Insider Louisville just posted a rather interesting article that discusses two former Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) leaders now in the “fight for JCPS takeover.”
The first individual is Tom Hudson, the former chief business officer for JCPS. Hudson has been highly active in the Op-Ed world recently, penning at least two articles in the Courier-Journal alone about “The cowardice of JCPS leaders puts kids and staff at risk. The state must step in | Tom Hudson” and “Kentucky should handle contract with JCPS teachers’ union, critic says.” Both call for the state to take over the schools.
Hudson has also written to Kentucky’s interim commissioner of Education Wayne Lewis, directly asking for a state takeover in a letter that strikes us as even more inflammatory than the Insider’s coverage makes it seem.
Suffice it to say, racism is far from the only zinger Hudson is hurling. With his former insider’s insight, Hudson hits on issues from an inappropriate way to finance teacher salaries that creates serious imbalances in staff experience levels across schools to improprieties in the last teachers’ union contract negotiation.
We can’t confirm if Hudson is right, but the charges, coming from a former JCPS insider, need consideration and the public deserves access to the letter. So, thanks to permission from Mr. Hudson, we obtained a slightly edited version of his letter, including all attachments, and you can read the disturbing charges for yourself by clicking here.
But, Hudson isn’t the only former JCPS person discussed in the Insider’s article.
The Insider reports that an old friend, Dr. Dewey Hensley, former chief academic officer at JCPS, has also written a short note to commissioner Lewis regarding JCPS takeover. Hensley isn’t pulling punches, either. He says adults in the district might be happier now, but that doesn’t equate to better education for students, something yet to be proven. Hensley also indicates there is considerable resistance on the part of JCPS principals to real change, something that probably led to his fiery resignation letter back in 2015.
What is really sad is that Hensley had a real track record in turning ailing schools around, as we mentioned years earlier following a site visit to the J.B. Atkinson Elementary School in Louisville.
With Dr. Hensley JCPS had the talent it needed to make real change, but this troubled school system squandered that opportunity.
There is another interesting Louisville personality speaking out in favor of a state takeover. Humana cofounder David Jones Sr. is on record calling for the state to take over the school system.
Says Jones, Sr.:
“We’ve had one superintendent after another — who are incredibly talented, as I’m sure Marty is — but the schools don’t get fixed,” Jones Sr. said. “Something has to happen that is different from what is happening now.”
Marty is Dr. Marty Pollio, the current superintendent of the JCPS. Obviously, Jones Sr. doesn’t think the school system can be changed without dramatic – external – intervention that will break up the current power structure in the school district.
There is an interesting tie to David Jones Sr. It is his son, David Jones Jr., the former chair of the Jefferson County Board of Education, who I incorrectly thought had made the comments mentioned above, though they actually are from his father.
I am told that, unlike his father, David Jones Jr. has not specifically spoken out publicly for a state takeover of the JCPS system. However, along with his father he is a member of the Steering Committee for Action on Louisville’s Agenda (SCALA) and heads that group’s subcommittee on education. Some of the Jones Jr. comments in a recent InsiderLouisville article make an interesting read.
This also makes for an interesting list of players in the growing food fight over who will run the JCPS system. Will more voices be added? Stay tuned.
Note: This corrects an earlier version of this blog that incorrectly attributed comments made by David Jones Sr. to David Jones Jr.