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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A new state study reveals only two of the 18 lowest performing schools in JCPS are making "acceptable progress" toward improved student achievement.
And comments from the state education commissioner comparing JCPS efforts to "academic genocide" brought defensive remarks from board members and the superintendent on Monday night.
Board member David Jones Jr. said Commissioner Terry Holliday's use of what he called the "vicious" word "genocide" was the "elephant in the room" throughout the school board meeting. Principals of three of the troubled schools and one of their supervisors spent more than an hour trumpeting their successes and refuting some of the state numbers before Jones first asked Superintendent Donna Hargens her response to the comment.
"I think everybody shares the sense of urgency that the commissioner does, so we share the common goal. We want success for our students in Jefferson County." Hargens told reporters.
The two schools with the acceptable progress, as seen by the state's latest study, are Fern Creek and Fairdale high schools.
Another 11 (Knight, Thomas Jefferson, Olmstead Academy North, Western M.S.; Academy at Shawnee, Iroquois, Seneca, Southern, Valley, Waggener, Western H.S.), have shown some progress, but five schools show "zero" progress, (Frost, Myers, Stuart, Westport M.S.; and Doss H.S.) according to the state report.
Terry Holliday told the Courier-Journal the situation is "academic genocide" -- and the state may have to step in to speed up improvements.
He did not respond specifically to JCPS in a statement to WDRB News Monday, which read in part:
"Some schools, however, are not making adequate progress relative to student achievement, graduation rates and college and career readiness. I am concerned about what that means for the children in those schools and the communities in which they live. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to helping low-achieving schools overcome the numerous challenges they face." Holliday said.
The state examined test scores, graduation rates, and what's called "college and career readiness" and compared them to the improvement plans each individual school has in place.
Its officials found many of the JCPS schools are not following those plans or moving too slowly to do so -- and have inadequate oversight from JCPS administrators.