Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Williams proposes turning JCPS over to the mayor

Senate President and GOP gubernatorial nominee David Williams is proposing eliminating the Jefferson County Board of Education and placing the state’s largest school district under the control of the Louisville mayor.

It’s a new idea for Kentucky that is already being done elsewhere – including New York City, which has seen significant academic improvement since the mayor took over the school system.

Noting that a majority of the lowest-performing schools in the commonwealth are in Louisville, Williams said the Jefferson County Public Schools system is are holding back the rest of the state.

He said the JCPS board is “dysfunctional and is under the control of the teachers union (and) will never change unless people stand up.”

It’s no shocker that defenders of the status quo oppose Williams’ move.

Jefferson County teachers union boss Brent McKim called the Burkesville Republican’s comments “ridiculous,” while Gov. Steve Beshear claims “the system has worked well.”

Actually, what’s “ridiculous” is, according to the Legislative Research Commission, is that the teachers union has stood in the way of the district placing enough highly skilled educators in JCPS’ lowest-performing schools.

Finally, based on his Pollyanna comments, the governor seems uninformed about the fact that Jefferson County is home to 59 percent of Kentucky’s Persistently Low-Achieving Schools – way more than the percentage of Kentucky’s public-school students enrolled in JCPS.

Does this sound like a system that "has worked well?”

In fact, Williams’s description of the board as “dysfunctional” may have been too nice.

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