Supt. Sheldon Berman has passed a major test with high marks. He earned a unnanimous endorsement from the Jefferson County Public Schools board, for a new school assignment plan that factors in not just race but also education and income.
The public seems largely satisfied with the plan, which was necessitated by a wrong-headed and hard-hearted decision from the U.S. Supreme Court, in which a bare majority of justices undercut this community's long commitment to diversity.
Only a handful of citizens and parents showed up at the board meeting where a final vote on the new plan was taken. This absence of controversy could suggest a number of things, but we believe it means the proposal was thoughtfully put together and carefully adjusted to meet the concerns of not just board members but also other interested individuals and groups.
It really was a historic moment for JCPS. It was one more evidence of the community's ongoing commitment to educating young folks for the kind of world they will encounter after graduation.
Resolving the high court's objections to the current approach will clear the way toward solving real problems and truly fundamental goals.
For example, the school system -- when looked at broadly -- works very well. But it is failing too many economically and socially disadvantaged children. Too many schools just aren't getting the job done. Dr. Berman and his team have kept this in mind as they fashioned a new approach to school clusters and magnet sites. They have used school assignment planning as an opportunity to position JCPS for broader, deeper success.
Statistics just released by the state Department of Education underline only one of the unmet challenges: a dropout rate of 6.4 percent last year, and a graduation rate of 72.7 percent. Those are not acceptable numbers, in an era when the high school diploma is a minimum requirement for finding stable and meaningful work.
Friday, May 30, 2008
This from the Courier-Journal:
The board says yes