Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holiday ruffled a few feathers last week when he likened the persistently failing Louisville schools to "academic genocide." This is no verbal bomb thrown by a right winger. Rather, its a shot across the bow from the educational establishment's general. And as they say in the back forty, "he's not playin' around." Holiday's warning was in response to an education analysis released last week that revealed 16 of the 18 underachieving schools haven't made the progress necessary for them to avert a state takeover.
Unusually high dropout rates, high truency, low test scores and relatively few college bound seniors have raised alarm. However, such has been the state of Louisville schools for years. If the schools don't improve by the end of the year, the state will run them. How they will improve matters is unclear. If "academic genocide" as Holliday suggests is really happening, how about liberating the students not just from failed management, but from an entire system that hasn't served, in particular, minority students very well? In light of Holliday's verbal import, charter schools and school choice seem very reasonable.