Friday, March 29, 2013

Kentucky to JCPS: Make fixes at low-performing schools or face takeover

If not, low-performing schools face takeover

 This 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.


Anonymous said...

Let's send Dr. Holliday into these schools. Let's watch the reformer make the needed reforms.Please allow the Redeemer, the savior, the rescuer, to stop the "academic genocide."

Anonymous said...

KDE is being painted as failing on in its consistent monitoring and demanding consistent expectations? Is that all our state is willing to do watch and point fingers? If I were JCPS I would say come on in if you think you can do better but do so with the same resources and conditions current educators have.

How can you say principals and teachers are working hard after telling them they are committing academic genocide?

I would really like to see the actual game plan. KDE basically applies the same cookie cutter intervention stratagies all schools regardless if they are in Leitchfield, LaGrange or Louisville. I guarantee KDE isn't stepping foot in there - instead they will contract it out to an outside vendor, just like they have all other aspects associated with educational development and leadership the last 8 years.

Anonymous said...

I know this isn't a popular position but maybe we need to be expecting more out of parents and neighborhoods in which these children live. Until we are ever able to get at that, we are never going to get rid of the gap with their higher SES counterparts.

Anonymous said...

So the Commish now controls the purse strings for federal grant dollars? I am betting that aspect was not part of the parameters of the grant. What a supportive guy, threatening to cut funds to failing schools - so who would be committing academic genocide then?