Yesterday there was a forum at St. Stephen church to discuss Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday's poorly chosen phrase "academic genocide" as it applies to JCPS.
At the meeting, according to WHAS 11, charter school figurehead Hal Heiner said ""We have about 100,000 students and 30,000 of those students will never graduate if we keep doing what we're doing."
Certainly Heiner, being a smart businessman, knows he is misrepresenting the graduation rate of JCPS. And even after being called on it by Dr. Hargens, continued to repeat it as fact, as reported in the passage below:
Hargens stipulated to the crowd that Heiner's math was wrong and a JCPS spokesman later explained that the district averages a little more than 1000 dropouts each year, and that students who take more than four years to graduate or later earn a GED do not count toward the graduation rate figure.
"The graduation rate is actually AFGR, Average Freshman Graduation Rate," explained Ben Jackey, the JCPS spokesman. "Through freshman and sophomore data, it calculates students making it through high school and graduating in four years. Students may leave the district. Or students may graduate in 5 years, 6 years, get a GED, etc."
Heiner, the Chairman of Kentuckians Advocating Reform in Education (KARE) stood by his equation after the event, applying the 70 percent graduation rate to the district's estimated 100,000 K-12 students. A map he shared later showed a disproportionate number of dropouts this school year live in the West End and Southwest Louisville.
We should be working for better schools, not pushing our own personal political, professional, religious and economic motivations. I will be the first to tell you JCPS can always improve. But it's time that Louisville's media do its part in fairly and accurately reporting on the district and addressing the statements of its critics and their motivations.