Groups Begins Study of Alternative Education in Jefferson County

by Devin Katayama on March 19, 2012

The Louisville League of Women Voters is beginning preliminary discussions Monday for what’s expected to be a year-long study of disciplinary education in Jefferson County Public Schools.

The non-profit political group often holds discussions and offers opinions on various matters concerning the region. Officials for the group said the study is partly a response to negative reports regarding inequities and discrepancies in the district over the past year.

“Alternative schools have way more African American students than the [general] student population. So we’re going to look at inequities [and] what other studies have been conducted,” said Frances Sandifer Cotton, a member of the education committee for Louisville’s League of Women Voters.

There have been reports over the past year about how certain students are unfairly treated, including a lawsuit filed by a small group of JCPS families over changes to the district’s disciplinary policies.

Cotton said the group has decided to study the district’s alternative schools because there isn’t much known about them.

Jackie Wisman, director of Safe and Drug-Free Schools for JCPS, is expected to be a guest speaker at Monday night’s forum. His department helps refer at-risk students to the necessary education environments. His department sees over 7,000 students a year, he said.

JCPS is unique in that it doesn’t expel its students, but instead tries to find an appropriate intervention for them, Wisman said. This encourages students who have been expelled in neighboring counties to move into Jefferson County for education, he said.

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