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Local News Politics

JCTA President Says Shakeups At High Schools Is The Wrong Tactic

The head of the teachers union in Louisville says replacing the principals and teachers at three underperforming schools will not solve the schools’ problems.

This week, state auditors declared that the principals at Iroquois, Waggener and Southern high schools must be replaced. Teachers at the schools could also be moved.

Jefferson County Teachers Association President Brent McKim says that’s unnecessary. While he disagrees with the methods used to declare the schools low-achieving, he says the state should try to improve training for teachers, and not simply move them around.

“You take teachers who are working their hearts out to make a difference for these kids, and instead of celebrating their dedication and trying to help them do even better, I feel like the government is pointing a finger at them, blaming them,” he says.

McKim echoes statements made by the principal of Iroquois High School, saying the shakeups are demoralizing. The three schools were among six in Louisville on a recent list of ten persistently low-performing schools.

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Local News Politics

Williams And Rand Discuss Schools, Immigration At Forum

Some of the bills passed by the Kentucky Senate during the opening week of the General Assembly may not move forward in the House. One leading Democrat says several of the GOP’s top pieces of legislation are either nearly dead or unlikely to pass a full vote.

Democratic Representative and House Appropriations Chair Rick Rand appeared opposite Senate President David Williams at the Louisville Forum Wednesday. Williams spoke favorably of several bills that have passed the Republican-led Senate, including the neighborhood schools bill and an Arizona-style immigration bill.

But Rand says the legislation won’t gain much support in the House, and aside from some updates to the budget, this legislative session could be one of impasse.

“It’s going to be, depending on how willing the Senate is to compromise on anything, obviously we’re not going to pass any of them like they are,” he says. “We’re just going to have to wait and see. We just got the bills last Friday.”

Rand says House members are reviewing several GOP bills from the Senate and considering whether to give them committee hearings and whether to modify them.

But Williams is standing by the legislation. He co-sponsored the neighborhood schools bill, which would give students priority enrollment at the schools closest to their homes and would allow charter schools to be established.

Opponents say it would dismantle the JCPS student assignment plan and failing schools in Louisville are already heavily attended by students who live nearby. But Williams says the district can’t help those schools, because officials are distracted by the assignment plan.

“The approach that they’re taking now is failing the children of Jefferson County,” he says. “They’re spending all this money to try to…It’s a charade! Now, diversity is a goal that is worthy, but you can get diversity with magnet schools and other approaches.”

Williams is one of two Republican candidates running for governor. Jefferson County Teachers Association president Brent McKim says Williams’s support of the bill is a political ploy.

“With any assignment plan, you’re never going to have 100% of the parents happy,” says McKim. “Just like any schedule you make for a school year, it interferes with someone’s wedding or someone’s vacation. You’ll never have everyone happy and I think those legitimate frustrations are being preyed upon by Senator Williams.”

The legislation has passed the Republican-led Senate, but House Democrats say it’s unlikely to move forward.

The full forum:

Audio MP3