A state takeover of JCPS and its ‘failing schools’ would show Matt Bevin is a hypocrite

(Photo: Michael Clevenger/Louisville Courier-Journal)

Published 10:37 a.m. ET April 25, 2018 | Updated 11:45 a.m. ET April 25, 2018

The mantra from the Republican Party has long been “local control.”

The federal government shouldn’t dictate that states allow abortion, or tell our farmers what methods they should use, or tell us how to educate our children, they say.

Those are our decisions. Ours alone.

That’s what seems to be disturbing about what looks to be a headlong rush by Gov. Matt Bevin’s new state board of education to wrest control of Jefferson County Public Schools from the elected county board of education.

Wide achievement gaps separating black students and white students. Yep.

A significant number of failing schools, particularly among those with large percentages of African-Americans and low-income students? Certainly.

But the Jefferson County school board is taking these and other problems seriously.

They forced out former Superintendent Donna Hargens, who shackled the district with six years of uninspired leadership. And they replaced her with Marty Pollio, a former principal who in that role turned around Doss High School.

Pollio, after just two months on the job, introduced a plan Tuesday designed to raise test scores and equity for African-American students.

The district’s W.E.B. DuBois Academy, which will try to help young men in Louisville’s most at-risk demographic, is slated to open in the fall.

Even charter schools, which have been pushed by members of the state school board as an answer to the district’s problems, haven’t been given a chance to work. None of them have even opened.

There’s no need for a state takeover of Jefferson County schools at this point. Give these efforts an opportunity to work and turn things around.

And trust in the local control that Republicans are supposed to hold dear.

Anything else would be hypocritical.

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