The Jefferson County School Board will soon decide whether to renew the contract of Superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens beyond this June. We've had four years now to observe Dr. Hargens' leadership style and its results, and while things are still far from perfect in our public schools, it's indisputable that we've come a long way since 2011.
JCPS has met its academic targets two years in a row. The graduation rate is up. College and career readiness rates are up. Proficiency is up. And this past fall we learned that JCPS moved from the 35th to the 51st percentile in state test results.
Make no mistake, being better than only 51% of the rest of the schools in the state isn't great, but the momentum has been reversed, and Dr. Hargens deserves a lot of credit for that.
Fixing the damage that's been done in recent decades to the quality of our schools is a long term process. And anyone in charge of an organization that serves over 100,000 children with an employee work force of more than 14,000 and has to satisfy the demands of parents, a tough teachers union and an out of touch state legislature faces an almost impossible task.
Still, when we ask, “How are things now compared to when she began?” it's pretty clear -- Dr. Hargens has proven herself an able leader, and she deserves to continue as our superintendent.