The latest shot in the “academic genocide” tiff between the Kentucky Department of Education and Jefferson County public school educators got fired in today’s Courier-Journal. Says the Courier, “Teachers union denies holding up low-performing Jefferson County schools.”
Jefferson County Teachers Association (JCTA) president Brent McKim is challenging Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday to come up with specific examples of how teachers in some of Louisville’s Persistently Low-Achieving Schools (PLAs) road blocked needed changes.
“We are particularly interested in which specific schools have been demonstrating ‘significant resistance’ with some detail, so we can plan school visits to these sites to try to understand what has been occurring.”
McKim’s latest action mystifies me.
I don’t understand why he and his staff aren’t already spending time in those PLAs and do not already know what is going on. It’s no secret which schools are not performing well – we all know that. Why isn’t JCTA already there?
There’s still more mystery. Holliday already provided some very specific examples of union-related resistance to reforms.
Some of those examples include teachers who attempt to hide behind the union’s contract to avoid meeting together in collaborative groups and to avoid receiving in-class coaching.
In fact, there has been a lot published on union interference in the Jefferson County PLAs.
All of which could make McKim’s new challenge a mistake.
McKim’s challenge could force identification of individual teachers who did the things Holliday has already discussed. If individual teachers refused to cooperate without legal support (and, even McKim has admitted the PLAs law supersedes the union’s contract), such teacher refusal might be considered insubordination. Insubordination can get an employee fired regardless of union protection.
In the end, someone could walk away from this game as a very big loser.
Meanwhile, as the adult squabbling continues, thousands of Jefferson County kids remain trapped in PLAs that aren’t making much, if any, improvement.