A JCPS Black Studies Course Is The Subject Of An Office Of Education Accountability Complaint

Sep 1, 2021 at 4:26 pm

One of JCPS’ Black studies courses is the subject of an official complaint with a state education office. 

UofL professor Ricky Jones, who is helping to teach one of JCPS’ Black studies courses, Introduction to Pan-African Studies, posted an email regarding the complaint to Twitter today. The email, sent by Office of Education Accountability Acting Director Marcia Seiler to JCPS asking for more information about the course, said the complaint was about a new elective class on “Developing Black Historical Consciousness.”

JCPS does offer a Developing Black Historical Consciousness elective for high school students, which it added last year. It also offers Jones’ Pan-African Studies elective, which was approved in July of this year.

In a response to a request for comment, a spokesperson for Kentucky's Legislative Research Commission said that OEA does not comment on complaints or pending investigations.

Black studies courses at Kentucky public schools have been the subject of controversy recently. Protesters attended a JCPS school board meeting earlier this year, decrying critical race theory, which is a lens through which to study racism that focuses on racism embedded in institutions rather than individual racist actions. (Read how Jones, who is the chair of UofL's Pan-African Studies Department, explains it here.)

Kentucky lawmakers have pre-filed two bills that would prevent some discussions about race from being taught in state K-12 schools and universities. 

In his tweet about the complaint, Jones said “Eurocentric supremacy in American education is REAL! It is a prison house and many in KY want to keep the shackles wrapped tightly. You can’t! Curriculum reform is A MUST! Complain and investigate all you want, it won’t stop us! WE’RE COMING AND WILL NOT TURN BACK! @uofl @JCPSKY."

Last month, Jones tweeted about teaching his Pan-African Studies Course. 

“Teaching and MAKING history with fabulous Moore High School history teacher @teach_the_past on Day 1 of one of the first dual-credit college “Introduction to Pan-African/Black Studies” courses ever offered in @JCPSKY!"

He attached a photo of the class, which showed 14 students at their desks.

Seilers’ email to JCPS asked for more information on the Pan-African Studies course, including: 

  1. The council policy on development and approval of curriculum
  2. The specific curriculum approved for this dual credit course
  3. The agenda and minutes for each SBDM and SBDM committee that reviewed and approved this dual credit course
  4. For each school who has approved this dual credit course we would like to know if it is being offered during the 2021-2022 school year, who is the teacher and how many students have enrolled.