But, even the superintendent indicates the student assignment plan has major issues
It’s crazy. Earlier this week on June 9, 2020, BIPPS released my short Policy Note update to our 2016 report on Blacks Continue Falling Through Gaps in Louisville’s Schools, The 2016 Update. The 2020 Policy Note was issued mostly to update some of the testing and graduation rate data in the earlier report, which now has 4-years old data, to see if the picture had changed. It had not.
In any event, almost instantly, I got negative comments on Twitter from folks saying I had no idea what I was talking about. Comments first appeared just hours after the report was released, making it hard to believe the critics had spent much time with the Policy Note and the referenced, larger 2016 report to really consider everything I was saying.
Anyway, on June 12, 2020 the Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) issued this very forth-right YouTube from Superintendent Marty Pollio that explains exactly how crazy busing can get for students in West Louisville, which has a heavily black population.
Here is the map Dr. Pollio used in his YouTube with school labels added. Let’s talk about this.
Pollio says that even though a student lives right next to The Academy @ Shawnee High School, under the current busing plan, when that student goes to middle school, he or she gets hauled all the way over to the Kammerer Middle School instead of a middle school much closer to home.
Things change when the student goes to high school. The student gets hauled far away again for high school, and even in a different direction, to attend Doss High School – this in spite of the fact that the student lives on the doorstep of Shawnee High.
All of this distancing makes it harder for the student’s parents to be involved in the schools, of course, especially when you consider the area around Shawnee isn’t high income.
And, while not mentioned in the YouTube, we are most likely talking about a black student.
Anyway, the video is an amazingly simple and clear example that compliments the concerns in my report that busing in JCPS is problematic, and even the superintendent of JCPS knows and honestly admits this.
There is more. Dr. Pollio didn’t discuss the academic performances in the schools he mentioned, so I’ll add that.
As of the latest 2019 KPREP results,
- Black students in Kammerer Middle School only scored 11.7% proficient in math.
- Black students in Doss High did even worse, scoring only 4.2% proficient in math!
- Even black students in Shawnee score slightly better than that at 8.7% proficient.
Maybe, if all the students involved were not caught up in this massive busing madness and all only had to go short distances to school, grades for all just might be higher due to less fatigue and greater ability of their parents to be involved with their school.
By the way, I also checked results for the closest middle school to Shawnee High. It is the Western Middle School. Black students there scored 30.4% proficient in math. That is nearly three times better than what Kammerer produced in 2019. But, under the current JCPS busing plan, instead of going to Kammerer, West Louisville kids get hauled far away to much lower-performing Kammerer.
Does this make sense?
Anyway, for all those folks who jumped on my report earlier this week, listen to Dr. Pollio and then realize that busing has been extremely unfair to students from West Louisville, something Dr. Pollio has been saying for some time and which BIPPS has been pointing out for the better part of a decade.
Then, get on the bandwagon to make this better instead of wasting everyone’s time trying to discredit reports that overall point out important problems regarding achievement gaps in both academics and with obviously different standards used to grant high school diplomas.