I received an email from JCPS wanting my opinion on the Student Assignment Plan. [Are you SURE you want MY opinion?!?!] If you’d like to leave a comment, you may do so here, but only until the end of today (December 5, 2011). And by the way, just because you don’t have kids doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to this. You pay the same taxes on public schools as those of us with kiddos.
On that same link, there are snippets of what the plan “changes” are. I say “changes” lightly, as it looks as if their big “change” is reducing the clusters from 13 to 12. Really? The big-wig they paid to do the consulting recommended changing the clusters to 6. Here’s his report.
#1 point: “It continues to reduce the longest bus rides for most students in a cluster.” — Define “most.” So what happens to the rest of the kids stuck on the bus? And then there’s that word, “continues.” When did this start to be able to continue?
A bit further down, “It uses existing transportation routes.” That’s a problem. I personally know a JCPS bus driver. He even says his route makes no sense. “It will not require the purchase of additional buses.” You have GOT TO BE KIDDING. I’m pretty sure JCPS has a record number of buses, considering the transportation budget, and the sheer number of buses I see crisscrossing each other as I take my kids to school, and then travel to the south end to work. I also see the faces of EXHAUSTED kids pressed up against the window. When I was little, we actually had FUN on the bus. Really, we did. We sang songs, of course there were paper ball fights, but the ride was so short, there wasn’t time to get on anyone’s nerves. Put a kindergartener on the bus with a 5th grader for an hour, and you wonder where the bullying starts?
I also found this while researching from Wikipedia: “With a fleet of more than 1,500 vehicles, it operates one of the 10 largest transportation systems in the nation.” I’m so sorry to say that I just DON’T get this. Louisville is simply not big enough to have this kind of issue.
Let me say this: I get diversity. I completely understand the need for it. BUT, JCPS is single-handedly affecting more than just where a kid goes to elementary school (or any school, for that matter). I’ve said this before: Most of realtors I know “warn” out-of-towners about JCPS, and that isn’t helping either. (I’m not blaming realtors, it’s the nature of the beast.) And THAT affects our economy, directly and locally. I’ll probably get some feedback saying that “there were parent sessions held for feedback” and even a voicemail system to call in [WOW I would LOVE to get a hold of those messages!!!], and, no, I didn’t go or call. Do you know why? I’m TIRED of voicing my opinion to deaf ears. What feedback do they want that they haven’t gotten over the last 20 years, more specifically the last 5? They’ve heard from the US Supreme Court for God’s sake–I think enough lawsuits would make someone want to change their plan?!?
Reducing the number of clusters from 13 to 12 is not change. It’s only creating a bigger, stronger Catholic and private school system sector, and that’s just outrageous. In Jefferson County, at least, the haves and the have-nots are getting further and further apart. Parents (notwithstanding in this economy) shouldn’t have to pay college tuition rates to go to elementary school. Granted there are those that choose to do so, but that doesn’t mean that the public school system has to be so broken that it’s the only other choice. Cut the transportation budget and give ALL the schools ALL the tools they need to succeed, in ALL neighborhoods. It’s not that far-fetched.
If you haven’t voiced your opinion, please do so. Not here, here. I close with the fact that I LOVE my JCPS public elementary school, and I will fight like hell to get into the middle school where I think my kids will most thrive, just like I had to do for elementary school. These are battles we parents shouldn’t have to face just yet. We have enough on our plates just with TV, Facebook, fast food and soda. Work it out JCPS, by listening to THE PARENTS.