from Black educators and parents who wanted to encourage a stronger resistance to the attacks on education, pensions, and in particular, Black and Brown JCPS students and families. JCTA President Brent McKim told numerous media outlets that I was looking for “lucrative” service contracts, for example.
 
Upon the recent discovery of possible ties to Russia (we brought attention to having possible ties to the Jan. 6 insurrection in 2021) regarding the teachers pensions, which JCTA lobbyists, as well as BSK endorsed lawmakers, have been intimately involved with, the complaint, along with the email above and related EXHIBITS have been submitted to the (Office of Education Accountability (OEA) as of 3/4/22.

Let’s hope an entity with resources and ability to research the ties to Russia and other illegal or unethical activities can get to the bottom of what’s really going on in Kentucky!
Accountability, Mayes, Teacher Shortage

Excerpts from the Mayes Audiotape

0:00

Student 1: “I think you and I have had a pretty good relationship over the past 4 years and I just wanted to make Mayes aware of a situation that was pretty personal that happened yesterday. I was at the football practice filming … and [one of the players] came over to talk to one of the trainers and … he said you need to stay here and listen to this… I stayed there and listened and he went on to tell them that they’re not allowed to kneel for the flag during anthem. And that’ we’ve been standing for 125 years and we need to continue standing and if you want to kneel you can be in the field house. You shouldn’t kneel right here because that’s politics. Don’t bring politics into football because Friday night football isn’t about politics. He’s like, “Speak now or forever hold your peace.” [Player] said “You’re restricting our first amendment rights by telling us that we can’t kneel. By putting us in the field house, you’re locking up my people, which we’ve been locked up long enough. So –“

1:04 Mayes: “That’s ridiculous to say that. That’s a little extreme don’t you think?” “First amendment rights I’m with you on but the rest of it. Come on now.”

Student: Well, [trainer] may not have locked up slaves personally, but  …

Mayes: “Let’s really have a good relationship here, okay? … Come on now, seriously? Come on now, seriously? Let’s be straight here, ok?” Listen to the guy. Bring it to me. Let’s have this relationship you talked about. I’m asking you. Let’s talk.”

Student: “I can see where she’s coming from.”

Bring it to me. I’ll take care of it. Let’s talk.

2:00 “I wouldn’t have said it but you gotta think in that moment you’re feeling quite oppressed. Myself, I was feeling pretty oppressed and he wasn’t talking directly to me because I’m not part of the team. And so I can understand the anguish and hurt.”

Mayes: “Why are you feeling oppressed?”

Student: “Because you’re telling us we can’t do something that we are given the right to do.

“You’re not kneeling for politics, you’re kneeling for basic human rights. He told us we can voice our politi… (interrupted)”

“No but you’re part of the community.” (Interrupted.)

2:40 “So here’s my question. Why did they choose all of the sudden the Male game? When they could have chosen a game a couple of weeks ago.” You see what I’m saying. You get what I’m getting at? It’s selectively being done, where there’s a stage.”

“Trainers have been kneeling throughout the season. And not receiving backlash for it.”

Mayes: “No one ever said a word to me about it. That’s the first I’ve heard of it. And my door’s wide open.”

3:11

Student: “I’m just bringing it to you because it personally made me uncomfortable. The point is, my first amendment rights have been infringed on.

Mayes: That’s all it should be. And I’ll take care of it. To go into this someone being locked up . To go into this other explanation, I mean, I’m like ok. Your point’s well taken. … You ever see that movie Jerry McGuire movie? One of those chick flick things. Where she comes walking in, “You had me at hello.” You had me at First Amendment.”

“What I don’t like is sensationalism. What I don’t like is people doing this for attention, and what I mean by that is selectively. If you’re gonna be this way if you’re going to kneel then kneel the whole time. Okay? Don’t just pick and choose because it’s a different stage. That’s what I have a problem with…You see what I’m getting at? I respect that, I’ll respect that to the hilt.”

I know you don’t have to be all freaked out. I’m not freaked out. You want to have a dialogue. What I don’t like about it. I want you to understand my scope in thinking about this.

What I don’t like about this. There are some people where this is a sincere gesture, some jumping on it because it’s the cool thing to do. That I don’t like.

I don’t think anyone is doing this because it’s the cool thing to do.

“That’s your perspective.” “What I don’t like is people who jump on the bandwagon.”

Dean Walker lost his daughter. did it because that’s what everyone else was doing. It’s not sincere.

I don’t have a problem with anyone that’s sincere. I have a problem with people that do it just for attention.”

How do you determine?

I don’t.

I can understand where she was coming from in the moment.

What I have a problem is, if that’s really your belief, I respect that. What I don’t like is when it’s the cool thing to do. You have been a former player. He’s also got a team standpoint. We all walk out together. We all come in together. I’m sure that’s part of it. But I’ll address it with him. But I get offended when someone decides to suddenly go on this tirade. My people have been locked up blah blah blah.

“Why do you think I support the BSU? Why do you think I do all this equity diversity? I’m not down with this all that stuff. But at the same time, let’s put it into proper context for what it’s for. I just had this conversation with the principal at [John Marshall… His office is run inefficiently, so when we do events for equity and diversity, they come up screwed up.” It’s the way you gotta present it. You gotta be careful here, that in our push to bring these things to light. Instead of really saying

“You can cry wolf so much that people stop listening and away from the real point here. You want people to take you seriously. I’m not saying [student] is not sincere. That’s just a bunch of kids. You gotta be careful because it’s going to look like a bunch of sensationalism. It’s not about

That’s what I’m saying about John Marshall’s office. His office has screwed things up so much. What do you do when your parents tell you something you don’t want to hear. They screwed up so many events that now the real message of equity and diversity is getting a sidebar like, ok, this is going to be screwed up.” Guess what, they focus on that instead of the issue.

Last spring I started this thing.

The point was for us to start a conversation.

“Is there another way besides kneeling that you could do this…that convo should have happened.”

“You’d have to be just an idiot not to know about the oppression and all that kinds of stuff but I hate to say so, there’s some people that take that card and they play it to the [hilt?].” Your parents have worked very hard to put you in a position.

Let’s take my story. I could sit around and say all day. My parents divorced when I was in sixth grade.

I think that’s pretty different.

How is that different? How is discrimination accepted

Oppression of black people to a greater degree.

I know there is discrimination in religion. I am aware of this. I think it’s a little worse for black people.

I could be wrong, but I don’t remember a time when we imprisoned protestants. Redlining. I don’t remember a time when protestants had the leader assassinated. I personally feel that there a higher degree of discrimination

The conversation veered toward comparisons between the treatment of blacks and other minority groups. When one of the students said blacks have received faced greater discrimination than Protestants, Mayes responded by saying, “And that’s coming through your filter, and I don’t agree with you,” I see it across the board. But when you look at it through one set of lenses, But I look at discrimination under a larger situation. I’ve got native American in  My people My people MY People, Way before slavery, dear. I could go but I choose a different route.

To sit there and say

You’re sadly mistaken. Sadly mistaken.

Your last statement was.

I said it’s to a greater degree.

So from my perspective. I could raise Cain about what happened to my people way back when. You’re looking at it from your perspective.

Black people are not the only people.

I’m aware

We haven’t even touched on the whole Jewish nation. Their people were put down into troughs and slaughtered.

That’s because

This is my whole issue with the whole equity thing.

“Listen, I’ve been discriminated against because I’m white. That ain’t right,” you follow me? Listen. I’ve lost 4 jobs because I’m white. But that door swings both ways.

The students and Mayes began comparing discrimination against blacks to the discrimination Protestants have faced over history. One of the students said that discrimination against blacks was worse.

“I totally disagree with you on that.”

14:12 – interrupted, dr. marshall on the phone

“MLK is more palatable than Malcom x”

“I hate fake and phony people.” referring to equity office.

“I don’t want us to set up factions…I think we’ve got to be really careful here. I guess my argument is I want the discussion to go on and I don’t want people coming in with fists clenched…”

“I don’t want it to be a black and white issue. I want it to be a community issue. There’s people within our family who have feelings, so let’s address those feelings.”

BLM – where is it now?

“This is not a white and black thing… this is about treating people properly, period…if I’m a black person and I’m looking at it, make sure that you’re being fair to that said, because I’m black I deserve this…”

“I get crap here sometimes, ‘you need to hire more African-American teachers.’ I’d love to, but would you want me to hire an African-American teacher because their African-American or because they’re the best teacher?”

Mayes goes on to talk about Alabama…says he knows discrimination is real because he’s seen it.

Students ask for diversity and equity training, formal round table discussion with coaches, about students first amendment rights.

Pollio sent out memo – giving district’s position, said he sent it out to staff and would re-send.

Said it was the first time it was brought to him.

(Sorry for any typos or incomplete transcript. Will be updated as time allows. Volunteers appreciated.)

Accountability, Admin, Privatization of Public Education, Student Assignment, Teachable Moment, Teacher Shortage, Vision: 2020

Come Have Some Tea With Me

My friends call it “spilling the tea.” My family used to call it “spilling the beans.” Although I think the expressions came from two completely different origins, they mean roughly the same thing in this situation.

Not sure where the expression came from, but I can picture some well-dressed Southern ladies sitting together at their bridge table, and when one of them starts to tell a juicy story about one of their “friends,” it causes another to knock over her cup of tea, causing a commotion for all.

Welcome to my tea party. I’m about to spill some tea.

Let’s begin in the present, so I can show you what to look for while it’s still happening. Right now, JCPS teachers are in the midst of a silent coup by the current regime. The fewer teachers who even know this election is happening, the greater the chances they can keep their current dear leader in power. 

Up for grabs is the At-large BSK position. The election was held during a 3-day window: Nov. 30 – Dec. 2. What happened during that time could fill an entire season on Netflix, but we’ll sum it up here.

At first, Natalie Rashad was declared the winner. But when the election committee couldn’t explain the irregularities on their infallible software’s tabulation sheet, they went back to their programmer. He magically discovered an error and running tabulations a second time resulted in Kenyata Dean-Bacon becoming the winner. (Maybe they thought it would just be easier to give in than to explain the myriad of errors.)

However, when not a single one of them noticed there had not been a majority winner until Kenyata asked about it, the election committee held a séance, I mean special meeting, and decided that a run-,off would be necessary, putting Kenyata’s narrow victory at risk, and pitting both worthy candidates against one another at a future date.

Third time’s a charm, right?!

But why the mystery? Why wouldn’t the timeline they are organizing just follow the bylaws? Is it really that “unprecedented?” Or is it “going according to plan?”

Does this botched election remind anyone of the recent Bar Exam debacle? When several would-be lawyers had their joy stolen from them because after they had celebrated passing the BAR exam, they later learned they had failed? Many were saying “just give it to them.” After all, these tests are barriers; ways to discriminate. And judging by the makeup of the organization, it’s working just as it’s intended!

Tell JCTA to give BOTH of their BSK winners a seat at the table. Lord knows they’ve earned it! Take a look at the barriers and hurdles they’ve had to face to get to this moment to even be considered for the ONLY position on the BSK this election cycle that is put before the members. Could JCTA make it any less equitable and democratic? I don’t think so!

Kumar Rashad for President!

Come on, JCTA. Especially you, JCTA President Brent McKim. All eyes are on you. Do the right thing. Give up your seat that’s been controlled by mediocre white blood for decades. It’s time for new blood. Be the hero. Endorse Kumar Rashad for president. Allow members to bring back the term limits you removed, so this type of stagnation doesn’t continue to happen. It’s his time. If not now, when?

Let’s all get behind #KumarForJCTAPresident, and follow a path that will allow JCTA to award BOTH of these two fierce advocates for black, brown and poor JCPS students a seat at the BSK table. Let’s quit manipulating results and moving goal posts and get back to supporting our students and teachers. (Sorry for the shade toward McKim, but he’s been given every opportunity and we’ve reached this point where the members have some decisions to make. They deserve to finally see what’s been going on behind the curtain all these years.)

Teachers, get organized! They still plan to move forward with a run-off BSK election. So, unless they are planning to violate their own bylaws, it would happen this Wednesday (Dec. 16). Also, start preparing for the general election starting on January 27, where several key positions are up for grabs.

Accountability, District Boundaries, Police Free Schools, Privatization of Public Education, Student Assignment, Teacher Shortage

Re: Student Assignment Plan Proposal

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,

Gay

Gay Adelmann

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

“Printed in-house using volunteer labor.”

Revenues benefit:
Dear JCPS & Save Our Schools KY
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Accountability, Behavior/Discipline, District Boundaries, Privatization of Public Education, Standardized Testing, Student Assignment, Teacher Shortage, Vision: 2020

Educational Justice With “E’s”

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:

  • EVIDENCE-BASED education practices
  • Realistic EXPECTATIONS
  • EXPERIENCED teachers, staff and leaders
  • EMPOWERED students and advocates
  • EQUITABLE funding, resources and access
  • ENRICHING experiences
  • ENGAGING, culturally competent curriculum
  • Nurturing and safe learning ENVIRONMENTS
  • EXTERNAL community supports
  • Supportive and meaningful EVALUATIONS

FROM OUR LOCAL AND STATE LEADERS, we demand:

  • Accountability and Transparency
  • Authentic Education Reform and
  • #FullyFundED Public Schools

For EVERYONE!

To submit your feedback, click here.

Accountability, Behavior/Discipline, Teacher Shortage

Iroquois is on FIRE

Dear JCPS,

I am a teacher at Iroquois High School. We are on fire. The recent news reports only show a very small portion of the absolute hell our school has become. Today (Friday 11/1/19) I witnessed no less than four fights. This is the norm. A kid sat in traffic on Taylor Boulevard.

We have multiple staff attacked. Let me tell you about the district response:

They sent a bunch of central office people over to stand around. Assistant superintendents Zeitz, Rogers, and a couple others. They don’t know our kids or staff. They stood around and pretended to help, but didn’t do anything.

Half of our teachers don’t even show up anymore, and I’ll be blunt that many of our teachers are terrible, but they’re all we can find.

Our principal is DONE. Our assistant principals don’t want to be here and the kids don’t respect them. Our counselors are done and don’t want to be here.

Our building is on fire and the district does NOTHING.

We need a real principal, real leadership, and real support with chronic misbehavior. JCTA does nothing to support us. We need real leadership and real support.

Please help us.

Iroquois Business and Education Academy Teacher
Accountability, Privatization of Public Education, Teacher Shortage

Teacher “Over the Edge” Regarding Lower Certification Standards

September 3 at 9:37 PM

Dear JCPS,

Pardon me while I rant! The recent news that the state is lowering its standards for teacher certification, no longer requiring a Master’s Degree, has put me over the edge. Besides the feeling of cheapening my degree, and those of my colleagues, this news comes just a few months after learning (with little or no warning) that the state will require all elementary art and music teachers to be certified to teach art and music. While this may sound like a good idea on the surface, it is in reality a ridiculously, poorly thought out, unrealistic, and unnecessary burden on our schools!

Hear me out….

I am certified to teach k-5 (elementary education) reading, writing, math, science, social studies, etc., BUT, I am now….after teaching art and music at my school for 9 years….suddenly NOT certified to teach art or music!!?

So guess who is teaching art and music at my school this year, as I was forced to move to 1st grade….NOBODY!!

That’s right….my school, and several other JCPS schools, currently have substitutes filling these “VACANCIES”!!!

So my students, who were looking forward to being in Art Club, or Percussion Ensemble, or Choir, get none of that, much less an experienced art and music teacher. There are simply not enough certified art and certified music teachers in Jefferson County to fill all the positions. Also, I was not given even a year to acquire this extra piece of paper that says I can do what I’ve been doing (and doing well, by most accounts) for the last nine years.

Have I mentioned that my Bachelor’s Degree is in ART!!!??? I also have several years of music training under my belt (way more than math and science, I can say)!! So through no fault of my own, I must now figure out how to jump through all the ever-increasing paperwork hoops required of a regular classroom teacher (if the general public only knew how much time-consuming, bs, paperwork/computerwork teachers had to do….taking them away from doing things that would actually benefit students and instruction..).

Meanwhile, the classroom I was fortunate to teach art and music in for 9 years, sits empty…waiting for the next sub to show up!!

This rant is nearing its completion! While a lot of this may sound like it is just me being upset about my situation….at the root of it is MY students, and the students of other JCPS schools, as well!! They deserve better!! Rant over….for now!!

Thomas Matthew Bleuel

 

What follows next are the comments that were received on Thomas’ post.

Editor’s note:
Clearly Jefferson County Public Schools is already feeling the effects of this short-sighted Koch-orchestrated maneuver. Combined now with the new exit exam to graduate high school that will be voted on Oct. 3, the “50% of schools now at risk of failing” narrative, the shady replacement of KBE members and commissioner, the attempted takeover of the state’s largest district, and the MYRIAD other hate-filled, ignorant comments from our governor, how can anyone NOT see that these OUT-OF-STATE GRIFTERS are playing from a playbook? It’s been executed in 45 other states, just look around us! Indiana, Tennessee, Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Arizona, YOU NAME IT, they’ve tried it, and many other states are seeing the light. WHY CAN’T WE? It’s time to wake up and stop this nonsense by voting pro public education on November 6. Read our Connect the Dots article to see all of the conflicts of interest we’ve uncovered, and we’re just scratching the surface!

UPDATE: This rant was originally posted 3 weeks ago….the status is quo!! Nothing has changed, except the amount of quality art and music instructional time our students are currently missing out on due to this ridiculous turn of events!

 

 

Accountability, Admin, Teacher Shortage

Toxic and Dysfunctional Climate at J-Town Elementary

Dear JCPS,

I would like to address issues at Jeffersontown Elementary. The culture there is toxic and dysfunctional. The “adults” don’t trust each other or the administration, unless you are in the it club. The principal literally screams at parents who take questions to the board instead of asking her. Well, when you attempt to talk to the principal she NEVER looks up from her phone. She also sits out in the lobby/ main office area on Facebook or texting and ignoring parents who are coming into our building. Within the past 2 weeks we have lost our secretary and bookkeeper. I ask you with the front office completely leaving, the principal basically on her phone all day long and screaming at our parents. Why has the board not ask questions or investigated why the whole front office has had a turn over. Our attendance clerk also left over the summer due to drama.

I’m more concerned that the board is practically ignoring the fact that we’ve lost an attendance Clerk and secretary and a bookkeeper within the past 2 months. I’m also very concerned that their culture there is so toxic that the students notice that teachers don’t speak to each other and the teachers don’t trust each other. I cannot condone or survive in a toxic dysfunctional culture which is what J-Town Elementary has now become. Which is very sad considering what an amazing reputation it had in the past. We are losing students it’s due to the lack of professionalism of the main leadership in the building. I honestly believe that Dr. Hooper or any one from Central office would be appalled if they could see what the true Jtown has become not the dog and pony show they put on when the visits are scheduled. Dr.Hooper because it was his school.

I just want change. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

Sincerely,
Concerned J-Town Elementary Stakeholder

The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has a concern, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form.

NOTE: While the author’s identity is protected here, they are not anonymous to Dear JCPS. Any board member wishing to address the concerns shared here can contact our administrators to make a connection.