LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Kentucky Education Commissioner is standing behind controversial comments that Jefferson County Public Schools is committing "academic genocide" against some of its students.
Terry Holliday said a recent state analysis revealed 16 of 18 schools that underwent overhauls in the past three years because of bad test scores showed little or no improvement despite millions of dollars in funding.
"Genocide by itself would not be relevant to this situation," Holliday said in an interview Tuesday. "But academic genocide means these kids are not getting prepared for what they need in the future."
Holliday said an example of that is Shawnee High School, where only about 40 of 100 students graduate. And only six are college ready.
Holliday warned a state takeover of some failing schools could be coming, but said the state is going to wait until they see the results of 2013 graduation and college readiness rates before deciding which failing schools will be taken over.
Holiday said the state is also to blame for failing to make sure JCPS followed improvement plans, including allowing principals to make decisions on hiring and adapting curriculum to match under performing students. But Holliday said the ultimate responsibility lies with JCPS.
Holliday said the term "academic genocide" was coined by the NAACP, and applies to a systemic failure on the part of JCPS to educate low income and minority students. He said that failure impacts the entire Louisville Metro.
"Parents ought to be angry that their kids are not getting prepared for the future," Holliday said. "And the whole community should be concerned that kids aren't ready for the jobs that are coming here. You talk to the folks at Ford, GE, and they'll tell you they couldn't find a work force, they had to import a workforce for this community."
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