After spending a few hours – yes! hours! I can’t peel myself away from this stuff! – looking at teachers’ salaries (www.courier-journal.com/pay) and school rankings (www.schooldigger.com), I still don’t how JCPS and the teachers’ union have the nerve to continue placing blame squarely on parents and poverty for Louisville’s education crisis. I think it’s a cop-out and a totally pathetic excuse. Yes, poverty is a problem. It’s just part of the problem with poor academic performance. However, schools in low-income neighborhoods of Louisville are being treated very differently from schools in more prosperous sections of town – and that’s making this problem exponentially worse.
The folks at JCPS along with their braindead megaphone, the Crapola-Journal, tell us, “The problem is poverty! And uninvolved parents!” “There’s just nothing we can do about poverty!” Or we hear, “These parents are horrible, they never volunteer!” Well, let me fill you in on a weird little secret. There is a pretty good chunk of solidly middle-class, college-educated parents who are pathological volunteers and their kids are as dumb as a box of rocks. Somebody needs to explain that one because that punches all kinds of holes in the poverty excuse.
Anyway. Back to the real subject.
Below is a quick peek at the kind of financial and academic shenanigans that our school district is pulling. You have to do some mental exercises with the numbers I’m giving you – I KNOW YOU CAN HANDLE IT! There is a direct correlation between teachers’ salaries and experience. Higher pay = more experience. Pretty simple stuff, right? And I’m giving you a manageable set of data – fifteen data points for teachers’ salaries – and only teachers’ salaries. So, you can nitpick the method but my point is – there is an direct correlation here and it isn’t a good one…
Total salary of the fifteen highest-paid teachers at Greathouse Traditional Elementary: $1,096,703
Total salary of the fifteen highest-paid teachers at Lincoln Elementary: $817,307
Difference in totals: $279,402
Difference stated in percent: Greathouse receives 134% more than Lincoln
Average salary of the top fifteen at Greathouse: $73,000
Average salary of the top fifteen at Lincoln: $55,000
Ranking of Greathouse Traditional Elementary (Louisville, KY) out of Kentucky’s 704 elementary schools: 21
Ranking of Lincoln Elementary: 704
Percentage of black students at Greathouse: 17.7%
Percentage of black students at Lincoln: 64.9%
Did you spot the correlation? Sure you did! Funding at other low-performing schools is just as dismal and in a few cases, much worse.
And, yes, yes,yes, I am absolutely aware of the millions that JCPS invested in the performing arts program at Lincoln. Honestly, I find that so crazy that it makes my head spin. If the kids can’t read or perform math at grade level and their school is ranked dead-last in one of the crummiest states in the country, sinking a bundle into performing arts is like putting pricey, Z-rated tires on a girly, little Mini-Cooper; it just doesn’t make sense. JCPS already has a well-documented track record for a magnet school with an arts-heavy curriculum and it’s called Byck Elementary. Look it up on schooldigger.com and get back with me.
Better yet, I’ll look it up for you:
Oh, FYI! Twenty-four elementary schools in Louisville are in the bottom thirty – none of the 24 are in the East End. Pee-yoo and go figure!
Here’s another gruesome snapshot from schooldigger.com that will scar your eyeballs. Note that the four lowest-ranked schools are right here in the Derby City and none are in the East End.
I’m rambling! I’ll wrap it up!
The Jefferson County Board of Education and JCPS appear to promote and encourage an education system that results in inequitable funding and staffing of low-income schools. Schools with the highest percentage of low-income students receive less funding and less-experienced teachers even though low-income students generate more “revenue” for the school system through Title I funds, grants for failing schools and subsidies for free- and reduced-fee lunches. If the low-income students are JCPS’ cash cows, why are they getting deliberately shortchanged? If the additional revenue is solely intended for low-income and low-performing students, why is the money being diverted?
Hey, I don’t have any answers. I just want to know why JCPS is allowed to do this – it’s like a creepy version of state-sponsored economic segregation. It sure would be nice if the schools in the poorest neighborhoods could receive all the same funding and staffing that the East End schools get, wouldn’t it?
I know. Dream on.