JCPS Racial Equity Policy Meeting

The JCPS Racial Equity Policy Advisory Council meets at the VanHoose Education Center, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (WDRB Photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Hiring more teachers of color and modifying school curriculum are just a couple ways JCPS is trying to close the achievement gap.

On Wednesday night, the district introduced some new benchmarks to hit in 2020 at the Racial Equity Policy Advisory Council meeting. This comes after the board passed a Racial Equity Policy in May.

Some of those defined goals are:

  • A 25 percent increase in students enrolled in culturally-relevant courses
  • Add nearly 4,000 culturally-sensitive books to school libraries
  • Close the achievement gap between black and white students by 3 percent
  • Decrease the suspension rate of students of color by 10 percent
  • Hire 2 percent more teachers of color; and an additional 5 percent administrators of color
  • Identify an additional 270 gifted and talented students of color

The council also discussed potential changes to student curriculum. Right now, members consider it too European-focused.

"(The current curriculum) is not inaccurate, but it just has holes in it," said  JCPS Chief Equity Officer Dr. John Marshall. "What they're calling for is to make sure other things are put into the curriculum that expose, explain, give credence and credit to other cultures."

"One of the things I did in my classroom was make sure my students knew that our history didn't begin with slavery," said teacher Shashray McCormack.

"I do believe the vast majority of teachers will do what you do if they're given that training and knowledge and professional development," Superintendent Dr. Marry Pollio replied. 

The policy also develops implicit bias training for teachers. That means identifying attitudes or stereotypes that affect how they view and treat others.

"It always starts with introspection," Marshall said. "Our training is going to start with teachers having to understand where they are in their beliefs, addressing their beliefs and then seeing how their beliefs are put on or imparted onto the student."

Central office officials took feedback at the meeting will incorporate it into their final draft of the plan, which will be presented at the next board meeting on Jan. 8.

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