“The Kentucky Black Alliance for Educational Options Pastors Coalition…is saddened by this attempt to defraud our people and cheat our students out of a great education.”
The Louisville-based group’s response to the closing of Myer’s Middle School was published in an op-ed featured in the Monday edition of the Courier-Journal.
In their letter, the pastors recounted how the Kentucky Department of Education labeled 18 Jefferson County schools as “low-performing” and outlined the department’s subsequent efforts to promote academic achievement in the district. Unfortunately, progress was elusive in a number of those schools, particularly in Myers Middle School. As such, the school district voted on May 12 to close the school, “a decision that lacks community voice and parent insight.”
The seventh and eighth grade students of failing Myers Middle School will now be attending the failing Waggener High School where they will be taught separately. In other words, Jefferson County School officials are responding to failure by sending them to another low-performing school. Can progress really be expected out of the closure if this is the remedy?
According to report findings, Jefferson County Schools have over 360 administrators that are paid over $100,000 to make Jefferson County school decisions. While these bureaucrats are lining their pocketbooks, teachers all across the district are unable to get funding for necessary classroom supplies or better technology to help their students learn. Instead of empowering our students with the tools and education they need for a bright future, Jefferson County Schools are setting them up for failure. Unfortunately, that failure falls hardest on our low-income children, about half of which are minority children.
In the face of failing schools across the state, both the Bluegrass Institute and The Kentucky Black Alliance for Educational Options Pastors Coalition strongly support the legalization of school choice, including the adoption of charter schools to supplement our current education system. Charter schools (which are not, in fact, private schools) have proven to be hugely successful in neighboring states, such as Tennessee and Indiana. If implemented, charter schools would provide high-quality education options for our children, and we simply cannot continue to send our students to failing schools.
Elaina Waters, BIPPS Intern