Wednesday, April 29, 2015

NAACP president says minority employees face retaliation in FCPS

This from the Herald-Leader:
Minority employees are being retaliated against and threatened with the loss of their jobs because of the pending Human Rights Commission complaint against Fayette County Public Schools, William Saunders, president of the Lexington chapter of the NAACP, told the school board at a Monday meeting.

NAACP officials did not provide specifics but said the lack of minority hiring was also a big problem.

NAACP members have appeared at at least two other school board meetings to press for change.
"We are putting you on notice this evening that this conversation will not go away and will not be swept under the carpet neither," Saunders said. "The NAACP and other community leaders will continue our quest to ensure that all employees are treated equally and fairly and given the same opportunities as their peers in the FCPS school district."

Of particular concern is that of 115 central office staff members, only 18 percent are minority, despite the fact that the student population is 46 percent minority, said NAACP member Alvin Seals. He said a lack of transparency was a problem.

Minority representation on the cabinet of district leaders has fallen to 15 percent this semester, the lowest since 2012, Seals said.

Acting Superintendent Marlene Helm responded Tuesday: "Our school district is committed to consistently treating all employees with fairness, respect and dignity. And if there are instances where that is not happening, we need to be made aware of the issues and we will address them head-on."
Helm told the Herald-Leader last month that district officials were committed to recruiting and retaining a diversified workforce. She said then that the district was not satisfied with data and was actively working to improve the numbers.

Anthony Everett, pastor of Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church, said the problems were systemic.

The Lexington-Fayette County Human Rights Commission has filed a discrimination complaint against Fayette County Public Schools.

Executive director Raymond Sexton said Tuesday the investigation was continuing. Sexton previously said the complaint was filed in January after he had received several complaints alleging that district employees were victims of race discrimination.

Saunders said there were several departments at central office as well as within the schools where there are no minorities or they hold mostly support staff or non-management positions. There are cabinet members who do not have any minorities as part of their management team, he said. There are cabinet members who do not have minorities in their departments at all, Saunders said.

"The leadership within the school district as well as the school board has demonstrated by their non-action that they are not champions of diversity nor inclusion," said Saunders.

The district continues to practice discriminatory patterns against minorities in areas such as salary and compensation, hiring and retention, said Saunders.

He said the NAACP would be supporting all efforts for information to be turned over to the state Office of Education Accountability, The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Human Rights Commission.

NAACP members hope that the recently hired associate director of minority recruitment and retention will play a vital role in ensuring an equitable and diverse pool of candidates.

Read more here:


Bringyoursaddlehome said...

Here we go again with the number spinning from these folks. Minorities comprise about 25% of Fayette Counties total population, so I am not so sure 18% of the central office is indicative of the degree of discrimination that is being claimed. Actually, the 18% is higher than the cumulative 11% representation in district staffing.

Comparing percentage of minority students to percentage of minority administrators is a skewed comparison. School age kids only make up 8.5% of Lexington's population with working age population being about 31% of the population. If you look at minority representation in these two different groups you find that it is significantly higher in the school age kids than it is in the working age group. So expecting that there should be some sort of equal representation (by the way is 44% minority) is a flaw expectation and would actually result in over representation of minorities in the work force.

Regardless of the numbers, if these folks' theory is that staffing should reflect community population or even student population in order to address inequity or instructional effectiveness, then there is an even great concern which should be addressed. As mentioned in an earlier response. Male students comprise 51% of the all students yet only 20% of the district's employees are male. That is a much more significant difference in this student/staff proportionality frame that is being presented. So why no protests for that or special recruitment initiatives for males? I suspect the retort would be it is not discrimination by the system toward men but rather the choice of men not to seek out the positions. Wow, wonder if that could be the case in other situations?

lucaya said...

Dear Sir or Madame No number spinning by the NAACP here; these numbers we provided the Herald Leader are the school district's own numbers.

You are correct about one thing; there need to be more men in education to provide male role models to children who are from single parent households. The NAACP both nationally and locally advocates aggressively for this. Why not protest at this point against the fact that men are under represented? Because FCPS did not reply to our open records request with complete demographic information. As it seems that you posses this data from your comments above, could you please forward it to me (or Dr. Day if you choose to remain anonymous??


Michael Winkler, MD, in my capacity as Health and Wellness Committee Chair for the Lexington NAACP.

Bringyoursaddlehome said...

The information is public information that any citizen can access online through KDE via school/district report cards and other public domain info. No need for open records requests.

I honestly don't think one needs an open records request recognize the disproportionate lack of males in education. With that said and having served on many educator hiring committees, I don't believe this lack of male representation is based upon discrimination but rather on the lower number of males going into the profession. Just take a look at most any college of education undergrad enrollment in this state and one will see the lack of males and minorities who are seeking to go into the education profession.