If not, low-performing schools face takeoverThis from the Courier-Journal:
Jefferson County Public Schools must better train its principals and remove union obstructions at its lowest-performing schools — part of a host of changes the district has to make to avoid a state takeover of those schools’ turnaround efforts.
The directives were outlined in a six-page letter written by Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday to JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens and school board Chairwoman Diane Porter and discussed during a 90-minute private meeting Tuesday morning with David Karem, chairman of the Kentucky Board of Education, and other officials.
Hargens promised after the meeting the district “will address any specifics that are in the letter.”
“These are schools that have some challenges, and we are working through those and we have principals and staffs in place who are working hard,” she said. “This is really about the alignment of our efforts.”
The letter detailed ongoing problems that frustrated state education officials say have undermined turnaround efforts at 16 of the 18 JCPS schools that have been forced to undergo overhauls for chronically low student achievement.
That frustration bubbled over in recent weeks when Holliday called the lack of improvement at the those schools “academic genocide.”
In his letter, which The Courier-Journal obtained, Holliday reiterated “the urgency and need for turnaround efforts to ensure that all students in Jefferson County are provided an equal and adequate education under a system of efficient schools, as required by the state constitution.”
Holliday noted that the district has made improvements, including increased collaboration with state officials and higher graduation rates at some troubled schools.
And he acknowledged that the state shares some of the blame for failing to consistently monitor those schools or demand consistent expectations.
But he made it clear that the district must make changes if it wants to maintain control of turnaround efforts at its schools. And he threatened to withhold millions of dollars in federal grants earmarked for several schools if they failed to follow through with their turnaround plans.