Off the banks of the Ohio River in northeast Kentucky, Jefferson County Public Schools is an urban school district that has been plagued with an “achievement gap,” that its school superintendent said in a June 2021 interview needed a “lens on equity.”
Under “equity,” he said the school district would provide more resources to underachieving Black students.
Sept. 15, 2020 — The state Senate Education Committee asked for a briefing from the superintendent on what officials were doing “around racial equity.”
In this campaign to bring new “equity” programs to the school district, officials have brought indoctrination to students with issues not only touching upon race, but also gender and sexuality.
Aug. 17, 2021 — School district officials provided the Jefferson County Board of Education an update on their “racial equity policy,” including revisions to “improve academic outcomes for students of color.”
- The plan included an “equity screener” that “tracks and archives tangible evidence of staff (principals) who intentionally work toward fortifying and demonstrating racial equity.”
The “Advisory Committee for Racial Equity” included as committee members local leaders, including:
- Terrence Sullivan, Kentucky Commission on Human Rights;
- Sharon Kessler, 15th District PTA;
- Lettie Johnson, entrepreneur;
- Tyra Walker, Jefferson County Teachers Association, educator;
- Kumar Rashad, JCTA, educator;
- Kevin Gunn, Family Resource Center coordinator;
- Ben Johnson, Louisville Metro Parks;
- Michael Fill, principal;
- Faye Owens, retired principal;
- Mary Barnes; school counselor.
‘Diversity, Equity and Poverty’
- For example the school district promotes “monthly resources provided by the department of Diversity, Equity, and Poverty (DEI) for educators, families, and the community” on the school district’s home page. The statement links to a page that designates seven months out of the year to celebrate, including “Pride Month” in June. The school district states that the point of Pride Month is “showcasing the accomplishments of LGBTQ individuals and acknowledge the struggle for civil rights and the ongoing pursuit of equal justice under the law for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community.”
- The statement celebrating Pride Month then links to another page that provides resources to educators to implement LGBTQ material into classrooms. One resource is specifically labeled “Curriculum Resources” and offers material to teach students as young as in kindergarten.
- One curriculum resource offered links to material, promoting “Elementary Resources,” from a nonprofit organization, GLSEN, founded in 1990 by a group of teachers seeking to “protect LGBTQ students as well as students of marginalized identities,” with 43 chapters in 30 states, including Kentucky.
GLSEN states that “while many LGBTQ+-inclusive school supports begin in middle or high school, it is critical for elementary schools to establish a foundation of respect and understanding for all people.”
- The school district also promotes an article from Business Insider titled “23 must-read books by LGBTQIA+ authors, from stunning memoirs to heartwarming romance novels.”
- One book on this list is Gender Queer. Business Insider explains that the author “uses e/em/eir pronouns” and “is both the author and the illustrator of eir optimistic and bright graphic memoir.”
- Another book on the list is titled Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love. Business Insider explains that the author of this book is Jonathan Van Ness, who “is most well-known for their bubbly, positive personality on ‘Queer Eye,’ constantly encouraging self-love.”
‘Anti-racist, culturally responsive pedagogies and practices’
- The school district also appears to use Black History Month to teach students about racial equity. The school district promotes a document for educators called “Honoring the Greatest Through City of Ali.” The document states that “within Jefferson County Public Schools, the Department of Diversity, Equity, and Poverty is committed to anti-racist, culturally responsive pedagogies and practices.” The document also states that “teachers intentionally plan lessons to ensure students understand how oppression and systemic racism influence knowledge and perceptions of knowledge.”