The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools Louisville

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Student Assignment: Matching every student with an engaging, welcoming, quality school

Here's what you need to know about student assignment in JCPS:

  • JCPS has about 100,000 students in grades pre-K through 12, in over 150 schools
  • An improved Student Assignment Plan would connect every student with engaging learning choices. Research says that students learn best in programs and schools that engage them and where they have a strong sense of belonging. JCPS provides a robust array of magnet schools and special programs that could engage all students. However, entrance requirements and processes in some programs prevent many struggling, at-risk children—including underperforming Black, Brown and/or low-income students-- from entering the very programs they need to succeed.
  • An improved Student Assignment Plan would also provide all students with a multi-cultural learning environment. Just under two- thirds of all JCPS students come from low-income households. Research has shown that these students generally do better academically when they attend diverse schools. JCPS students include significant numbers of immigrants, of people with disabilities, of LGBTQ, of the homeless. Over half are people of color. Learning and working with students from these different backgrounds prepares all students for the increasingly diverse future of our country and our workforce. Unfortunately, Louisville is the fourth most segregated city in the country. Therefore, the approach of “send every student to the school closest to them” is not good enough.
  • Every school cannot have every program. About two of every three JCPS students ride a bus to school. Many who go to their closest school are still bused because the school is too distant for walking or cycling. Most ride buses, though, to attend specific, themed programs they like. Busing to these programs provides much of each school’s diversity. However, some students from largely minority neighborhoods of West Louisville are involuntarily bused to other parts of the county to increase diversity. This is a small (less than 6% of bused students), but inequitable, part of current student assignment.
  • Our schools are a bargain, but only if they are all quality schools. Federal and State funding has not even kept up with inflation. JCPS is trying many research-based innovations, but there are still large learning and behavioral consequence gaps between, for example, students of color and more affluent white students. Critical resources for success include well-trained and experienced teachers and staff, technology, labs/work space, appropriate student/teacher ratios, and wrap-around social services that are matched to each school’s specific student population. To be successful, student assignment changes need to be accompanied by these added budget needs driven by each school’s demographics.

On March 12, the Jefferson County Board of Education will vote on a facilities plan that will authorize the building of a new school in the East End of Jefferson County, while consolidating schools in the West and the South. This plan will do nothing to increase diversity and equity in JCPS schools, and will increase the burden of desegregation on our West End students who face long bus rides to schools across town. Read more below.

Building where the growth is” expands inequity. Capacity is being increased in the East End with a new school, while being reduced in the West and South by merging six schools to three, which will result in more students of color bused eastward.

The new Racial Equity Analysis Protocol (REAP) must lead any draft plan toward greater racial equity in JCPS. Using this protocol to evaluate the plan would address inequity and would result in fewer schools with high concentrations of students of color living in poverty. Research indicates improved academic outcomes for students living in poverty when they attend a more diverse school including increased flexibility and creativity.

Use facilities planning to drive equitable outcomes. Use the REAP tool to evaluate the draft facilities and draft student assignment plan as committed to by the JCPS school board. Only if new student assignment approaches (such as changing choice and boundaries) do not result in improved equity system-wide should a facilities plan be considered to drive diversity.

Please add your name to the petition to tell JCPS that facilities and student assignment must support diversity and equity.