Defining Fairness Local News

LGBTQ Community More Than Black & White: Tiff Gonzales, Defining Fairness

Tiff Gonzales is a fourth-generation Mexican American, native to Texas, who identifies as queer both in gender identity and sexual orientation.

Tiff moved to Louisville five and a half years ago for work. She says when we talk about race in Louisville, we’re generally only talking about black and white. Latino issues re rarely part of the conversation, and when they are, it often only includes immigrants. “There’s so much that draws me to this city,” she says, “but that invisibility is something that I, on a regular basis, would struggle with to determine whether or not I can continue to live here.”

Tiff says there’s a certain loneliness in the lack of a community of folks who share similar identities. “I could name maybe just a couple of other people who I feel like would hold the identities of being a queer Latino here in this city.” But, she says, “I’m hopeful that there will be some change in that in the city that I really do love.”

When Tiff Gonzales spoke with WFPL’s Phillip M. Bailey and Laura Ellis, the conversation at one point turned to tokenism and whether the trouble with seeking diversity on panels and projects like this is that one person is asked to represent the experiences of an entire group—whether it’s race, class, LGBTQ status, etc. “I really struggled with accepting this invitation. I thought, I’m going to be put into this position where I need to answer a question as one person, for—truly, when we’re talking about Latinos in the United States—millions upon millions of people.”

“I am one person, who has been shaped by many other people, and many other experiences. I can only tell you what it’s like to be me.”

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Local News

Neighborhood Schools Bill Introduced Again in Kentucky Senate

For the third year, a neighborhood schools bill has been introduced in the Kentucky state Senate.

Republican Sen. Dan Seum of Louisville introduced Senate Bill 9 Monday, the final day bills were allowed to be submitted to the legislature.

Two other measures have previously won Senate approval but failed in the House. Seum said there’s no strategic reason for waiting to introduce the bill this late in the session and that the issue is not new. Jefferson County students are spending too much time on buses in order to satisfy diversity requirements in the JCPS assignment plan, he said.

Local News Next Louisville Politics

JCPS Board Won’t Delay Middle School Assignment Plan

The Jefferson County Board of Education has decided not to further delay implementation of its new student assignment plan for middle school students.

The board took up the matter at its Monday meeting after consultant Dr. Gary Orfield suggested the plan be put off one more year, after he finishes a report he’s compiling on it.

The middle school plan had already been delayed once in hopes of avoiding the transportation problems that occurred following implementation of the elemenatary assignment plan.

But the four board members who originally voted to implement the middle school plan this fall stuck to their votes, including Larry Hujo.

“I’m going to do it with the understanding that our transportation folks that say this can be done, they damn well better be right, or next year they’re going to have to deal with me. And if they can’t get it right, I’m going to tell you now, I’m going to work like hell to make sure that the new person with that job gets it right,” he said.

Superintendent Sheldon Berman says delaying the plan another year would have affected as many as 1,500 sixth graders.

The high school assignment plan is scheduled for implementation in the fall of 2012.

Local News Next Louisville

JCPS Middle School Assignment Plan To Begin In 2011; HS Delayed

The Jefferson County Board of Education voted Monday night to forward with its new student assignment plan for middle school students next year, but will delay implementation of the high school plan until the 2012-2013 academic year.

The 4 to 3 vote came after lengthy discussion and input from the public. Board members Debbie Wesslund, Carol Haddad and Joe Hardesty voted ‘no.’

Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission Director Carolyn Miller Cooper was among several speakers who urged the board to implement both plans next year.

“Do the right thing. The nation is watching us. Our children are watching us and our children want to know why we can’t make a decision and move forward,” she said.

Implementation of middle and high school assignment plans was already delayed by one year amid concerns about potential transportation problems.

Some board members wanted a further delay because of transportation issues this year and complaints about the elementary plan, which was put into action in the fall of 2009.

Local News

Hearing Tomorrow in JCPS Student Assignment Case

A hearing is set for tomorrow afternoon in federal court in Louisville regarding a challenge to Jefferson County Public Schools’ student assignment plan.

Last week, attorney Teddy Gordon filed a request for an injunction on behalf of two plaintiffs whose children were seeking entrance to Stopher Elementary school as kindergarteners. Gordon wants the plan halted, and new assignments made before the start of school on the 13th.

Gordon says JCPS claims kindergarteners are exempt from the plan but is assigning them as it would older students.

“If kindergarten students are exempt, number one, why are they still being bused?,” says Gordon, “and number two, who chose the 124 spots at Stopher Elementary?”

But JCPS Student Assignment Director Pat Todd says kindergarteners aren’t exempt from the plan. She says they’re only exempt from the district’s diversity guidelines.

“There is one student assignment plan,” says Todd. “One component of that applies to elementary schools, grades K-5. And all of the strategies and components apply to all grades, and only the issue of the diversity guideline does not apply at the kindergarten level.”

Gordon’s clients are of Indian and Chinese descent.  He claims they were assigned based solely on race, which would violate the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Meredith vs. the Jefferson County Board of Education.

State of Affairs

Cross Cultural Connections

Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Cross Cultural Connections
Relationships between African Americans and Hispanics, once unified during the Civil Rights Movement, seem to be breaking down as competition for jobs, health services and housing becomes fiercer. How is Louisville being affected by “Black-Brown” tension and what is being done to promote harmony between minority groups? Cross Cultural Connections, a race relations program created by the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission, the Louisville Urban League and the Hispanic Latino Coalition is helping to bridge the cultural gap between Kentucky’s Hispanics and African Americans, Tuesday on State of Affairs.

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State of Affairs

Supervising a Diverse Workplace

Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Supervising a Diverse Workplace
Despite jokes you may have heard on The Office, workplace diversity is still a serious issue. Amidst shifting demographics in our country and its workplaces, promoting diversity and a culture of inclusion is increasingly important at all levels of the business sector. It goes beyond hiring practices to the attitudes and actions of a company’s highest echelons. We will explore the challenges and benefits of supervising a diverse workplace; join us with your own experiences, Wednesday on State of Affairs.

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Arts and Humanities Local News WFPL News Department Podcast

JCPS Holds Sessions on Assignment Plan

Officials of Jefferson County Public Schools are holding public meetings about proposed changes to the system’s assignment plan. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

Tomorrow the district is holding the first of seven meetings this month about the new assignment plan. (See below for locations and times.)

The plan is supposed to create diversity in schools. It redraws boundary lines for 16 high schools and 20 middle schools for the 2010-11 school year.  The district proposed the plan in December, and the school board would have to approve it.

Pat Todd of the public school system says the plan will affect at least 1,000 and as many as 1,500 students in next year’s fifth and eighth grades.

“We anticipate a minimal number of students will have to change,” Todd says, “because we’ve tried to provide for as much continuity in the changes as absolutely possible.”

Todd says Todd says the meetings are intended to help parents understand the plan and that the plan has been devised to accommodate families.

“We’re going to try to provide opportunities for siblings to stay together and for transfers,” Todd says. “And there’s still going to be lots of choices for parents.”

Last year, the county board of education approved changes in the elementary assignment plan after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the district’s old plan that made assignments according to a student’s race.

Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009, 7 p.m., Ramsey Middle School, 6409 Gellhaus Lane
Wednesday, Feb.11, 2009, 7 p.m., Westport Middle School, 8100 Westport Road
Thursday, Feb.12, 2009, 7 p.m., Shawnee High School, 4018 W. Market Street
Wednesday, Feb.18, 2009, 7 p.m., Louisville Urban League, 1535 West Broadway
Thursday, Feb.19, 2009, 7 p.m., Eastern High School, 12400 Old Shelbyville Road
Tuesday, Feb.24, 2009, 7 p.m., Western Middle School, 2201 W. Main St.
Thursday, Feb.26, 2009, 7 p.m., Doss High School, 7601 St. Andrews Church Road


State of Affairs

Diversity in Kentucky's Colleges & Universities

Friday, November 21, 2008
Diversity in Kentucky’s Colleges & Universities
Let’s say you are a current college student in Kentucky – if you look around at your fellow students, what do you see? Are they all white, or mainly white? What percentage of your classmates are African-American, or Latino, or of any other of myriad ethnicities who live and learn in our communities? Well the Council on Postsecondary Education wanted to know about diversity on Kentucky’s campuses so they commissioned an independent study. Join us on Friday when we talk about the results of the study: Building on Success – Educational Diversity and Equity in Kentucky Higher Education.

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