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, 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.



  • 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


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


To submit your feedback, click here.

#Louminati, Privatization of Public Education, Vision: 2020

SCALA Bellwether Report Validity Should Be Questioned

Dear JCPS,

I have done a brief review of the Bellwether report commissioned by the SCALA education subgroup and I wanted to share some information that should call into question the validity of conclusions drawn by or from the report.  Specifically, the Bellwether report cites a number of other reports that have been discredited when subjected to academic peer review.

For example, the Bellwether report includes multiple references to “A 21st Century School System in the Mile-High City.”  A review (attached) of this report by (White – University of Colorado Boulder) found:

A report published by the Progressive Policy Institute calls for aggressively closing more public schools and expanding charter schools and charter networks. It highlights reforms adopted by Denver Public Schools, notably a “portfolio model” of school governance, and argues that these reforms positively impacted student test scores. However, causality cannot be determined, and the report did not attempt to isolate the effect of a multitude of reforms— including charters, performance pay, and a new performance framework—from larger complex forces shaping student demographics in the city. Written in a reportorial voice, the only data presented are in the form of simple charts. The lack of conventional statistical analyses thwarts the reader’s understanding. The report also characterizes the reform’s adoption as a “political success” born of a healthily contentious electoral process. In doing so, it down- plays the role of outside forces and moneyed groups that influenced the form of reforms, and it disregards missed opportunities for meaningful engagement with community stakeholders. Finally, while the report acknowledges the district’s failure to close achievement gaps and admits limitations with the evaluation system, it never explains how a successful reform could generate a widening gap in performance between student groups by race and class.

The Bellwether report is also based on “Measures of Last Resort: Assessing Strategies for State-Initiated Turnarounds.”  A review (attached) of this report (Malen and Rice – University of Maryland) found:

The stated goal of this report is to strengthen the evidence base on state-initiated turn-arounds and to provide guidance to help states use turnaround strategies more effectively. The report draws on multiple sources of information to develop a conceptual framework and profile of state-initiated turnaround strategies, to array the evidence on the effectiveness of turnaround initiatives, and to identify key elements of a successful turnaround strategy. However, given multiple methodological limitations, the report fails to elevate either the research base or the policy discourse. Specifically, the methods used to carry out the original research (e.g., analysis of state policies, interviews with stakeholders, and illustrative cases) are neither explained nor justified. Likewise, the methods employed in the eight evaluations selected to assess the effectiveness of turnaround approaches are not described, and the evidence base produced by these evaluations is not sufficient to support the sweeping claims made in the report. Equally important, the report neglects to consider relevant research on the specific mechanisms (e.g., school reconstitution, intensive professional development, private management systems) that states use when they employ the broad turnaround strategies discussed in the report. As a result of these problems, the report does not enhance the evidence base or provide the substantive guidance state policymakers require to make informed decisions about the use of various school turnaround strategies.

These examples illustrate a broader problem with the Bellwether report – it is based on reports that would more accurately be described as policy advocacy documents than objective research.  As such, making consequential decisions that would impact our community based on the Bellwether report would not be advisable because the report’s validity is highly questionable at best.  Basing high-stakes decisions on such untenable evidence could lead to significant negative consequences and unintended outcomes.

I hope this information can be shared broadly, including with the full SCALA committee and that all involved will review the attached peer analyses carefully.  I have also attached an additional analysis of portfolio districts, by William Mathis at the University of Colorado Boulder, which individuals may wish to review.

Brent McKim
JCTA President

Portfolio Districts Analysis – Mathis

Measures of Last Resort Report Analysis – Malen

21st Century School System Report Analysis – White

Accountability, Vision: 2020

Manual parent: “I have had ZERO communication from you, JCPS”

Dear JCPS,

As a current parent, I want to discuss three main issues:

1 – Why is Mr. Mayes still the principal?

2 – My child is afraid to go to school

3 – JCPS, your silence conveys that you don’t care what is going on

How is Mr. Mayes allowed to still be there as principal?  We now know what he has said to students (as recent as 2017) alone with them in his office.  We now see that students are too intimidated to speak out until they are graduated and gone.  How is this acceptable?

My child is now afraid to go to school.  He’s not afraid of a schoolmate bully, but instead an ADULT one that sits in the principal’s chair.  (child says)“If he has taken other kids out of class to talk to them, that could happen to any of us. It has happened to some kids I know at school, and they say it is scary and he throws his power around.  One kid supposedly had to sign some paper about something he did.  You can’t think straight if you think you might somehow be in trouble or convinced that you are in trouble when you really didn’t do anything.  How do you really know what you are signing?  If you get taken to the principal’s office, you are in trouble, right?”  Friends at other schools are also asking my child what is going on at his school because his principal has been in the newspaper saying crazy things to students.   This is supposed to be an environment of learning, yet it is not because the kids (and teachers he reports too) are so preoccupied with and distracted by the outrageous things the principal has done and said.  We know Mr. Mayes has run down students (past and present), their heritage, teachers, administrators by name, JCPS district employees and more. How is any of this acceptable?


JCPS, this is on you.  We haven’t heard anything from you, but thankfully we have heard about it from the media.  How many MORE people have to come forward with credible and specific incidents (all of which are establishing similar patterns of intimidation and bullying behavior) before something is done?  I guess 2, 5, or even 7 accounts isn’t enough – there were 7 accounts in the newspaper on Sunday.  How many more must there be?  The Courier Journal has done their due diligence to interview these former students.  JCPS, have you spoken to these students?  As a Manual parent I have had ZERO communication from you, JCPS, as to what is going on here and what you are or aren’t doing about it.  Dr. Pollio, if you really want this Superintendent’s job, you certainly aren’t acting like it.  You aren’t being proactive and keeping us as Manual parents informed on this extremely important matter.  It sure seems like the district is taking sides with administration instead of with students and their well being.  Here is a quote from the newspaper article that drives this point home – “JCPS reprimanded Mayes last month for comments he made in the recorded conversation.  But, according to Oct. 27 reprimand letter obtained by Courier Journal, Mayes was chided for speaking negatively about fellow JCPS employees during the recording, not for his race-related comments.”  Mayes didn’t get reprimanded for what he said, are you kidding me?  This clearly shows that you favor the adult over the kids here, and that is a real travesty.

We are still a relatively new family to Manual and I’m considering transferring my child out.  I don’t want my child in the building with Mr. Mayes anymore.  However, my child should not have to be the one to go, it should be the principal.  Based on his actions, Mayes is in no way fit for this job.  Manual now needs a kind, honest and stable leader that focuses on the well-being of every single student.  The days of intimidation and fear from the top down need to be over…immediately.


Current Manual Parent


The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has a concern regarding events taking place at Manual or another JCPS school, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter formWhile the full name of the author has been withheld here, they are not anonymous to us. If a school board member would like to follow up on this complaint, they can contact us to make a connection with the author.

Note: The Courier Journal article regarding the reprimand has since been updated to reflect the true content of the reprimand letter.

Accountability, Vision: 2020

Teacher: “My torment at the hands of Jerry Mayes”


The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has a concern regarding events taking place at Manual or another JCPS school, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter formWhile the name of the author has been withheld here, they are not anonymous to us. If a school board member would like to follow up on this complaint, they can contact us to make a connection with the author.

Accountability, Behavior/Discipline, Vision: 2020

Why I don’t want police officers in schools

Dear JCPS,

In the weeks since the incident at Jeffersontown High School, questions have been raised about whether the district should continue to have School Resource Officers (SROs). As I have followed this issue on social media, I have been dismayed, not that there are those speaking out in favor of SROs, but that so many are refusing to even acknowledge that there is another side to this issue. This is an important conversation that needs to be had. And both sides need to be heard.

I am a parent of six children who are former or current JCPS students, three of whom are black males. As a white parent of black sons, I have had a rude awakening to what black parents have known for years: the unjust criminalization of black men in this country is very real, very painful, and very damaging to the young black males we are raising.

I can cite numerous examples in my sons’ young lives in which they have already experienced this. I will share one with you here. One of my sons has fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, which causes speech and language delays, as well as brain damage in the area of the brain that controls emotion. By the time he was in kindergarten, he had an IEP which included instructions on how to handle him if he became escalated. His kindergarten teacher evidently neglected to read his IEP and had a conflict with him one day that ultimately resulted in him physically attacking her. Having been on the receiving end of his attacks before, I knew how upsetting they could be. However, he was also small for his age and clearly developmentally delayed. So I was shocked when I arrived at the school to meet with her and the first words out of her mouth were, “Just so you know, I plan to press criminal charges.” On a five-year-old. Who was small for his age. With a mental health disability.

Thankfully, when I reminded her of his IEP and pointed out that she didn’t follow it, she chose not to follow through. But I have often wondered in the years since, if that school had an SRO at the time, would he have already been under arrest by the time I arrived? If the teacher had had her way, he would have been. I also came away wondering what made her look at my child and see a criminal instead of a scared, damaged little boy?

The answer to that is the color of his skin. Dr. Kristin Anderson notes in Psychology Today that studies in facial perception have shown that white Americans interpret anger in a neutral facial expression for African American males, but don’t do so for other people. In video simulation studies people fire at an armed target more quickly if he is African American than if he is white, and they decide not to shoot an unarmed white target more quickly than an unarmed African American target. If a target is black, respondents require less certainty that he is holding a gun before they decide to shoot. Anderson suggests that this is at least partly due to our brains being conditioned by what we see on TV, where “African American men are overrepresented as criminal suspects and underrepresented as victims of crime in comparison to actual crime statistics.”

No matter how well-intentioned any of us are, or how much we abhor racism, we all (including African Americans) have been conditioned to criminalize black men. This truth is lived out in our criminal justice system.

According to the NAACP, African Americans are incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of whites. African American children represent 32% of children who are arrested, 42% of children who are detained, and 52% of children whose cases are judicially waived to criminal court. Added to this, a report from the U.S. Sentencing Commission published just last month noted that black men serve sentences that are on average 19.1 percent longer than those for white men for similar crimes.

Parents of African American males in the school system are justified in our concerns that SROs in the schools actually threaten our sons’ safety. If they get arrested at school, the consequences for them are much more likely to be greater than they are for their white counterparts. The Justice Policy Institute notes that not only are black students three times more likely to be suspended or expelled than white students, one study showed that white students were more likely to be disciplined for provable, documentable offenses — smoking, vandalism, and obscene language — while black students were more likely to be disciplined for more subjective reasons, such as disrespect.

The Institute also noted, “A landmark study of Texas discipline policies found that 97 percent of school suspensions were the choice of school administrators. Only 3 percent of students had broken rules that made suspension a required punishment, such as carrying a weapon to school. And those discretionary suspensions fell particularly hard on black students: they were 31 percent more likely to receive a discretionary suspension, even after controlling for 83 other variables.” One report from the Justice Policy Institute found that, even controlling for a school district’s poverty level, schools with officers had five times as many arrests for “disorderly conduct” as schools without them. Those arrests disproportionately affect black male students. As noted above, those black male students get significantly harsher consequences once they have found their way into the juvenile justice system than other students do.

As long as we live in a society where African American men serve sentences 19.1 percent longer than white men for similar offenses, I don’t want police officers in schools.

As long as we live in a society where African Americans are incarcerated at more than five times the rate of whites, I don’t want police officers in schools.

As long as we live in a society where African American children represent 52% of the arrests of children that get waived to criminal court, I don’t want police officers in schools.

As long as we live in a society where black students are being disciplined at school at higher rates for the same offenses as other students, I don’t want police officers in schools.

As long as we live in a society where a kindergarten teacher can look at a five year old black child and see a criminal instead of a damaged, scared little boy, I don’t want police officers in schools.

Does this mean I don’t care about school safety? Of course not. Does this mean I think SROs should be pulled out of all the schools with no alternative plan in place? Absolutely not. It simply means the district needs to examine this issue closely and determine if SROs truly makes everyone safer, or in fact threaten the safety of one segment of the population. If this is the case, then we need to look at other alternatives for keeping our schools safe – one that makes EVERYONE safer, not just some.

Cindy Cushman


The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has a concern regarding events taking place at JTown or another JCPS school, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form.

Accountability, Admin, Vision: 2020

Two quick points about the Manual investigation

Dear JCPS,

– Sadly, today I found out that the investigator cannot grant anonymity to current parents who want to speak out. All names will be in the official record for Mayes to see. So, with that requirement I can’t imagine any current parents willing to share their stories, and that is a real shame. With the fear that Mayes could remain in the position, at this point I don’t feel comfortable with my name being available to him and his ability to retaliate against my child and me. The abuse continues, but no one feels safe to tell their story. Also, I have a younger child who really wants to attend YPAS, so there is no way he would get in if Mayes ever found out that I complained about him.

– I was glad to see a new post on today, especially from a member of the community who read the C-J article. I feel like that is perhaps now the only way for the district to feel pressured to let him go, if the community at large causes an uproar (and/or if more alums continue to come forward with more stories). It is an absolute shame that we current parents can’t safely share our stories and must rely on others outside of the school to do that work for us. If you feel comfortable in doing so, please let Mr. Albrecht know that a current parent is very thankful for his willingness to speak out by name, because those of us inside the walls cannot for fear of retaliation. If he knows of other upset community members, I hope they are willing to speak out as well. Perhaps the district will do something about the situation if the community is outraged by a principal who has treated former students this badly and should not keep his job.

I do plan to leave an anonymous message with the Superintendent’s office that I am very upset that the investigation will not allow confidentiality to current parents. I will say again that this is a way for them to as much ensure that no new allegations will come to the forefront and they can disregard what alums have to say. What a sad state of affairs for JCPS and the kids in the system. I can’t wait until all of my kids are older and graduated to be out from under it. The system is not supportive of students.


Concerned Parent


The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has a concern regarding events taking place at Manual or another JCPS school, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form.

Accountability, Admin, Vision: 2020

Gerald Mayes troubling attitude toward minorities

Dear JCPS,

I am deeply troubled by Sunday’s article concerning Principal Mayes at Manual HS and his interactions with minority students. His comments reported by these former students because of fear of retaliation should be taken very seriously by the board and executives of JCPS. Anyone who makes these comments does not belong in a position of authority in an educational setting. I have a granddaughter who hopes to attend Manual and this is troubling for her future.

Ken Albrecht


The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has a concern regarding events taking place at Manual or another JCPS school, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form.

Accountability, Admin, Vision: 2020

I Feel Like This Was a Set Up

The following open letter was sent to Dear JCPS by a member of the community who does not have students at Manual. Some of the statements in this letter are inaccurate, such as calling the recording “illegal.” In the spirit of transparency, we wanted to share this letter with our followers so that all sides can feel they are being heard. Please feel free to add your comments below or submit your own open letter.


Dear Ms. Porter,

I want to comment on Jerry Mayes illegal taped meeting with some of his students. Since when do the students go to someone the don’t trust to talk about a concern? I do not have any children in school, but feel like this was a set up. Jerry Mayes is been called the Man behind the Miracle. This school is unique and he is the perfect fit. He has (2) adopted black daughters, so being a bigot is just not true. This is not at all about him being a racist. It’s about kids trying to get power of the best PUBLIC SCHOOL in the state. I beg you to NOT let that happen.

Thank you for listening to my opinion.

Vicki Ziegler


The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has a concern regarding events taking place at Manual or another JCPS school, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form.

Accountability, Admin, Vision: 2020

Implicated Manual Teacher Issues Brief Statement

The following statement, which was released to Manual’s PTSA Facebook group, is being published on Dear JCPS with permission from the author.

Yesterday I learned that two local news stations ran stories suggesting that, as the sponsor of the BSU, I may have conspired with another teacher at Manual to entrap the principal into making inappropriate racial remarks to students.

This is not true. I did not tell or suggest that any student record the principal, nor did any student inform me of a plan to do so. Other students and parents involved in the situation have confirmed this.

Although I would like to give a more detailed account of this experience and others involving the principal, several people have advised me to reserve the information for the ongoing JCPS investigation into the allegations against him. I remain focused on the larger question of resolving this conflict at Manual High School in a way that protects and honors our students, their safety, and their concerns.

Jamie Miller
Manual Teacher/BSU Sponsor

The views expressed here are those of the author. If you or someone you know has a similar concern regarding events taking place at Manual or another JCPS school, you are encouraged to submit a letter using our open letter form.