Please click the links below to review the biographies of those who are interested in representing JCTA at the KEA Delegate Assembly:
Please click the links below to review the biographies of those who are interested in representing JCTA at the KEA Delegate Assembly:
**DEADLINE: Thursday, December 2nd, 5 pm**
Lighthouse Academy at Newburg-Program Assistant Opportunity
The Lighthouse Academy at Newburg is looking to add two (2) program assistants to our dynamic team. We are looking for individuals that will align to our mission of providing youth in our community a safe place to learn and grow through educational programs. The program assistants will provide academic assistance and support for students, K-8 in our after school and summer programs at the academy, starting in Jan. 2022.
If you are having trouble navigating through open enrollment on the computer check out the step-by-step videos on our open enrollment splashpage. Make sure to use Google Chrome as your browser.
Don’t forget to view the Virtual Benefit Fair Webinars at the links below:
JCPS Benefits Department
CALLING ALL RETIRED TEACHERS--JCPS NEEDS YOU!
This pandemic is continuing to take a toll on our community, students, and staff
throughout Jefferson County Public Schools and throughout Kentucky.
There are still many teaching vacancies that need to be filled for the 2021-2022 school year. We simply do not have enough teachers applying. This in turn, means that substitutes (when they can be found and hired) are serving long term in classes that really need to have certified, content area teachers.
NOW IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO COME TO THE AID OF YOUR PROFESSION!
As a result of the recent legislation approved during the Special Session of the KY Legislature,
retired educators can now come back to the classroom & keep their pensions!
Check out this message from JCPS Superintendent Dr. Pollio to learn more about this opportunity by clicking this link.
Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, in collaboration with JCPS, Justice Now, Louisville Central Community Centers, AMPED, Roots 101, Kentucky Historical Society, and PNC Broadway, is offering a FREE after school performing arts program focusing on students who have had both limited and advanced experience with theatre.
Beginning October 19th to December 16th, students will be given an overview of both the performing and technical elements of theater. After the holiday break on January 5th-6th , auditions will be held for JCPS students who are in 6th - 12th grade for the play Threads of Our History: Where We Intertwine.
Threads of Our History: Where We Intertwine is a play that explores the social justice past and present of Louisville, KY by focusing on the lives of a family and those intertwined with it across multiple generations. The play is told in a series of vignettes each written by a different student or group of students focusing on an array of topics: from race-based oppression and protest, to ableism, to mental health, to the LGBTQ+ community and adoption, to generational trauma and healing. This play is a researched journey into Louisville’s past with scenes in Black Walnut Street and the KY Derby, but it is also a window into students’ lives as they strive for justice and compassion in their own journeys.
During the September 20th JCTA Professional Representative Council Meeting, the following document was shared to help JCTA members navigate the who, what, where, why, when, and how of handling quarantined students:
A TALE OF TWO HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL TEAMS
Last October two high school football teams played each other In Louisville when Carroll County cancelled their game with Shawnee because of protests in Louisville. The Jackson County football coach heard about the cancellation and called up the Shawnee coach and said he would bring his team to Louisville to play Shawnee. The Jackson County coach said he felt for the Shawnee team and wanted to help them. He believed that except for the color of their skins (Jackson all white, Shawnee majority black) the two teams had a lot in common. Both schools were in impoverished communities. Both schools need more resources and their football programs were struggling. Prior to the game the Jackson County coach discussed the Breanna Taylor case with his players. Jackson County won a close game, and after the game the players met and hugged at midfield along with Rep. Charles Booker, fans, parents and supporters. The game received positive state-wide media reports. The game was such a positive experience that the two schools contracted to play home and away football games for several years.
The teams play again Friday, September 10, 7:30 pm at McKee, Kentucky. McKee, Kentucky is a small, 800 population, former coal town, near Berea, about a 2 hour drive from Louisville.
This high school football game is an important event that helps to break down barriers between races, urban vs. rural and cultural differences. It encourages unity to address common problems. By supporting and attending the game, we can promote this unity.
Join Cignition's team of expert math tutors!
If yes to all of the above, then you may be a great candidate to join our expert math tutor team for K-through-12 students!
Kentucky Youth Advocates and United Healthcare are conducting a statewide survey among K-12 education leaders to understand lessons they have learned as they have supported students and families during the pandemic, as well as to identify potential solutions and effective communication and messaging strategies to strengthen teen COVID-19 vaccination rates.
In appreciation for taking the time to complete the survey, educators can enter a drawing for the chance to win one of five $25 gift cards to the Kentucky business of their choice. The entry form is separate from the survey so the responses remain anonymous.
HCR Chair; HCR Co-Chair; HCR Secretary
Resources to Use in Response to George Floyd Trial/Verdict:
Join us for a cross-union book discussion with "The Sum of Us" author Heather McGhee!
Join our broad union family on February 24th from 3:30 – 5:00 pm EST for a conversation on how racial justice economically and socially helps everyone. AFA-CWA, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, AFT, CWA, NEA, SEIU, and UAW will host Heather McGhee for a discussion about her forthcoming book: The Sum of Us, her deep personal journey across the U.S., and how defeating racism positively impacts the labor movement.
Heather McGhee is a thought leader in the fields of Race and Economy. Her 2020 TED talk, “Racism Has a Cost for Everyone” reached 1 million views in just two months online. She is the former president of Demos and a regular NBC contributor. Heather is a longtime partner to labor and has dedicated a portion of her book to discuss the intersection of race and labor.
This discussion will be moderated by Naomi Walker, Director of Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN).
This event is open to the staff and leaders of each hosting union. Here is a link to register.
GOALS AND AGENDA
Event Agenda - (3:30-5:00 pm ET)
About Heather McGhee:
Heather McGhee is an expert in economic and social policy. The former president of the inequality-focused think tank Demos, McGhee has drafted legislation, testified before Congress and contributed regularly to news shows including NBC’s Meet the Press. She now chairs the board of Color of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. McGhee holds a BA in American studies from Yale University and a JD from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law.
About The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together
One of today’s most insightful and influential thinkers offers a powerful exploration of inequality and the lesson that generations of Americans have failed to learn: Racism has a cost for everyone—not just for people of color.
Heather McGhee’s specialty is the American economy—and the mystery of why it so often fails the American public. From the financial crisis to rising student debt to collapsing public infrastructure, she found a common root problem: racism. But not just in the most obvious indignities for people of color. Racism has costs for white people, too. It is the common denominator of our most vexing public problems, the core dysfunction of our democracy and constitutive of the spiritual and moral crises that grip us all. But how did this happen? And is there a way out?
McGhee embarks on a deeply personal journey across the country from Mississippi to California to Maine, tallying what we lose when we buy into the zero-sum paradigm—the idea that progress for some of us must come at the expense of others. Along the way, she meets white people who confide in her about losing their homes, their dreams, and their shot at better jobs to the toxic mix of American racism and greed. This is the story of how public goods in this country—from parks and pools to functioning schools—have become private luxuries; of how unions collapsed, wages stagnated, and inequality increased; and of how this country, unique among the world’s advanced economies, has thwarted universal healthcare.
But in unlikely places of worship and work, McGhee finds proof of what she calls the Solidarity Dividend: gains that come when people come together across race, to accomplish what we simply can’t do on our own.
The Sum of Us is a brilliant analysis of how we arrived here: divided and self-destructing, materially rich but spiritually starved and vastly unequal. McGhee marshals economic and sociological research to paint an irrefutable story of racism’s costs, but at the heart of the book are the humble stories of people yearning to be part of a better America, including white supremacy’s collateral victims: white people themselves. With startling empathy, this heartfelt message from a Black woman to a multiracial America leaves us with a new vision for a future in which we finally realize that life can be more than zero-sum.
NEA Student Loan Forgiveness Workshops
Learn more about student loan forgiveness programs, repayment options, upcoming changes to student loans and the NEA’s no cost Student Debt Navigation Tool. Launched in April 2018, the tool has helped NEA members reduce monthly payments and achieve over $9 million in loan forgiveness! Brought to you by NEA Member Benefits.
Now Accepting Applications for the
DEADLINE EXTENSION: Wednesday, January 13th at 5 pm
Now Accepting Applications for the
2021 JCTA Exemplary Student Scholarship
The Jefferson County Teacher Association (JCTA) awards annual scholarships to graduates at Jefferson County High Schools who wish to pursue careers in public education.
*JCTA is offering $1000 Exemplary Student Scholarships to two Jefferson County Public School seniors. The Jefferson County Teachers Association will honor these two JCPS seniors during its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Event being held virtually on Thursday, January 28th, from 5:30-7:30 pm.
*Scholarship Funds will be released upon receipt of class schedule with the official seal of the university submitted by August 30, 2021.
*Students should complete this Google form application AND ensure the additional required documents are sent to JCTA UniServ Director Dawn Moretz at HCR@jcta.org no later than 5 pm on Wednesday, January 13th.
*If you have any questions, contact UniServ Dawn Moretz at HCR@jcta.org or by phone at 502-432-0981.
JANUARY 2021 JCTA MEMBER OPPORTUNITIES:
Please email UniServ Director Elana Crane (firstname.lastname@example.org) to receive the links for the sessions below:
New Member Welcome (30 minutes)
Know Your Contract (90 minutes)
Evaluation and Tenure (45 minutes)
Member Benefits (45 minutes)
JCPS VACCINE SURVEY: RESPONSE NEEDED BY FRI, DEC 18, 2020!
Governor Andy Beshear has made educators a priority in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Depending on when additional vaccines arrive in Jefferson County, school district employees could have access to the vaccine as early as January. We want to make sure you have the latest information and have an opportunity to review the Kentucky Department of Public Health’s website about the COVID-19 vaccine.
In order for JCPS to request enough vaccines for our employees, we need you to complete the Employee Vaccination Survey by Friday, December 18. You must be logged into your JCPS Google account to submit the survey and you can not submit the form for any other employee.
If you choose "yes" a vaccine will be ordered for you. With a choice of "yes" you may decide later to decline the vaccine if your situation changes. If you say “no” to the vaccine, you will not be able to change your mind and you will have to wait and receive the vaccine when it’s available to the general public. If you don’t answer the survey, a vaccine will not be ordered for you.
At this time, declining to receive the vaccination does not automatically exempt you from reporting to your work location. In light of the availability of the vaccine, all accommodation requests that have been previously submitted will be reviewed.
In early January, we hope to have more details about when the vaccine will be available for JCPS employees. This will help us determine a timeline for returning to in-person learning. When our school buildings open, we will follow the Guidance on Safety Expectations and Best Practices for Kentucky Schools (K-12) document that includes students and staff wearing masks and practicing social distancing along with other guidance.
Your health and safety has been central to our decisions over these past months. There is nothing we want more than to have students back in our classrooms, but we have to do it safely. The vaccine has given us a path to do this.
Jefferson County Public Schools
Join the JCTA Human and Civil Rights Committee for a Restorative Circle
Join us as we model Restorative Practices through our How I am Surviving NTI 2.0 Restorative Circle.
Wednesday December 9, 2020
4:00 – 5:30 pm
If you would like to submit a question for Mrs Evans to answer live, please email it to Karina.email@example.com
About the Guest Facilitator: Monica Evans is a Prevention, Intervention and Diversion Specialist with Detroit Public Schools and Detroit Public Safety Foundation, supported by the Skillman Foundation. She served on the Detroit Police Department from 2004 to 2014, working in youth violence prevention and intervention. Previously, Ms. Evans was a teacher.
THE JCTA HCR RACIAL JUSTICE SUBCOMMITTEE & SOWERS OF JUSTICE PRESENT
Teachers, administrators, families, and community members are invited to converse with school and community partners around topics in education and work to determine how we can heal and find justice together.
NOVEMBER 21, 2020
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Register For this Virtual Opportunity at
ZOOM LINK WILL BE E-MAILED TO REGISTERED PARTICIPANTS
UPCOMING JCTA MEMBERSHIP WORKSHOPS (November/December 2020):
Know Your Contract (90 minutes)
When: Nov 11, 2020 04:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
This session is the longest one I’m doing this month, and it’s open to all JCTA members. I cover a little bit of the history of our collective bargaining agreement and how bargaining works, then I go through some of the key articles and provisions in the contract.
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Evaluation and Tenure (45 minutes)
When: Nov 18, 2020 04:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
This session will cover the state laws on tenure as well as the JCPS Certified Evaluation Plan and contract language on employee evaluation.
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Member Benefits (45 minutes)
When: Dec 2, 2020 04:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
This session will provide an overview of the membership benefits you can access as a member of JCTA, KEA, and NEA.
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Nominations for Delegates to KEA Assembly Now Sought
The Kentucky Education Association Delegate Assembly (DA) is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, April 7 through Friday, April 9, 2021 at the Galt House in Louisville. The deadline for filing nominations is Monday, November 16 at 5 p.m. Candidates may include a resume (50-word limit), which is also due by 5 p.m. on Monday, November 16. If you would like to run to be a delegate to KEA, please submit this nominations form: http://www.jcta.org/form.nomination.kea.asp. Candidate information will be viewable in the members-only section of the JCTA website on Monday, November 30. Electronic voting will begin at 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 2 and end on Wednesday, December 9 at 5:00 p.m. JCTA elects over 100 delegates to represent us at the KEA DA, so we encourage all interested members to complete a nomination form. No prior experience is necessary! Delegates do receive stipends for attendance. If you have any questions or need more information, please contact UniServ Director Elana Crane (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the JCTA office.
Nominations for Delegates to NEA Assembly Now Sought
The annual National Education Association Representative Assembly (RA) is tentatively scheduled for July 3-6, 2021 in Denver, CO. We encourage all members to consider running for NEA Delegate; it is a wonderful opportunity to meet teachers from around the country and to help set policy for our national association. No prior experience is necessary! The deadline for filing nominations is Monday, November 16 at 5 p.m. Candidates may include a resume (50-word limit), which is also due by 5 p.m. on Monday, November 16. If you would like to run to be a delegate to NEA, please submit this nominations form: http://www.jcta.org/form.nomination.nea.asp. Candidate information viewable in the members-only section of our website on November 30. Electronic voting will begin at 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 2 and end on Wednesday, December 9 at 5:00 p.m . JCTA elects 40 delegates to attend the RA; delegates receive a stipend to cover travel expenses. If you have any questions or need more information, please contact UniServ Director Elana Crane (email@example.com) at the JCTA office.
2020 District Evaluation Appeals Panels Candidates
JCPS educators in the JCTA bargaining unit will have the opportunity to vote for two candidates to serve on the District Evaluation Appeals Panels (DEAP). The election will be held online October 14-21, 2020. Below are the candidates along with their optional statement (Limited to 50 words.)
Tim Amshoff, Marion C Moore School. I am a teacher with 24 years' experience, 11 of those have been at Moore. I have had time at Iroquois High, Fern Creek High, Central High and did practice teaching at Blue Lick Elementary and Iroquois Middle. As a respected teacher in JCPS, I have served on SBDM at . . . .
Beverly Chester-Burton, , Ed.S. Waller-Williams. I have served on various JCTA, KEA and NEA boards. As a member of the JCPS EQOC committee, I am familiar with processes of the DEAP committee. I will ensure that fair and equitable processes are in place for all educators. Your vote will be appreciated. #YOURVOTEYOURVOICE
La Donna Johnson, Jacob Elementary. My name is La Donna Johnson and I’m a teacher at Jacob Elementary. I’m writing to submit myself as a candidate for the DEAP position. I am confident that my experience in my career has adequately prepared me to thrive in a position of advocating for others. I am an . . .
Marvin Lazaro, Crums Lane Elementary.
Hannah Lipman, Newburg Middle. I am strongly invested in JCPS teachers. I value educational professionalism and the commitment to equitable education for ALL students.
Jo McKim, Camp Edwards. I am a deeper learning resource teacher, and I have served on the Educator Quality Oversight Committee (EQOC). Having served on EQOC, I have a strong foundational knowledge of the evaluation system and the importance of the DEAP process. I would be honored to serve as a teacher member of . . . .
Apryl Moore, MTSS Behavior Resource Teacher. I ask for your vote. I take the Evaluation Appeals Process seriously and understand the role of the District Evaluation Appeals Panel (DEAP). I ask for your vote and look forward to serving honorably on the DEAP for the next three years.
Linda Murphy, Trunnell Elementary. I have been a JCTA member for over 20 years and a building PR for most of those years. I believe that I can be a valuable member of the DEAP team because I strive to keep an open mind and to be fair and balanced in my decision making.
George I Nichols Jr, Iroquois High. CTE Teacher. Building Rep. I will proudly serve on this panel if selected. I will represent and advocate for the good of our Union and it’s members.
David Pepper, The Academy at Shawnee. I would love to serve on the DEAP panel to continue to support teachers and the profession.
Katlyn Raderstorf, Carter Traditional Elementary. This is my 14th year as an elementary teacher in JCPS and member of JCTA. I have served on the JCTA Board of directors for three years during that time. I am passionate about public education and our teacher's union. I would appreciate your vote for the District Evaluation Appeals . . . .
Tierra Ross, Western Middle.
Causandra Stratton, Rutherford Elementary. Hello. My name is Causandra Stratton. I have prevously served on the DEAP committee. I welcome the opportunity to represent and serve teachers for another term. I would greatly appreciate your vote.
Harsh Upadhyay, Seneca High. My name is Harsh Upadhyay and I am a third-generation mathematics teacher. I currently teach at Seneca HS and have the experience of serving as JCTA PR and JCTA Board Member. I would be honored to serve, if elected.
Sharon VanCleave, Ed.S. Rangeland Elementary. My desire to serve as your DEAP representative comes from my experience and understanding of the rewards and challenges of being an educator. I will use my vast experience with SBDM, JCTA Board of Directors, and knowledge of Instructional Leadership to ensure that every teacher has a fair hearing.
Tyra Walker, Roosevelt-Perry Elementary. My name is Tyra Walker, your JCTA Secretary and ECE Teacher. I’m running for the District Evaluation Appeal Panel (DEAP). I want to be a voice for educators/teachers to ensure a fair process of your appeals. Vote for me Tyra Walker to be your voice as your DEAP representative.
Interested? Complete the Google Form registration here:
GENERAL ELECTION INFORMATION:
In order to ensure the health and safety of all voters, the 2020 General Election will be conducted in a different manner than past elections. After much discussion and careful consideration, the Jefferson County Clerk's Office and Board of Elections have decided upon four (4) vote centers, located throughout the county, to serve as polling places both before and on Election Day. The Kentucky Exposition Center; the KFC YUM Center; the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage; and a fourth location in the east end of Louisville that is still under contract negotiations, will all be available for early voting starting October 13th. These four locations, along with four (4) additional school locations, will be available on Election Day.
The in-person voting centers were selected because of their locality, adequate parking, and square footage. Voters and election officers will be able to practice social distancing, and lines can form inside the facility (in case of any inclement weather). In accordance with CDC, State, and Metro guidelines, all voters will be required to wear masks to protect election officers, fellow voters, and themselves. Depending on standards established by the facility where you choose to vote, additional requirements may be stipulated. For example, at the KFC YUM Center, voters will need to submit to a temperature check. We ask that firearms be kept outside of all polling locations.
For voters who have secured a mail-in absentee ballot through the State Board of Elections portal, and who choose not to drop their ballots in the USPS mail boxes, they may use the absentee ballot dropoff boxes; locations are listed on this flyer.
We are pleased to announce that TARC will offer free rides county-wide on Election Day. Also, they will provide shuttles that go directly to the Kentucky Expo Center (on November 3rd). These shuttles will leave from the 10th & Broadway Union Station location.
FIND OUT MORE BY CLICKING ON THIS LINK: http://elections.jeffersoncountyclerk.org/pdfs/2020_general_election_info.pdf
JCPS is holding special sessions for the next two weeks (August 10-21) focused on the district recommended resources and tools for NTI 2.0.
PBL CAP Announcement and Invitation to Apply 20-21 Cohort 2
Calling all PBL enthusiasts! JCPS is excited to partner with Magnify Learning to offer a second cohort of the PBL Certification Acceleration Program during the 2020-21 school year.
Teacher participants will begin training this summer by attending a multi day workshop to be held virtually on the following dates:
*Teachers may receive PD credit or district stipend for this time.
Participants will then have sustained coaching and support, via 8 virtual/in-person coaching days throughout the school year, to be held on Saturdays. Teachers will be paid district stipend for attendance of these days. Upon graduation from the program, teachers will earn both a certification in PBL and have the option of training others. This will allow our district to build capacity by training our own homegrown PBL coaches, complete with nationally recognized certifications.
HOW TO REGISTER:
PROCESS OF SELECTION:
The school district has created several committees that are exploring and planning for the opening of school in the fall and JCTA has many leaders representing our members on these committees.
If you have thoughts, concerns, questions to raise, or other input on a specific issue, here is a list of your representatives with whom you can communicate:
JCTA Representatives on JCPS Back to School Planning Groups
Category 1 - In-Person (Brick and Mortar) Return to School Planning
Category 2 - Virtual Academy Planning (for when school is open for in-person learning, but some students choose not to return to in-person learning)
Category 3 – NTI Planning (for if school is closed for all students in a school or the entire district)
The Jefferson County Teachers Association Calls Upon the Louisville Mayor and the Jefferson County Metro Council
As the professional representative organization for almost 6,000 educators in the Jefferson County Public Schools who have dedicated their careers to creating a better future for the young people of our community, the Jefferson County Teachers Association recognizes that the safety and well-being of our students depends on a positive, trusting relationship between the community and our law enforcement agencies. Recent events make it clear such a relationship does not exist and cannot exist until the community comes together to make much needed changes.
Therefore, the Jefferson County Teachers Association calls upon the Mayor and the Metro Council to convene a broad-based panel of stakeholders, with significant representation by people of color in our community, to review the policies, practices, and other factors impacting the relationship between law enforcement and the community. The panel should be empowered to make recommendations to the Mayor, the Metro Council, and other appropriate entities. Issues to be considered could include the appropriate and inappropriate use of force, the execution of warrants, pursuit policies, community policing, crowd control safety protocols, the establishment of an ongoing Civilian Community Police Accountability Council as called for by the Taylor family, public transparency and accountability of our law enforcement agencies, the tracking and reporting of disaggregated law enforcement equity data, opportunities for ongoing community input on law enforcement practices, the monitoring of law enforcement’s responses to community input, and ongoing police training in such areas as conflict de-escalation strategies, implicit bias, and factors leading to institutional racism.
JCTA Public Statement on Recent Protests:
The Jefferson County Teachers Association stands in solidarity with people of color and those in our community, and across the nation, who are peacefully protesting in support of justice for the families of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and other people of color who have lost their lives at the hands of those who should be protecting them from harm. JCTA adds its voice to the call for immediate concrete steps to address structural and institutional racism in our communities, including our law enforcement agencies, our systems of education, neighborhood resources, economic opportunities, and our legal system. JCTA affirms its belief in the democratic rights of citizens to organize and demonstrate for change and condemns the use of violence on all sides during such demonstrations. As educators, we know that students cannot learn if they live in a constant state of fear for themselves, their family members, and their friends and neighbors, and we understand that our belief that every student can learn is undermined when young people are forced to live with fear, inequity, and bigotry.
Your help is CRITICAL to see JCPS gets the funding it needs!
On Thursday, May 21st, the Jefferson County Board of Education (JCBE) took a significant step towards investing in Kentucky's largest school system. Board members say the action taken at Thursday's special meeting allows for Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) to create educational equity for all students, build new facilities and further support teachers.
The latest move by the board includes the approval of a plan that will generate more than $50 million a year for the district. The money would replace the $52.5 million in state funding that was reallocated since 2015 to other districts as a part of Kentucky's funding formula for schools.
JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio presented his vision for the district and how the resources could be used. Right now the district has more than a billion dollars in unmet facility needs. The additional funds will also give JCPS the capacity to renovate and build new state-of-the-art facilities that board members say will help enhance instruction.
The funds could also help create a smooth transition to proposed changes in the student assignment plan. A part of the proposed changes include giving students in West Louisville an option to attend school close to home or travel outside their community. In order to do this, it would require the construction of two new middle schools ($64 million) and a new high school ($74 million) in West Louisville.
The additional revenue would also give JCPS the opportunity to:
It is urgent that JCTA members encourage their family and neighbors to support this initiative to help the students and schools of JCPS. Share the info on your personal website or Facebook page and in your neighborhood app/website/Facebook page and ask others to do the same. Remember the following as you are sharing:
2020 PRIMARY ENDORSEMENTS
Be sure to Vote in the 2020 Kentucky Primary Election
Primary Election Date: Tuesday, June 23, 2020
The deadline to register online to vote in the 2020 Primary Election is May 26, 2020 no later than 4:00 p.m. local time.
Contact your County Clerk’s office to apply for your Absentee Ballot Due to Medical Emergency/COVID 19
You must request an Application for a Mail-in Absentee Ballot prior to receiving an actual Absentee Ballot.
Other Counties should contact their County Clerk’s office for details & deadlines.
KENTUCKY HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
LOUISVILLE METRO COUNCIL
EdDPrograms.org Offers Doctorate Opportunities
EdDPrograms.org is owned and operated by a group that has been creating post-secondary education resources since 2008. This organization's work in teacher education began with projects ranging from a new teacher survival guide to their own teacher education scholarship program. They are now focused on supporting Doctor of Education (EdD) students through their new project, EdDPrograms.org. Here are some helpful links for Doctoral students:
- A detailed overview of the most affordable online Ed.D. programs - https://www.eddprograms.org/schools/affordable-online-doctor-of-education-programs/
- A comprehensive guide to Ed.D. programs in Kentucky - https://www.eddprograms.org/schools/kentucky/
The JCPS Culture and Climate Department has created many resources to not only help students, but also staff and parents. Here they are in a quick and easy, one-stop-shop: a variety of resources all bundled together!
Resources for Educators/Parents
General Coronavirus Information and Resources
Resources for Teaching and Learning
How to Talk to Children About the Coronavirus - Resources for Parents
This can be a very stressful, confusing and uncertain time for everyone, but it can be an especially scary time for children. Here are great resources about how you can talk to kids about the virus and the response.
Kentucky COVID-19 resources:
NEA Member Benefits has expedited the launch of a new discount program for NEA members with Office Depot/OfficeMax, one of the leading purveyors of school and office supplies. This is in response to NEA members’ expressed needs for computer equipment, peripherals, and associated supplies as many educators are required to set up remote teaching and communication capabilities while schools are closed due to COVID-19.
Key features of the Office Depot/OfficeMax discount program include:
· Discounts of up to 75% off on thousands of items purchased in-store and online
· Discounts on printing and copying services
· Free shipping for online orders over $50
· Best pricing: members receive the deepest discount available on their products—whether offered in-store or online
· Family members are also eligible to participate in this discount program
Information about the program is available on the NEA Member Benefits website at: https://www.neamb.com/products/nea-office-depot-officemax-discount-program.
Note: This national partnership does not supersede existing state affiliate agreements with Office Depot/OfficeMax.
From KEA President Eddie Campbell:
Election for statewide delegates to the NEA RA is extended through Friday, April 17th
Each year, KEA Active members across the state elect some of their colleagues to represent them at the NEA Representative Assembly, which is scheduled to occur in Atlanta, July 1 through 6. The NEA Representative Assembly brings together elected representatives from every state in the nation to elect national union leaders and to determine NEA's course of action over the next year.
Now more than ever, it's important for you to elect representation to the NEA RA that will carry your concerns to your national union. Please take this important opportunity to let your voice be heard in the governance of your national affiliate.
The election for KEA's statewide delegates to the 2020 NEA Representative Assembly is now open and will remain open through Friday, April 17th at 11:59 p.m. (EDT). All Active KEA members are eligible to participate in this statewide, online election. (KEA Retired and Aspiring Educators elect their delegates separately.)
An individualized voter code was included above your name and address on your copy of the March 2020 KEA News. If you did not receive a copy of the KEA News, no longer have your copy of your KEA News, or did not receiv
a voter code and you are an Active member, call 1-866-384-9978 to obtain a code.
Active members with a valid code can vote by visiting www.KEAVotes.com before Friday, April 17th at 11:59 p.m. (EDT). To request a paper ballot or if you need assistance with the online voting process, call 1-866-384-9978 or email help+KEA@yeselections.com.
California Casualty’s Response to COVID-19
California Casualty is dedicated to preserving the health and safety of KEA Members and our employees. We are monitoring this ever-changing public health situation by the hour. This is an unprecedented time for everyone - a time that, for many, is filled with uncertainty. Our hearts and thoughts go out to each and every one of you.
Our primary focus is to minimize disruptions to our policyholders as we respond to concerns about the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). California Casualty remains committed to doing everything we can to serve your members, while keeping our employees safe.
KEA Members can expect to continue to receive excellent service from California Casualty. Click HERE for more information.
JCTA President's Update re: Current Situation (3.16.2020)
Last week, Dr. Pollio held a press conference and responded to media questions. At the press conference he said during the next two weeks JCPS will be following a snow day protocol, which means that unless you are directly instructed otherwise, the next two weeks will be just the same for teacher as if the district had closed due to snow.
If any of this changes, the district will have to provide specific guidance to everyone and they will have to work out any contractual details with JCTA. We do not anticipate that being the case during the next two weeks.
Jefferson County Public School district is continuing to promote equal opportunities. As a result, a LGBTQ Advisory Committee was formed to provide perspective to JCPS related to LGBTQ matters impacting students, parents, faculty, staff, and other constituents. Advisory Committee chairs invite interested individuals to join the following sub-committees: Best Practices, Training, and Student Supports.
A brief description of each sub-committee is provided below. Members are sought who are passionate, purposeful, and can work well on a team to move forward in positive direction. If interested in joining one of the sub-committees or for further information, please contact Dr. Monica Lakhwani at firstname.lastname@example.org
Apply for a two week stipend-supported Summer Institute integrating technology and history!
July 20-July 31, 2020 NEH Summer Institute for Teachers
Apply to join history, science and technology teachers from across the United States for a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for Teachers: The Cold War Through the Collections of the Intrepid Museum! The Summer Institute will immerse participating teachers in scholarly research as well as the artifacts and oral histories in the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museumâ?Ts collection that embody the Cold War era. Integrating content exploring the historical context of technological innovation, the Institute will serve a national group of 25 teachers in order to deepen their understanding and increase confidence in their ability to explore the subject thoroughly, critically and engagingly with their students.
These projects are designed principally for full-time or part-time teachers and librarians in public, charter, independent, and religiously affiliated schools, as well as home schooling parents. Museum educators and other K-12 school system personnelâ?"such as administrators, substitute teachers, and curriculum developersâ?"are also eligible to participate. Applicants must be United States citizens, residents of U.S. jurisdictions, or foreign nationals who have been residing in the United States or its territories for at least the three years immediately preceding the application deadline.
In recognition of the passage of the 19th Amendment and the 55th anniversary of the Voting Right Act, The League of Women Voters, the Louisville Metro Office for Women, and the Frazier History Museum have joined forces with over 100 community partners to coordinate the celebration of these two milestones!
"A Celebration of Women' is to lead the Kentucky Derby Festival Pegasus Parade that takes place on Thursday, April 30, 2020 at 5:00 PM. The parade starts at Campbell and Broadway and ends at 9th and Broadway (1.7 miles). A Celebration of Women is divided into three segments, including "History (1848-1960): Celebrating the Women Who Labored for the Right to Vote."
One woman who will be celebrated is Dr. Mary Ellen Britton, a civil rights activist and suffragist. She was an organizer, a member, and a leader in the Kentucky Negro Education Association (1877) and the Kentucky Association of Colored Teachers in Louisville (1887). The parade committee is hoping to have 10-20 teachers to walk in the parade behind the Individual who represents Dr. Britton. A few might be needed to carry signage. The dress will be in appropriate 1880's attire, seasoned and professional.
If you are interested in participating as a volunteer in the parade, please contact JCTA-Retired member Joyce Redd at 502-429-0014.
The Census is coming. Are you ready?
The 2020 census is THE most important thing that will happen this year. Why you ask? The data collected during the census will help determine Congressional districting and federal funding levels for housing, healthcare, transportation, employment, and public education for the next ten years. With $675 Billion in federal funding at stake, it’s crucial that we get a fair and accurate count of every person.
An estimated 1 million pre-school aged children were undercounted during the last census. Those children are in our public schools now, and our schools are not receiving the federal funding allotment for them. Undercounting our children, especially our pre-school children, is a costly mistake that we cannot afford.
We need every family to fill out their census form. Filling out the census is safe and confidential. Federal law protects your census responses. The information you provide can only be used to compile statistics. Your information may not be shared with immigration or law enforcement agencies, and it may not be used to determine your eligibility for government benefits.
How and when will the Census take place?
Census forms will be mailed to every US address beginning on March 1, 2020. You can complete your census using the standard mail-in form, you can complete it online at www.2020census.gov, or you can complete it by phone. Beginning April 9, In-Field Address Canvassers will begin door-to-door canvassing of residences that have not yet responded to the census. These In-Field Address Canvassers will be available to assist you in person if you have trouble filling out your census.
For more information as it becomes available, follow us on the VOTE blog at https://edvotejcta.com/we-count-kentucky/.
Calling All Student Artists for illustrations for an upcoming children's book:
BLUEGRASS BOLD: STORIES OF KENTUCKY WOMEN
A children’s book of Kentucky’s bold civic leaders, past and present, illustrated by Kentucky artists. See more at http://bluegrassbold.com/; See the full
Call for Artists here.
Bluegrass Bold will showcase women of Kentucky who actively contributed to bettering the Bluegrass and beyond. Profiling a diverse group of Kentuckians, each page provides a brief story of the individual, coupled with a portrait created by a Kentucky artist.
BREAKING NEWS: DEADLINE EXTENSION UNTIL 5 PM ON MONDAY, JANUARY 27TH!
Friendly Reminder: The deadline for both the MLK Jr. Diversity Arts and Beyond Contest entries AND the Exemplary Student Scholarship applications to be received at the JCTA office is Thursday, January 23, 2020 at 5 pm.
Here are the key documents for each:
JCTA HCR Exemplary Student Scholarship Cover Sheet
JCTA HCR Exemplary Student Scholarship Guidelines
JCTA HCR MLK Jr. Diversity Arts and Beyond Contest Cover Sheet
JCTA HCR MLK Jr. Diversity Arts and Beyond Contest Guidelines
Your Voice, Our Future...Get Involved, Starting Today!
Right now, candidates are deciding which issues they'll run on. Let's make sure public education is at the top of their agenda. The first step to getting involved is to click this link: Strongpublicschools.org
How to use the Cohn Trust for Professional Development
Rationale: The Martin H. Cohn Trust is for the benefit of social studies teachers of Jefferson County Kentucky public schools for the purpose of providing educational and travel grants to teachers of middle school children in Jefferson County, which will reward them for their efforts, refresh them during their summer and provide them with additional insight in the efforts to educate their students. Martin H. Cohn was a former public school teacher who passed away on September 18, 2000. This trust is for middle school social studies teachers to travel for conferences and to bring information/new ideas to their students. There is a total of $15,000 in the Martin H. Cohn trust and each applicant is eligible for up to $1500 to use toward professional learning.
● Teachers will submit an application that describes their learning opportunity and how they will bring the information back to the JCTA Board, JCPS Social Studies Lead, and their students.
● Applications will be reviewed by the JCPS Social Studies Lead, a deeper learning Resource Teacher, and one member of the JCTA board that is not a district resource teacher, instructional coach, or instructional lead. The application review team will have two weeks to review applications and to submit the names of teachers who are approved.
● Teachers who are approved will receive their funds accordingly.
● All receipts and vouchers will be turned in within 45 days of the end of the conference. If receipts and vouchers are not submitted timely, the teacher is responsible for reimbursing the funds requested back to the Association.
● Teachers who were approved for funding will present their information learned and how they will use the information with students to the JCTA board and the Social Studies Instructional Lead at a future JCTA Bd of Directors meeting.
Examples of Uses:
JCTA, in collaboration with the local social justice group Sowers of Justice, is giving away up to a $1000 grant for JCPS students interested in doing a Food Justice Project.
The application must include the project idea, project partnerships, and the requested amount. The award grants will be presented to recipients at our Food Justice Conference on Oct. 5th, 2019 at the Louisville Hotel. All applications are due by September 20th. Please see attached application material for more details. All applications and questions can be sent to Kumar Rashad at email@example.com
The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), Office of Standards, Assessment and Accountability (OSAA), is seeking classroom teachers (grades 3-12) and content specialists working in support of teachers to review items for future Kentucky assessments in Reading and Writing, Mathematics and Social Studies. Senate Bill 1 (2017) requires that the department implement a process to review Kentucky’s Academic Standards (KAS) and the alignment of corresponding assessments for possible revision or replacement.Current classroom teachers (grades 3-12) or content specialists working in support of teachers interested in the review of assessment items are needed. A pool of candidates is being gathered for this critical work and participants will be notified if accepted. Currently, applications are being accepted through August 15th, 2019.Applicants who are selected will be required to meet in Frankfort or Lexington for multiple days. Substitute teacher expense along with travel will be reimbursed. Timeline of activities will be communicated to individuals once they are determined, with work taking place in early fall.If you have any questions, please e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Jefferson County Teachers Association applauds the Kentucky Supreme Court decision voiding the 2018 SB 151 pension bill.
This ruling is a huge victory for Democracy in our Commonwealth. The state Constitution calls for three readings of every bill so that citizens can engage with their elected legislators and so that those legislators have the time they need to read and understand the bills they vote on. The Supreme Court made it clear today that this Constitutional requirement must be honored by the Kentucky General Assembly. This decision restores the voice of citizens to its rightful place in state government.
Some may try to claim that the voiding of SB 151 will jeopardize Kentucky’s Teacher Retirement System (TRS), but this is not the case. By the bill sponsor’s own acknowledgment, SB 151 changed the unfunded liability of TRS by less than 1% over the next thirty years, and essentially all of those savings came from accelerating the state’s payments, which can be done without changing the plan design for TRS. Indeed, since the state began making its full TRS payments, the percent funding level of TRS has increased every year. If the state continues to make its full payments, TRS will continue to improve until it reaches full funded status. And all of this can be done without plan design changes, like those in SB 151, which would have made the retirement system for future teachers dependent on the stock market in a way that would have put Kentucky at a significant disadvantage in attracting and keeping the high-quality educators that Kentucky students deserve.
Rank Certification Information & Changes in EPSB
At its August 20, 2018 meeting, the Education Professional Standards Board waived the mandatory requirement for an educator to obtain a Rank II within the 5-year regulation timeline. KRS 161.1211 defines Rank II as "Those holding regular certificates and who have a master's degree in a subject field approved by the Education Professional Standards Board or equivalent continuing education." This definition has not changed. Educators are still able to pursue and obtain Rank II to advance in the profession. However, there is no longer a timeline associated to require this Rank change for educators. It is important to note that the Board did not waive program admission requirements or program completion requirements. If a program for certification requires completion of a master's degree, the educator will still need to obtain the master's and complete the program for issuance of a certificate. If a master's or Rank II is required for admission to a preparation program, that requirement is also still in effect. Also note, the path to advancing on the salary schedule in school districts is based on your rank of certification. You may refer to the statute that outlines qualifications for Rank changes in Kentucky here.
At their latest meeting on Monday, EPSB changed language in 16 KAR 5:010, Section 12 that identifies the program design components and program curriculum for any education master's program or planned fifth-year program that does not lead to an additional base or restricted base certificate. These programs are known as the Teacher Leader programs. The changes will allow more flexibility in the creation of programs leading to Rank II, a waiver of 16 KAR 5:010, Section 12, is necessary for Educator Preparation Programs. This waiver will allow EPPs in Kentucky to develop and earn EPSB approval for innovative programs to address teachers, schools, and district's professional development needs. Another change is that the KDE Office of Education Licensure and Effectiveness (specifically the Division of Certification) will now be handling all license and rank changes for educators moving forward. The EPSB office will also be relocating this week to the Sower Building in Frankfort where KDE is located. The best way to contact EPSB is through the web portal at http://www.epsb.ky.gov/ .
The California Casualty Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grant Program is in full swing and applications from NEA members for this year are being accepted through January 15th. Middle and High School athletics programs apply today! www.calcasathelticsgrant.com
Dear Louisville Educators,
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Kentucky and Southern Indiana is seeking nominations of high school students to compete for scholarships, recognition, and the title of Student(s) of the Year! We’re looking for exemplary students who are well-organized, competitive, natural leaders capable of building a strong team, utilizing their network, and working strategically to achieve their goal.
Students of the Year is a philanthropic leadership development program consisting of a 7-week challenge to raise funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) in honor of local blood cancer survivors. The campaign offers the rare opportunity to develop professional skills such as marketing, project management, presentation skills, financial literacy, and networking, and it helps students have a set-apart resume during college applications. Most importantly, it teaches the importance of service and philanthropy while making a meaningful impact for families affected by cancer.
Do you know a high school student who would make an ideal Students of the Year candidate? I’d love to connect with them! Please provide the attached flyer to potential candidates, and don’t hesitate to contact me with questions or candidate nominations. Thank you for helping make this campaign a success and for joining us in the fight against cancer.
For the Cause,
Kristin Armstrong | Campaign Manager | Students of the Year
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (Kentucky & Southern Indiana Chapter)
#OurJCPS State Takeover Resources: LETTERS OF SUPPORT
Click "read article" to see hyperlinks for Letters of Support
#OurJCPS State Takeover Resources: MEDIA COVERAGE
Click "read article" to see annotated hyperlinks
THURSDAY, MAY 10TH ACTION ALERT: ATTEND COMMUNITY FORUM
Bishop Dennis Lyons and Reverend Charles Elliott are organizing a community forum on KDE takeover of JCPS, and respectfully request that our membership attend the event.
Community Forum on JCPS Takeover
Beginning at 7:00 pm
Thursday May 10, 2018
King Solomon Baptist Church
1620 Anderson St
Rev. Charles Elliott
Bishop Dennis Lyons
TUESDAY, MAY 8TH: ACTION ALERT--ATTEND JCBE MEETING in support of the JCPS Race and Equity Plan
Monday, May 7th ACTION ALERT: JCTA All-Member Meeting
SATURDAY, MAY 5TH ACTION ALERTS: TWO OPPORTUNITIES ON DERBY DAY!
The #OURJCPS Coalition is made up of many partners who are passionate about our students and the importance of local control. Two events have been planned on Derby Day: one group is planning an event in the morning and the other in the afternoon. JCTA is promoting both. We encourage our members to attend whichever works best for your schedule (or even both)! Please see details below:
Morning Activism Opportunity: "RUN FOR THE ROSES; MARCH FOR JCPS!"
Afternoon Activism Opportunity:
"MARCH TO DEFEND PUBLIC EDUCATION IN JEFFERSON COUNTY!"
Join parents, students, teachers, staff, taxpayers and community leaders on Saturday, May 5th at Iroquois park at 12:30 p.m. as we march to the outside of Churchill Downs where we will hold a subsequent rally to Defend Public Education in Jefferson County.
ACTION ALERT FOR DERBY WEEK:
It's time for next steps! We will be leafletting during Derby activities and we need YOUR help. Please RSVP to participate in our derby informational leafleting activity:
It takes all of us working together to protect #OurJCPS! We, the #OURJCPS Coalition, hope you'll join us as we work to educate the public about what this takeover would mean for our students and our schools. For additional information, go to www.ourjcps.org
ACTION ALERT FOR THURSDAY, APRIL 26th:
Invite as many parents, students, friends, business owners, other community allies as possible to join forces with the 15th District PTA as well show our solidarity and support of LOCAL CONTROL of #OURJCPS !
The 2018 Kentucky General Assembly’s Legislative Session has been filled with significant legislation, including what felt like a rollercoaster of ups and downs during the final three weeks of the Session. JCTA was present, on the ground, lobbying legislators and advocating for not only Kentucky’s public education, in general, but Jefferson County Teacher Association members, in particular. Throughout this time period, JCTA kept members informed of the details within key bills with articles, charts, and videos that were shared on social media and sent out in all-member emails. These informational pieces have been collected and posted here for easy reference:
o KY Pensions (Part 1) Chronology - This is the first in a series of videos discussing recent events impacting the Teachers Retirement System of Kentucky by JCTA President Brent McKim.
o KY Pensions (Part 2) What's not in SB15-Part 2 discusses numerous harmful provisions in previous versions of the pension bill that were removed through the effective engagement of JCTA/KEA members and their allies.
o KY Pensions (Part 3) Changes for Current Active Teachers-Part 3 discusses the only change in SB151 that effects current active teachers.
o KY Pensions (Part 4) Changes for Current Retirees-Part 4 discusses the provisions in SB151 that will affect current retirees and current active teachers who retire on or after January 1, 2019.
o KY Pensions (Part 5) Changes for Future Teachers-Part 5 explains the Cash Balance Hybrid plan for future teachers hired after January 1, 2019.
o KY Pensions (Part 6) Other SB151 Provisions-In this final video of the series, other miscellaneous provisions in SB151 are discussed.
· Comparison of 3 Main Pension Bills:
JCTA Response to SB 151:
Click here to view JCTA President Brent McKim's explanation of what happened, how it happened, and next steps: youtu.be/Taw06gnzW_E
JCTA and KEA have been actively engaging with our members and our legislators throughout the current legislative session. We have seen the passion and commitment from our teachers and the sacrifices they have made to ensure their voices were heard...by phone, emails, social media, and day after day at the Capitol Building...wearing red, holding signs, and chanting loudly as they lined the tunnel, the front steps, the corridors, and the galleries.
Through this activism, as you will see below, it appears that EVERY negative provision aimed at current teachers and retirees has been eliminated from the bill with the sole exception of a cap on the number of sick days that can be used to calculate retirement benefits.
Although we do not yet have a copy of the pension bill (SB151) to review in detail, based on the bill summary, it appears that the bill makes no changes whatsoever to current TRS retirees and the only provision in the bill that will affect current active teachers is a freeze on how many sick days can be used for pension calculations after this year. All currently accrued sick days can be used to calculate retirement benefits.
All other provisions for current active educators, such as high-3, 3.0 multiplier, 1.5% COLAs, inviolable contract protection, and so on are unchanged.
According to a recent public letter from the Attorney General to members of the General Assembly, the sick day freeze for employees hired prior to 2008 is a violation of the Inviolable Contract and the AG has indicated he will sue if the provision is ennacted. Therefore, this aspect of the bill is likely to be invalidated by the courts.
The bill does place new hires into a Cash Balance plan, but unlike the Defined Benefit plan proposed by the Governor in the fall, this plan will be completely within TRS and managed by TRS. This will keep retirement payments from future teachers flowing into our TRS system. This is important because it avoids reducing the anticipated rate of return for current DB plans at TRS.
Based on this preliminary information, and until we review the actual provisions of the bill (which are not currently available), JCTA is NOT recommending a job action, such as some are promoting on social media.
The state legislature must still pass a budget. KEA and JCTA are encouraging all educators to come to Frankfort on Monday to advocate for education funding in the state budget.
Finally, there is no question that the tactics employed by both House and Senate leaders were not only reprehensible, but actually illegal - tactics like the undemocratic manner in which this bill was brought forward without stakeholders seeing it, the way it was passed out of committee without a financial analysis as required by state statute, and the way it was jammed through both chambers in the space of a only a few hours without allowing legislators or stakeholders time to properly read the bill.
That is why it is ESSENTIAL for us to REMEMBER in November and take this fire of indignation into the voting booth.
Click here to view JCTA President Brent McKim's explanation of what happened, how it happened, and next steps: youtu.be/Taw06gnzW_E
INTERAPT SKILLS SUMMER CODING ACADEMY
Spark your intellectual curiosity and learn new skills in an intensive summer programming course! Take advantage of Interapt’s professional programmers and proven curriculum that will kick start you toward a career in technology.
Summer Academy focuses on a rigorous introduction to computer science fundamentals, software engineering principles, and mobile development for either iOS or Android devices. We begin with basic programming concepts like variables, conditional logic, control flow, and functions. Thereafter, students will learn about object oriented programming, systems design, software development life cycle, mobile frameworks, UI/UX design, and how to deploy applications to the App Store or Play Store. Students will exit the program with a fundamental digital portfolio giving them a head start in college-level computer science programs, and an competitive edge over other applicants to universities or entry level IT jobs
Location: Interapt Skills Training Facility, 1346 River Road, Louisville, KY 40206
Save up to $400 if you enroll by March 25. Classes begin June 4.
"Teaching the Value of Public Service" student poster contest
Those in public service - police officers, teachers, social workers, and scores of others - work for a greater purpose: To make a difference in the lives of others and in the world around us. You can help us celebrate our public servants, and encourage our youth to support and honor those who serve.
Students are invited to participate in the 2018 Public Service Recognition Poster Contest. This year's theme, "Great people doing great jobs," should be expressed through the artwork.
First place winners in each category receive a $50 award, second place winners receive $25, and third place $10. All winners receive an invitation to a special ceremony at the Capitol in April, and will have the opportunity to tour the Capitol while in Frankfort.
Entries will be judged in three categories:
I. Ages 6-9
II. Ages 10-13
III. Ages 14-16
Participants are not eligible to win in the same age category in consecutive years.
Entries must be postmarked by March 30, 2018.
Visit the Personnel Cabinet website for a complete list of contest guidelines.
The breakout session presentation submission window for JCPS educators at the Deeper Learning Symposium 2018: Becoming the Change We Seek is now open until March 1st. The Deeper Learning Symposium Core Planning Team is seeking session proposals from individual educators, groups of educators and students.
To learn more about submitting a proposal, click: https://www.smore.com/7crgj-jcps-deeper-learning-symposium
Apply Now for JCTA-KEA Presidents' Scholarships:
Are you pursuing an advanced degree or seeking your National Board Certification? Let JCTA and KEA help you with the cost!
Apply for up to $1000 in scholarship money to complete certification in one of the following areas:
All applicants must be a member of JCTA/KEA. Scholarship award amounts vary.
Completed electronic applications will be given to the JCTA Spotlight Committee each KEA District Scholarship Committee for consideration. Application deadline is February 15, 2018.
Winners will be notified by JCTA and will be recognized at the March 2018 Professional Rep Council Meeting and at the annual KEA Delegate Assembly in April.
The 2018-2019 JCPS Transfer Application Window is January 1st - March 22nd.
1. Go to https://www.jefferson.kyschools.us/
2. Double-Click on “employees”
3. Double-Click on “logins” (top blue box)
4. Scroll down to “Employee Transfer Application” and double-click
5. Type in JCPS Username and Password
6. Click “Login”
Please note that JCTA will be providing 5 “Understanding the Transfer Process” Workshops to help interested teachers through the process. The workshops are held at the JCTA Office (1941 Bishop Lane, Suite 300) from 4:30-6:30 pm on the following dates:
To register, find the workshops listed on the right side under “JCTA Calendar of Events”. Click the date, log in, then register. Please only reserve one date so that we can accommodate as many people as possible.
The COLA Suspension Calculator calculates your total losses over the course of your expected lifetime as a result of having the cost-of-living adjustment suspended for five years at the beginning of your retirement. The following calculator is written in Microsoft Excel and is required for use:
The Spotlight Committee awards the Apple from the Teacher Award to organizations or individuals who have supported JCTA, teachers, students, or public education. Deadline: January 31, 2018
The JCTA Spotlight Committee awards the June B. Lee Advocacy Award to a JCTA member who has demonstrated exemplary advocacy for JCTA, teachers, students, or public education. Deadline: January 31, 2018.
June B. Lee Advocacy Award:
Shared Responsibility Plan to be presented: Plan proposes viable alternatives to Governor’s pension reform proposal
Kentucky education leaders will host a joint press release at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time on Monday, November 6, 2017 at Woodford County High School, 180 Frankfort St, Versailles, KY 40383 to present alternatives to a public pension reform plan that has been presented by the office of Gov. Matt Bevin.
The Shared Responsibility Plan is designed to address challenges and financial shortcomings of the current state employee pension fund while also ensuring the long-term stability of the many areas of public service that provide the foundation for life in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Those include the areas of public education, law enforcement and emergency response, and all aspects of city and county government, such as roads and infrastructure, municipal utilities and judicial processes.
Dr. Tom Shelton, executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, said the Shared Responsibility Plan demonstrates the willingness of the state’s education organizations and members to implement changes that will strengthen the pension program and maintain its sustainability.
“We must protect the ability of public education to recruit and retain quality educators,” Shelton said. “Teachers and education professionals build the foundation upon which every other area of public life in Kentucky stands. We often hear that children are the future, and that is true, but it is also true that as leaders, we stand at a pivotal moment in time as the decisions we make today will directly impact the future of our children.”
Representatives from the Boone County Education Association, the Council for Better Education, the Jefferson County Teachers Association, the Kentucky Association of School Administrators, the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, the Kentucky Education Association, the Kentucky Retired Teachers Association, the Kentucky School Boards Association, and others will share highlights of a Shared Responsibility Plan, which has been presented to state legislative leadership in draft format for their consideration as an alternative to a plan previously released by Gov. Bevin. The Governor is expected to call a special session that will consider changes to the existing state employee pension program.
To read the public draft of the Shared Responsibility Pension Plan from today's press conference, click here.
What We Know About Governor Bevin’s Proposed Pension Changes (updated 10-26-2017)
The only information regarding the proposed changes to Kentucky’s public employee pension plans released by the Governor were a number of very general talking points. Until we have the language of an actual bill, we cannot answer many specific questions.
What we do know or can conclude from the released talking points and conversations with policymakers is the Governor’s plan would...
1. Not encourage current teachers to retire due to plan changes for at least the next three years.
2. Increase the state’s payments to TRS to address the unfunded liability.
3. Continue current retiree Medicare supplemental insurance benefits.
1. Close the current TRS Defined Benefit (DB) plan to new hires, which would force the TRS DB plan into more and more conservative investments over time, lowering its rate of return, and increasing the state’s required payment by $170 million every year, compared to keeping the DB plan open to new hires. This further destabilizes the DB plan for current teachers and makes it $170 million per year harder for the state to dig out of the Unfunded Liability hole it is in.
2. Force all new hires into a Defined Contribution (DC) plan with higher required employee payments, much lower total employer payments, and no guaranteed retirement benefits - making it much harder to attract and keep quality teachers in Kentucky schools. (It is not clear whether this new plan would be administered by TRS or would be separated from TRS and administered by some other entity. It is also not clear whether educators in the new DC plan would have any disability coverage or post-retirement medical coverage.)
3. Violate the “Inviolable Contract” by cutting retirement benefits for all current and retired teachers by more than 7.5% by freezing for five years the cost of living adjustments (COLAs) that teachers themselves have pre-funded with their own money and are entitled to immediately upon retirement.
4. Reduce the state’s annual statutory contribution toward teacher retirement benefits from its current minimum of about 16% of a teacher’s salary to a flat 4% of a teacher’s salary.
5. Further tax the cash-strapped budgets of local school districts by forcing them to pay an additional 2% of every new teacher’s salary into the new Defined Contribution (DC) plan. This money will come straight out of funds that would otherwise be used for students.
6. Reduce all teacher salaries by 3% by (completely unnecessarily) increasing the required payment to the TRS Medical Insurance Fund (MIF) by 3%. (This is on top of the 3% increased payment added in the 2010 Shared Responsibility Bill, which already fully funds the needed payments for the MIF. So this is essentially a new 3% tax, just for educators.)
7. Violate the “Inviolable Contract” by eventually by not honoring the inviolably protected 2.5% multiplier.
8. Violate the “Inviolable Contract” by eventually forcing all current teachers into DC plans.
9. Violate teachers’ constitutionally-protected property rights to the value of their currently earned unused sick days by not recognizing unused sick day payments for pension purposes after 2023.
10. Eliminate, after three years, the 3.0 multiplier for teachers who retire with more than 30 years of service.
11. Eliminate, after five years, retirement based a teacher’s high three years of service (instead of high five years of service) for teachers who retire at age 55 or later with at least 27 years of service.
So, while many details remain to be determined, it is clear that the proposed bill will include changes that will, overall, harm the retirement security of Kentucky’s dedicated educators, and we do not need all the details of the bill to know this plan will take Kentucky in the wrong direction. It is virtually certain to entangle Kentucky in multiple expensive legal challenges which the Commonwealth is likely to lose, worsening the TRS funding dilemma. It will make it harder to attract and keep the quality teachers our students deserve. For these and many other reasons, every educator needs to call the legislative hotline and ask their elected officials to reject the plan outlined by the Governor. Tell them to go back to the drawing board and start with a plan to fund the Unfunded Liability.
It you don’t like what’s in this plan, NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT!!!
Legislative Message Line
Click HERE to watch JCTA President Brent McKim's interview on "Pure Politics".
Read more about how pensions benefit communities in the article below:
Numerous laws provide that students have the right to be free from discrimination or harassment based on their actual or perceived race, national origin, gender (including gender identity and sexual orientation), religion, or disability.
Read the National Education Association's white paper regarding Universal Safety Safety by clicking HERE.
The new KY Super Stars Leadership Academy is soliciting participation by Pre-School and Kindergarten teachers.
Details are available at http://www.ovec.org/7/home .
The Governor's Office of Early Childhood asked OVEC for assistance with this program last year based on their track record of success operating Head Start and Early Head Start programs and our partnerships with private preschools. Each will have a personal mentor for six months.
Sara York, former principal of TAPP, has been hired to be the regional leader for the Jefferson County/OVEC/Northern KY region. She will join six other folks with diverse experience in Early Childhood and Elementary Education in coaching and mentoring the participants. The program comes at no cost to participants or employers: mileage, meals, lodging, and subs are covered.
Students in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Preschool through 12th Grade, are invited to create an original artwork that embodies the statement "I love my public school because..."
All students in a public school in Kentucky are eligible to enter. For more info visit the KEA website here.
Grants of up to $5,000 to individuals or up to $10,000 to teacher teams for self-designed professional learning experiences in the summer of 2017, including international travel, summer institutes, and local projects are available through JCPS' Fund for Teachers.
Click the link here for details!
2016-2017 JCTA Student Scholarship Info Now Available
JCTA is offering Exemplary Student Scholarships to two Jefferson County Public School seniors. The Jefferson County Teachers Association will honor these two JCPS seniors during its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Dinner with a $1,000 scholarship for each recipient. The dinner will take place during January 2017. (Details regarding the location and time will be provided to the winners in November.) The scholarship winners are requested to attend the memorial dinner and will be provided two complimentary tickets for guests.
Students should send their completed scholarship application package to the JCTA office (located at 1941 Bishop Lane, Suite 300) by Friday, November 11th. If you have any questions contact UniServ Dawn Moretz at email@example.com or 454-3400.
The following checklist will assist in completing the application. If any components are incomplete or missing, the application will be void.
*Typed, Double-spaced, using size 12 Arial font
*Not to exceed 75 words per question
*Each question answered on a separate sheet
1. Why do you want to be a teacher?
2. Describe experiences which have helped to prepare you for your career goal(s).
3. How did you arrive at your decision (referenced in Part I of this application) relative to college choice and major?
4. What other information about yourself would you like the committee to know?
All of the above information needs to be submitted by: November 11, 2016.
Class schedule with the official seal submitted by August 30, 2017 in order for funds to be released.
For an electronic copy of this 2016-2017 Exemplary Student Scholarship Announcement listed above, click here.
The JCTA Human and Civil Rights Committee is proud to announce the themes and related details for the 2016-2017 MLK, Jr Diversity Arts Contest:
Elementary (K-3, 4-5, ECE): “Intelligence + Character—that is the goal of true education.”
Middle School (6-8, ECE)/High School (9-12, ECE): “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.”
Categories: (Elementary: K-3, 4-5; Middle School: 6-8; High School: 9-12: ECE)
The winner in each category will be invited to attend the JCTA Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards Dinner in January 2017 and will be recognized with a certificate and cash prize. All entries must be postmarked by Thursday, November 10th or hand-delivered to the JCTA office by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 11th in order to be considered. All entries must include a completed cover sheet. Click HERE for the flier and contest rules. Questions? Contact JCTA UniServ Director Dawn Moretz at 454-3400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jefferson County Teachers Association
1941 Bishop Lane, Suite 300
Louisville, KY 40218
P: (502) 454-3400
F: (502) 452-2794
People watch 40% more sports when they play fantasy football. Wouldn't it be amazing to have that kind of effect on voter turnout? It would be really cool to have a game to predict elections like an NCAA bracket pool. That game exists in the form of an App!
"PredElection" hit the App Store last week (Android coming soon). Please give it a download and play around. It's free, has cash prizes, and you can challenge friends to group pools. PLUS, it includes latest polls, news, a one-stop shop for all your voting needs, and a ton of resources thanks to partners at MTV, Ballotpedia, and Rock the Vote.
In addition to being fun, this app has the power to get people (especially young people) engaged in the electoral process, but only if we have users. So here are your missions if you choose to accept them:
With your support, we can change the game!
Highlights of 2017 Open Enrollment
The Kentucky Employees’ Health Plan (KEHP) 2017 plan year annual Open Enrollment is an ACTIVE Open Enrollment and everyone must make an election. KEHP is a self-funded plan that offers health insurance to state employees, school boards, retirees under age 65, and other quasi-governmental agencies. KEHP offers flexible spending accounts to those whose employer participates in our FSA/HRA program.
Open Enrollment Highlights
(October 10 - October 24, 2016)
Ÿ No premium increase for the LivingWell plans if you completed your 2016 LivingWell Promise, and you choose another LivingWell plan for 2017
Ÿ 1% premium increase in the Standard CDHP and Standard PPO plans
In an effort to keep premiums lower while continuing to offer you comprehensive benefits, KEHP made the following changes for 2017:
Ÿ LivingWell PPO plan deductible increased to $750/single and $1,500/family for in- network coverage;
Ÿ The out-of-pocket maximum increased in all four plan options: LivingWell CDHP and LivingWell PPO $2,750/single and $5,500/family; Standard PPO and Standard CDHP
$3,750/single and $7,500 family;
Ÿ The Healthcare Flexible Spending Account (FSA) has a minimum carry over amount of $50;
Ÿ Preventive prescriptions on the CVS/Caremark preventive therapy drug benefit list will not be subject to the deductible if you have the LivingWell CDHP or the Standard CDHP;
Ÿ LiveHealth Online Psychology is now available at no cost for you and your dependents age 10 and over; and
Ÿ Beginning in 2018, the Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) have a maximum carry over amount of $7,500.
How to Enroll:
Ÿ Online using KHRIS ESS at openenrollment.ky.gov
Ÿ Use the paper application in the Benefits Selection Guide;
— If you currently have the cross-reference payment option, you may enroll using the pre-populated cross-reference paper application you will receive in the mail; or
— If you are electing the cross-reference payment option for the first time or you do not have the pre-populated paper application.
Beam, Kenneth—Lassiter Middle School— Hello Ladies and Gentlemen, I am Kenneth Beam and I currently teach 7th grade Math at Lassiter Middle School. I have been teaching for 20 years, with the last 12 with JCPS. I am a believer of being a stake holder with the TPGES process. Many times I have served…...
Chester-Burton, Beverly – Frost Academy - I am a JCTA/KEA Board Member seeking the opportunity to represent you on the Local Evaluation Appeals Panel. I’m committed to improving evaluations through fair and collaborative efforts. I will listen to you and voice your concerns. Together, we’ll find solutions to enhance the process. I would appreciate your vote.
Donoghue, George – JCTMS - I want to help ensure that all teachers get a fair hearing regarding their summative evaluation appeals. Please elect me to as one of your representatives.
O’Neal, Leigh – St. Matthews Elementary - This is my 26th year as an ECE teacher in JCPS. I am a JCTA representative. I have mentored many pre-service teachers and KTIP teachers. I collaborate daily with others to improve teaching and learning. My experiences thus far will make me a good candidate for the LEAP committee.
Click below to get great Teacher Tips, the Question of the Week, a Featured Strategy, Featured Lesson Plan, Featured Toolkit, Featured Webinar, and Featured EdCommunities Group
JCTA offers a wide range of workshops for personal and professional development. Go to PD Central to sign up for workshops offering Professional Development hours. To attend our other workshops, go to Calendar of Events on the JCTA Website, click the workshop, and register.
Click HERE for a complete list of workshops provided from September-November 2016.
We’ve been getting calls/emails regarding questions that are arising from individuals receiving their copies of the proposed contract. Here are some common questions and continuing themes that we wanted to share:
1) Why do we need a new contract? When the 2013-18 contract was negotiated, Article 27 Salary and Benefits was NOT agreed to for the full term of the agreement, meaning that the salary/benefits portion of the contract would have to be renegotiated throughout the term of the full contract. The salary portion of the contract was due for renegotiations (ie, we didn’t have salary agreements other than steps in place for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 schools years) so that was the purpose of the recent negotiations.
2) There is a mention of a lawsuit being dropped – what was the lawsuit about and why was it dropped? JCTA filed a lawsuit when the District refused to recognize and honor steps at the beginning of their fiscal year. JCTA agreed to drop the lawsuit once the District agreed to recognize the right to steps as new language in the contract.
3) Why only a .75 % increase in the first year? As was discussed at the recent Representative Council (PR) meeting, that was neither the original proposal by JCTA nor the District. The District was much lower with no step increases at all and JCTA was much higher with steps. JCTA worked to negotiate the District up to a two-year 2.25% package with step increases.
For the majority of our members, most of which have never served on a bargaining team, we understand the frustration and the concern of not getting exactly what you want. The reality of bargaining is that neither side gets 100% of what want, but your JCTA negotiation team works to negotiate the best package possible for our members and the students we teach.
Bargaining is a give and take with both parties walking away from the table with at least some of what they’ve asked for. JCTA leadership discussed these questions and many others at the recent JCTA PR meeting held earlier in the week. Be sure to check with your Professional Rep for information that they might have as well!
In the meantime, please continue to ask us your questions. There will always be rumors when people are involved in any endeavor, so we always appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight.
We have received many questions from our membership regarding a newspaper article featuring TRS investment returns. The article, unfortunately, focused narrowly on the most recent fiscal year only, which caused concern among TRS members since it was not accompanied with the broader context that puts a one-year return in perspective. Below is a bullet-point summary that provides the broader context:
• The markets always have good and bad years, and 2016 was a tough year in the market for both institutional investors and individuals.
• Negative cash flow resulted in TRS selling assets it otherwise would not have sold, which significantly hindered TRS's ability to buy in favorable markets. The new, additional funding provided to TRS in the current budget that began July 1 only became available after the close of this fiscal year on June 30. But the funding will help going forward.
• TRS consistently delivers long-term results.
• The TRS 30-year return on investments is 8.0%.
• TRS ranked in the top 25% over the 3-, 5-, and 10-year periods compared to other pensions plans across the nation despite one year of underperformance.
• TRS’s conservative, methodical, transparent investment process resulted in TRS avoiding the subprime mortgage and derivative investments that were the focal point of the 2008 Great Recession. Instead, TRS performed in the top 10% in the nation.
• TRS has never invested in hedge funds.
• TRS investment fees are among the lowest in the nation at 1/25 of one percent of assets.
• TRS has a wealth of investment expertise: Aon Hewitt, one of the world’s largest investment consultants; Two nationally recognized investment experts who advised stock exchanges and one of whom advised the Rockefellers, serve on TRS Investment Committee; TRS Investment Department staff include investment professionals with decades of investment experience.
Now accepting Local Evaluation Appeals Panel nominations
As part of the TPGES system, all districts are required to establish a Local Evaluation Appeal Panel (LEAP) to hear summative evaluation appeals. JCTA/JCPS’s panel will include 12 certified personnel (non-administrative), who must be elected to serve on the panel. This year, four teachers will be elected to serve three-year terms. Elected LEAP members will receive training. The appeals hearings will be held in the late spring and early summer.
If you are interested in serving on the LEAP panel, click here for a nomination form. The deadline to submit your nomination form is Wednesday, September 7 at 5:00 p.m. The election will be open to all certified employees in our bargaining unit, regardless of JCTA membership, and will be conducted electronically through the JCTA website September 21-28. For more information, contact UniServ Director Elana Crane (email@example.com).
Being part of the NEA family means coming together in good times and in bad. Right now, it is the worst of times for students, families and our members in Louisiana.
The southern part of the state is undergoing historic flooding. At least six people have died and thousands have been forced from their homes. More than 20,000 residents have been rescued over the past few days and more than 10,000 are in shelters, mostly in the Baton Rouge area.
Unfortunately, most of the affected families did not have flood insurance because their homes were not considered to be in high-risk areas that would have required the insurance.Several of the state’s parishes have been declared disaster areas, and more are likely to be soon.
Debbie Meaux, president of the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE), has been communicating regularly with members and is asking them to let the association know of their communities’ needs so they can offer as much support as possible.
We are encouraging state affiliates, members and others to use this secure web site to make donations to LAE members and schools who are in need. All donations will be directed through LAE and routed to those most in need.
We appreciate anything you can do and please consider sharing the link to the donation page on your social media platforms. Every bit helps as we support those communities in need.
As a young educator, you are an integral part of the Jefferson County Teachers’ Association (JCTA).
We believe that young educators become young leaders and you are the future of our organization.
We are looking for members interested in improving the field of education and the lives of your students. Join us to take an active and vital leadership role within JCTA.
We are accepting applications to serve on the YOUNG LEADERS Committee during the 2016-17 school year:
What YOUNG LEADERS do:
• Take a lead role in organizing other young educators around your interests.
• Develop Professional Developments to support teachers within JCPS.
• Work together to build community within JCPS.
• Recruit and engage members and potential members.
• Promote fun social events for teachers to network every month.
• Work collaboratively with current leadership to support the association.
• Receive support from JCTA that allows you and your students to soar in and out of the classroom.
This is your opportunity to take charge!
Please submit your application by contacting:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 502-454-3400
Or fill it out online at:
Why the House Budget Approach Is Better than a Big Set Aside of Idle Funds
The major point of difference between the governor’s budget and the House budget concerns the use of idle funds. The governor’s plan sets aside $500 million in a new so-called permanent fund and $241 million more than the House in the state’s rainy day fund, while the House plan uses those funds to reduce budget cuts and increase direct payments to the underfunded pension systems.
The JCPS FRYSC Director is seeking JCTA members to join the following two committees:
Coordinated School Health Committee
The Coordinated School Health Committee focuses on best practices, programs, and initiatives related to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new Coordinated School Health model. The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model is a whole child approach to education and provides a framework for greater alignment, integration, and collaboration between health and education to improve each child’s cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development.
Louisville Linked Core Planning Team Coordinated School
Louisville Linked is an initiative building upon existing partnerships between JCPS and community based service providers to link each child and family with structures and services to support their well-being and to nurture the development of personal resiliency.
Please email JCPS President Brent McKim at email@example.com if you are interested in being considered for an appointment to either committee.
Don't miss your chance to see this important film!
Final "Most Likely to Succeed" Film Screening and Discussion
to take place on March 29th, 2016 @ 6:00 pm at
Christ Church United Methodist Church 6414 Brownsboro Road
Teacher-Led Professional Learning Opportunity
JCPSVoice seeks JCTA members and other stakeholders interested in engaging in a pilot of Virtual Learning Communities in JCPS. Through JCPSVoice, participants will be able to engage in resource sharing, online discussion forums, interactive webinars, and implement Google Apps for Education, among other options. There is so much expertise amongst the 6000+ educators in the district; JCPSVoice and its teacher leaders aim to be a catalyst in sharing and enhancing this reservoir of knowledge and professionalism.
Sign up: http://bit.ly/JCPSVoice
Teacher, English and Digital Media
Fern Creek High School
Statement of President Stephanie J. Winkler, Kentucky Education Association
Regarding Governor Matt Bevin’s Budget Address
January 27, 2016
KEA appreciates Governor Matt Bevin’s making funding for the state’s troubled pension systems his highest budget priority. An additional $300 million investment in KTRS each year of the biennium is good news for Kentucky’s retired and active teachers and their students. While the Governor’s proposed additional general fund dollars are not enough to solve KTRS’ financial problems, it constitutes a significant step in the right direction. KEA supports any reasonable approach to funding KTRS, knowing that additional funds will be required in the future to reach a sustained, acceptable level of funding.
KEA includes among its members participants in both the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System (KTRS) and the County Employees Retirement System (CERS). CERS is in much better financial shape than other state pension systems. It is part of the Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS). KRS’ funding problems could eventually jeopardize all of its subsidiaries, including CERS, if they are not addressed.
KEA encourages members of the House and Senate to join the Governor in making pension funding a high priority as they begin examining this budget proposal.
KEA also applauds Governor Bevin for maintaining base funding for schools through the Support Educational Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) program as well as putting additional money into SEEK to accommodate increased student enrollment in our schools this coming school year.
Over the next few days and weeks, KEA will review the details of the budget and attend budget hearings of the House and Senate, watching especially for areas of education spending that may be cut.
As noted by Commissioner Pruitt in his recent “State of Education in the Commonwealth” address, Kentucky students’ have made remarkable progress and their achievement ranks above the national average in many areas, despite the fact that the state’s per pupil expenditure for public schools is $1260 below the national average. We are justifiably proud of the many ways in which Kentucky schools succeed. Cuts in any aspect of state funding for education will hurt our chances of continuing Kentucky’s remarkable journey to top levels of student success since the passage of KERA in 1990.
KEA appreciates Governor Bevin and his staff meeting with us to inform us about the budget. We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with him and members of the Kentucky General Assembly for the best interests of our students.
Stephanie Winkler is a fourth grade teacher in Madison County, currently on leave to serve a president of the Kentucky Education Association. KEA represents more than 43,000 members across the Commonwealth, including teachers, education support professionals, pre-service teachers, and retired teachers.
NOW is the time for promoting quality public educators in Kentucky and the education they provide Kentucky students regardless of zip code! With that in mind, our state affiliate, KEA, has begun runninng two different 30 second TV spots, entitled "Come See Our Success" and " What Learning Looks Like". The two spots will run in heavy rotation in the Bowling Green, Louisville, Lexington, Henderson, Northern Kentucky and Paducah/Cape Girardeau TV markets for four weeks, along with a heavy support schedule of internet digital display ads.
JCTA hopes that all of you will help us extend the life and impact of the spots—as well as the three-minute companion video called “What Learning Looks Like”—by sharing them with your colleagues, family members, and friends by ensuring that they are posted on as many Facebook pages as possible.
Here they are:
What Learning Looks Like (long form) FINAL
What Learning Looks Like TV 30
Come See Our Success TV 30
The push by Governor Bevin and the Republican leaders of the General Assembly for vouchers and charter schools is based on a LIE: A lie that Kentucky’s public schools are failing and need to be replaced. This campaign is our answer to that lie!
Two years ago, Murray State University asked for our help in surveying JCTA members on useful elements to consider as they designed the English Pedagogy & Technology degree program. The information that our members provided through the survey was valuable. Now that the program has been created, Murray State University wants to share that the program is available and is designed for public school teachers in English, Reading, Literacy, and other English-related fields. The 48-credit-hour program can be completed online and is heavily orientated toward practice.
JCTA has received a very preliminary briefing regarding the new JCPS school funding plan. Currently JCPS site-based school funding allocations are based on lower class sizes than required by the JCTA contract and/or state law. (However, the district correctly points out that once schools are funded for these lower class sizes, many, if not most, raise their own class sizes by converting instructional positions to non-instructional positions.)
Based on the information JCTA has received, our understanding is that the plan would allocate essentially only enough site-based funding to schools to allow schools to comply with state law and our contract in terms of class size and would not fund most "add-on” positions. Schools will then have to provided rationale for additional funding requests so district resources can be allocated where they are most needed.
The district indicates that these changes will shift resources within the district but will not reduce the total number of classroom teachers, and if the plan is successful in reducing the number of teachers converted from instructional positions to non-instructional positions, it may even increase the number of actual classroom teachers, which would actually lower average class sizes across the district. The district also sees this as a way to provide greater resources and more teaching positions to schools that need the most support.
JCTA has received a very preliminary briefing regarding the new JCPS school funding plan. Currently JCPS site-based school funding allocations are based on lower class sizes than required by the JCTA contract and/or state law. (However, the district correctly points out that once schools are funded for these lower class sizes, many, if not most, raise their own class sizes by converting instructional positions to non-instructional positions.)
JCTA has long advocated against increasing class size by converting instructional positions to new non-instructional positions, and the Association has called for providing additional resources at our struggling schools to help them succeed; however, the Association has advised the district leadership that because the plan is being described by the media as a plan to increase class size for teachers, rather than as a procedural funding and resource allocation issue, the plan is not be received well by our members. JCTA also pointed out to the district that the reason schools are converting instructional positions to non-instructional positions is to handle all the extra bureaucracy and paperwork associated with the out-of-control data demands from central office and if JCPS tries to eliminate these non-instructional positions without addressing the root cause of central office data demands, the plan will be fatally flawed. Following these discussions, the JCPS Chief Business Officer Tom Hudson issued the following public statement to the community, clarifying the impact of the new budget allocation process:
"On behalf of the JCPS leadership team, I want to assure parents and the community that the new JCPS budgeting process is about ensuring that every school has the resources and support it needs to help every student succeed. Our commitment to the community is to do this in a way that WILL NOT reduce the number of classroom teaching positions."
JCTA expressed its appreciation for this clarification and invited the new JCPS Chief Business Officer, Tom Hudson, to present the plan to the JCTA Board at its January 14 all-day meeting and address questions and concerns. We are pleased to report Mr. Hudson immediately accepted our invitation and is planning to discuss the plan with us in January. The Association should be able to provide more detailed information following this meeting.
Ben Johnson, Assistant Recreation Director for the Louisville Metro Parks wants to be sure that our embers are aware of the many locations and amenities provided by the local park system. In addition, The Dare to Care information shows the locations where the Louisville Mero Parks serve meals to any and all youth 18 and under – no questions asked, no registration, application, etc. Their ultimate hope is that some of those youth will become more engaged in the park programs. But at a minimum, youth will receive a high quality, nutritious hot meal.
JCTA is offering Exemplary Student Scholarships to two Jefferson County Public School seniors. The Jefferson County Teachers Association will honor these two JCPS seniors during its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Dinner with a $1,000 scholarship for each recipient. The dinner will take place during January 2016. (Details regarding the location and time will be provided to the winners in December.) The scholarship winners are requested to attend the memorial dinner and will be provided two complimentary tickets for guests.
Students should send their completed scholarship application package to the JCTA office (located at 1941 Bishop Lane, Suite 300) by Wednesday, December 9, 2015. If you have any questions, contact UniServ Dawn Moretz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 454-3400.
One VERY BIG aspect of the Governer's race is where each candidate stands on KTRS funding. Click here to watch a brief, but important video from JCTA President Brent McKim regarding why it matters who is elected governer in part due to each candidate's plan for funding KTRS.
It is time to ramp up the pressure!
It would seem, of all things, that Speaker John Boehner’s resignation has resulted in some activity on the ESEA front. The chairs and ranking members of the education committees (Sens. Alexander and Murray, and Reps. Kline and Scott) have been in actual negotiations and staff have begun to go quiet – typically a sign an agreement is nearing and could be released in the next few weeks. (It’s either that or they are planning an epic Halloween party.) Let’s play it safe and assume that we are going hear a formal announcement soon followed by the appointment of conferees.
What does this mean? It means the finish line is in sight! NEA is partnering with ten other national education groups (the same ones we have been pressing Congress with for months now) for an online media campaign that will run next week pushing for a completed bill that can reach the president. It also means that your continued advocacy is more important than ever to ensuring the conference committee produces a completed bill that can reach the president’s desk.
As you may have heard, the Obama administration made an announcement over the weekend about working to limit over testing (NEA’s statement on the announcement). Momentum continues to build around the priorities NEA has outlined for ESEA Reauthorization. We must keep our foot on the gas pedal to drive this thing home.
How can you help? It’s simple!
Go to GetESEARight.com to send an email, or call 1-866-331-7233 to urge Senator Mitch McConnell and Senator Rand Paul to finish the job. Also, schedule back home meetings with your Representatives – they are on (another) recess the week of November 9th, the Senate will still be in DC. Stay tuned for more information on activities we are planning to drive home this bill.
HERE IS YOUR MESSAGE:
Our students should not live under the broken system of No Child Left Behind or a patchwork of waivers any longer. Push your legislators hard and remind them that we will not stand idly by while students aren’t receiving the opportunities and resources they need and deserve simply because of the zip code they live in. For rank and file members, urge them to push Committee leaders and Congressional leaders to finish their work swiftly and bring a final bill forward. Finish the job - get ESEA done and get it right.
We want a bill that more closely resembles the Senate bill (S. 1177) and:
• Includes student and/or school supports in state accountability plans to create an opportunity “dashboard”
• Reduces the amount of standardized testing in schools and decouples high-stakes decision making and statewide standardized tests.
• Ensures that educators’ voices are part of decision making at the federal, state and local levels
It truly is make or break time right now. Congress has a lot of self-imposed distractions that are currently weighing on the minds of many on Capitol Hill but if you keep up the amazing work you have done this year I know we will be successful. Thank you for all you do! Have a safe and spooky weekend!
There have been many with questions regarding changes in the KY Health Insurance Plan. To assist members, we are reposting a "Letter from the President" written by Brent McKim for the October 2, 2013 edition of the ACTION newsletter.CLICK HERE to read President McKim's letter.
Know WHO you are voting FOR and WHAT you are voting AGAINST:
At a recent event in Jessamine County, Republican Lt. Governor candidate Jenean Hampton continued her campaign's pattern of disparaging early learning programs, stating that Head Start is being used for "indoctrination."
HAMPTON: "See I remember when Head Start began and it was just for low income, very low income kids because they were not getting at home the training they should have gotten. That's what that was for. But I suspect, I truly suspect that now it's just being used to get the kids at an even earlier age and just start the indoctrination sooner. That's my feelings."
Click here to view Jenean Hampton's remarks.
On Thursday, September 24th, JCTA President Brent McKim held a press conference during which he addressed the lack of district level support in regards to JCPS student behavior problems. McKim cited results from the most recent TELL Survey which had been completed during the spring of 2015 by JCPS teachers across the district. JCTA is strongly encouraging the JCPS Board of Education and Superintendent Donna Hargens to work with the Teamsters and community members to both acknowledge the overwhelming problem of student misconduct and then commit to finding solutions for the betterment of learning and teaching conditions within the schools of Jefferson County.
Read President McKim's full remarks below:
"The number of teachers contacting JCTA with significant concerns regarding student behavior problems in their schools has increased in recent years and the reported severity of the problems has also increased. To better understand the current reality for the teachers in Jefferson County, JCTA recently conducted a teacher survey regarding student behavior issues. Almost 1,100 teachers took part in the survey. The results are so alarming and so consistent with the problems being experienced by our bus drivers and other educational employees that we felt the best course of action would be to share the results with the superintendent, the school board, and the community, so that we can all work together to take action that will lead to real improvement.
To illustrate the point, I would like to highlight a number of the teacher survey findings:
• 95% of teachers say they usually or always build relationships with students who are having problems with misbehavior as a strategy for improving the situation (Q30)
• Shockingly, only 3% of teachers believe that JCPS usually or always supports schools that are having problems with student behavior; 75% of teachers believe that JCPS rarely or never supports schools that are having problems with student behavior (Q25)
• 79% of teachers say that being required to “teach to the test” causes increased misbehavior in students (Q17)
• Only 15% of teachers say their school collaboratively involved teachers in the development or selection of their school’s discipline plan (Q5)
• Consequently, more than half of the teachers surveyed say their school’s discipline plan rarely or never works in areas outside the classroom (hallways, cafeteria, etc.) (Q7)
• 72% of teachers say their administrators do not implement the Code of Conduct effectively and consistently (Q27)
• And maybe the most shocking response of all is that the majority of teachers surveyed say they believe their administrators are actively discouraged by their superiors from implementing the Code of Conduct effectively (Q28)
In June of this year, the Association urged the school board to work with the superintendent to develop clear, specific, realistic, and constructive goals for improving the alarming and unacceptable state of student behavior in JCPS. To our knowledge, this has not been done.
To be clear, the Association is not suggesting that these problems are all due to the superintendent. Certainly, student behavior has been a longstanding challenge in JCPS, long before our current superintendent arrived. However, both JCTA’s information and statewide TELL Survey clearly indicate that student behavior is getting worse, rather than better.
These are serious issues that deserve to be a focal area for the board and the superintendent and clear goals should be set for improvement. Our students deserve to learn in a safe and orderly school environment conducive to learning and our teachers, bus drivers, and other school employees deserve to feel supported. JCTA and the Teamsters look forward to working collaboratively with the school board, the superintendent, and community partners to positively impact student behavior and school safety. We ask that all these stakeholders acknowledge this problem and commit themselves to work together to make a difference for the benefit of our students and our staff."
To help achieve the goal outlined in KRS 161.131of having one National Board Certified Teacher in every Kentucky school by 2020 and to overcome the barrier that teachers in schools without colleagues who are board-certified are half as likely to pursue National Board certification, the Kentucky Network to Transform Teaching will reimburse candidates from schools without National Board Certified Teachers $275 after the submission of one component for out of pocket expenses, as long as funding allows and in the order applications are received.
If you have any questions about this reimbursement, please e-mail Suzanne.Farmer@ky.gov.
In just a few days...
Gun Violence Conference in Louisville.
We hope you have heard about the September 26th Gun Violence Conference in Louisville. It will be an impressive convening of groups and individuals in the Louisville community around the issue of gun violence. The conference will be held from 8:30 to 4:30 at Christ Church Cathedral, 421 S. Second St. For over a year, The Sowers of Justice Network has brought together in conversation a number of community leaders, representing a variety of interests relating to how we can positively and proactively stop gun violence in the community. This conference of different voices is a first step toward the broader discussions which we will continue to face as a community.
Register soon! We need to plan the space and the number of lunches by Wednesday, September 23rd.
Tickets for all day Saturday, including lunch are $20. Scholarships are available for anyone needing them. Contact us here: email@example.com
The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) is seeking educators and non-educators interested in serving on teacher tribunals. Individuals who are currently in the pool for assignment to a teacher tribunal or who have already served on a tribunal will need to reapply and undergo the training to continue to serve. For more information, click: KDE SEEKING INDIVIDUALS TO SERVE ON TEACHER TRIBUNALS
Jefferson County Public School district is continuing to promote equal opportunities. As a result, a LGBTQ Advisory Committee was formed to provide perspective to JCPS related to LGBTQ matters impacting students, parents, faculty, staff, and other constituents. Advisory Committee chairs invite interested individuals to join the following sub-committees: Policy, Student Supports, Stakeholder Supports, Training, and Outreach.
A brief description of each sub-committee is provided below. Members are sought who are passionate, purposeful, and can work well on a team to move forward in positive direction. If interested in joining one of the sub-committees or for further information, please contact either Dr. Monica Lakhwani at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ms. Brittany Andrews at email@example.com.
Policy Sub-Committee - this group is about understanding policy and procedure in JCPS as it relates to LGBTQ issues, from Board policy to school procedures. We will be locating resources, suggesting policy language, and identifying where support may still be needed. This may include suggestions on policies to put in place locally based on others already in place elsewhere in schools and districts that work to support LGBTQ students, staff, and families. It may involve understanding how policy applies to real world situations, and what might need to be adjusted to better fit current needs. Finally, we can also look at finding questions that may need answers, such as how adoption rules affect parental status or benefits or gender identification on documents we use daily.
Outreach Sub-Committee – this group will focus on broadening and processing communications among LGBTQ Advisory Committee work and JCPS staff members, students, families, and the community. This group will assist to increase communicative access to various internal and external members in educating or informing staff, students, families, and the community on LGBTQ issues. This may involve establishing beneficial connections between people and/or organizations or envisioning ways to disseminate information and raise awareness on LGBTQ related issues within the district.
Stakeholder Sub-Committee – this group of the JCPS LBGTQ Advisory Committee exists to develop proposals for ways in which JCPS can more effectively: 1) Foster support and acceptance of LGBTQ administrators, faculty members, and support staff throughout the JCPS community; and 2) Meet the needs of families of LGBTQ students and families headed by LGBTQ parents/guardians.
Training and Curriculum Development Sub-Committee - this group's focus will be on identifying training and professional development needs within the district regarding LGBTQ issues. We will collaborate with others to develop and provide appropriate training opportunities to help support our LGBTQ students, staff, and families. These may include topics such as positive school culture, building resilience, and embracing diversity of all kinds. Additionally, this group would investigate ways to make curricula (literature, science, social studies, history, psychology, health/sex education, etc.) more inclusive of LGBTQ individuals.
Student Supports Sub-Committee – The focus of the Student Support Subcommittee centers on supporting the needs of JCPS students who identify as LGBTQ as well as those students who support LGBTQ students, friends, and family members. This subcommittee will work with schools and other agencies to collect data on issues faced by students who identify as LGBTQ, so as to drive the decision making and actions of this subcommittee. Foreseeable actions of this subcommittee may include, but are not limited to, supporting JCPS GSAs/Alliances, developing student leadership and voice within JCPS, developing partnerships with community members that support JCPS students, etc. Students will actively participate in this subcommittee, from providing perspectives and ideas to planning and implementation.
The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union and Economic Justice Coalition need your support at an upcoming Town Hall Meeting being held to share the hard truths about "Right to Work" legislation. The joint UFCW/Economic Justice Coalition Town Hall Meeting will be held on Monday, July 20th at 6 pm at the Union Hall located at 3330 Pinecroft Drive in Louisville. It is vitally important that we support our Union Brothers and Sisters across professions. Together we can make a difference and keep harmful legislation from becoming law.
An eLearning Conference will be sponsored by the Indiana Department of Education that is centered around the 4Cs of 21st Century Learning: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity...
Proposed Social Studies Standards for the Next Generation Now Available for Further Review
As a result of efforts among multiple and diverse groups of educators, the proposed Social Studies Standards for the Next Generation are now available for access and further review. These future-oriented standards, built from a vision crafted in 2013 and revised following input and feedback received from more than 2,000 people involved in focus groups and an open online survey conducted during the fall of 2014, respond to the demands of global competencies and 21st century learning. KDE wants to follow-up and have educators and others examine the latest version of the standards that include the changes and react to it...
2015 Girls STEM Day
The University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and Office for Environmental Programs Outreach Services, is hosting the 2015 Girls Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Day on Wednesday, July 29...
The Kentucky Writing Project announces a special summer workshop. This opportunity is designed especially for teachers who work with English Language Learners but have had limited training in strategies that make a difference. We’ll focus on authentic assessment and differentiation, along with tools that assist teachers in knowing students’ needs.
The workshop will be held on three dates in either Lexington or Louisville.
Click the article heading for more information, dates, and the registration form.
Teacher Leadership Opportunity: The HSG KY State Teacher Fellowship
To Current and Future Teacher Leaders,
At Hope Street Group, our goal is to give educators the opportunity to work together in developing recommendations for policymakers that will be used to improve teaching and learning by leveraging teacher leaders. As we move forward in these collaboration efforts, we are pleased to share with you a special opportunity for current classroom teachers—the Hope Street Group Kentucky State Teacher Fellows program.
Teacher fellows stay in their classrooms full time and work with HSG 10-15 hours each month. They receive a $3,500 stipend for the twelve-month fellowship.
Read more details about the program by clicking on the link above.
local WPC organizing committee
Dear educators for equality and justice,
I am part of the planning team for the 16th annual White Privilege Conference (www.whiteprivilegeconference.com). As another person working to improve schools in Jefferson County for all students, I'd like to urge you and your colleagues, students, and staff to join us in Louisville in March 2015 for this national gathering.
CLICK THE ARTICLE HEADING FOR THE REST OF THE LETTER ABOUT THIS CONFERENCE...
ATTENTION NEA AFFILIATES: New policy brief identifies weaknesses of proposed federal regulations for teacher preparation programs ahead of February 2 public comment deadline
The U.S. Department of Education has drafted proposed new teacher preparation regulations that will affect how teaching programs in states nationwide prepare prospective teachers for K-12 classrooms and even determine state and federal funding well beyond 2020.
The proposal would require states to assess and rate every teacher preparation program every year with four Performance Assessment Levels (exceptional, effective, at-risk, and low-performing), and states would be required to provide technical assistance to "low-performing" programs. Additionally, programs that do not show improvement could lose state approval, state funding, and federal student financial aid.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
The proposals are subject to public comments, which face a February 2, 2015, deadline - making the first few weeks of 2015 critical for teachers, educators, higher education personnel, and others to weigh in and make their voices heard.
A new Think Twice review of the Proposed 2015 Federal Teacher Preparation Regulations identifies several significant shortcomings and flaws in the proposed regulations. Kevin K. Kumashiro, Dean and Professor of the School of Education at the University of San Francisco, reviewed the proposed regulations for the Think Twice think tank review project of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC). The project is funded by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. Dr. Kumashiro is a leading expert on educational policy, school reform, teacher preparation, and educational equity.
The official link to submit comments is https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-28218
SUMMARY AND CORE MESSAGE
Dr. Kumashiro's review studies the evidence and data to provide a critique of the proposed regulations of teacher preparation programs and finds critical deficiencies, ranging from lack of research, to inadequate stakeholder inclusion and feedback, to federal overreach into state-level affairs that could have serious fiscal implications on state-level entities already struggling to balance tight budgets.
The following are central messages from Dr. Kumashiro's review for use in communicating concerns about the proposed regulations:
• The U.S. Department of Education's proposed regulations of teacher training programs are scientifically inadequate and shaped by discredited processes, not by sound research or substantive input from educational experts.
• The regulations will likely burden institutions with costs and labor greater than what the Department of Education estimates, creating a costly unfunded mandate.
• By pegging the quality of teacher preparation programs to K-12 student outcomes such as standardized tests, the regulations unfairly and inaccurately link low student performance to an overall preparation program without accounting for wider environmental factors affecting children, including poverty, family situations, healthcare access and crime.
o The regulations unfairly attach failure or success of a preparation program to whether young inexperienced recently graduated teachers can perform as well as teachers with years of experience.
• The proposed regulations also disincentivize teachers to work in high-needs schools; limit financial aid to students in need; and discourage under-represented groups from becoming teachers.
• Kumashiro suggests the Department "should lead the country in imagining and building a public school system, a teaching profession, and the teacher preparation programs that serve them, in ways that truly improve education and society."
UniServ Director/Political Liaison Vacancy Notice
WHAS11 and the Jefferson County Teachers Association have partnered in 2015 to provide grants to JCPS classrooms. Nominations are now being taken through the end of October 2015, and parents, teachers, professors, and members of the PTA can click this link and fill out the nomination form. Two classes will be awarded $550 grants each month during the school year, through 12/31/15.
Are you currently working full-time in a public service job? You may qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program Loans are eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Loans you received under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, the Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) Program, or any other student loan program are not eligible for PSLF.
If you have FFEL Program or Perkins Loan Program loans, you may consolidate them into a Direct Consolidation Loan to take advantage of PSLF.
Call (888) 364-5287 to qualify your situation now.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness | Federal Student Aid
Under public service loan forgiveness, borrowers may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on their eligible federal student loans.
Happy Halloween from JCTA!
Halloween Lessons, Activities & Resources from the NEA.
The Louisville Chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute will be giving rides to the polls on Election Day - Tuesday, November 4, 2014 - and they need volunteers. If you are able to donate some of your time on Election Day, please contact Cylister Williams at 558-4009, or leave a message at 774-4834. They will start at 7:00 a.m. and work until 6:00 p.m. Their office address is 1801 Northwestern Parkway, rear office. They will be providing lunch for all drivers.
A critical point that advocates for a KTRS funding lawsuit have not acknowledged is the fact that, even in the unlikely event that the plaintiffs of such a lawsuit were to succeed, it would still be up to the legislature to pass legislation to fix the problem. Consider school funding in Ohio. As you can see from this article, the Ohio State Supreme Court has ruled the state’s system of funding K-12 schools unconstitutional four consecutive times, but the Ohio legislature still has not chosen to fix the problem.
Ultimately, KTRS funding is a political/legislative problem that requires a political/legislative solution.
Fighting Back: How One State Legislator Is Dealing with the
Arnold Foundation’s Public Pension “Reform” Efforts
A number of national research organizations are actively engaging in the public pension reform debate in several states. In many cases, their work is being supported, directly or indirectly, by grants from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, with assets of more than a billion dollars supporting an anti-DB agenda. But a key Pennsylvania state legislator is pushing back.
By way of background, examples of such “reform” efforts include the Pew Charitable Trusts’ “Public Sector Retirement Systems Project,” being conducted in partnership with―and supported by a grant of $4.85 million from―the Arnold Foundation; and the Urban Institute’s “Public Pension Project,” a joint effort by Urban’s Program on Retirement Policy and State and Local Finance Initiative. The Urban Institute has also accepted a grant of $484,079 from the Arnold Foundation to “expand access to information about public sector retirement systems.”
The Arnold Foundation’s grants are given “not just [to] study or illuminate problems,” in their own words, but rather to “seek transformational change.” The Arnold Foundation believes that the defined benefit (DB) model is “just a bad system,” and that the “way to create a sound, sustainable and fair retirement savings program is to stop promising a benefit and instead promise an accrual or savings rate,” namely by means of either a defined contribution (DC) or cash balance plan.
Recently, as part of its “Public Pensions Project,” the Urban Institute released a report entitled, “Assessing Pension Benefits Paid under Pennsylvania’s State Employees’ Retirement System,” for which the Pew Charitable Trusts provided financial support. Pew has also been meeting recently with Pennsylvania state legislators, and has provided them with recommendations for pension policy and budget discussions.
The Urban Institute’s Pennsylvania report argues that “employees who join the state payroll at relatively young ages and stay for less than 30 years get little, if anything” from Pennsylvania’s existing state pension plan. The report concludes that pension reforms “could distribute benefits more equitably across the workforce,” and points to either hybrid plans that “combine a relatively small traditional defined benefit plan with a 401(k)-type defined contribution plan,” or cash balance plans as alternative plan designs. These reforms “could put more Pennsylvania state employees on a path to a financially secure retirement” than is currently the case under Pennsylvania’s existing DB model, the Urban Institute asserts.
However, the Urban Institute claims are not going unchallenged. On September 29, 2014, Pennsylvania State Representative Joseph Markosek, Chairman of the Pennsylvania House Appropriations Committee, sent a memo to “House Democratic Members and Interested Parties” concerning the Urban Institute’s pension report. He begins by pointing out that the report “attempts to project the retirement benefits that will be provided to short and long-term employees based on age, when they were hired and how long they work.” Urban then recommends a transition from a defined benefit plan to a hybrid or cash balance plan “in order to increase benefits for employees who separate from state service early,” he notes.
However, Representative Markosek says that the “assumptions applied in the report are not fully vetted and do not provide enough context to draw valid conclusions about the positive or negative aspects of either defined contribution or defined benefit plans.” Furthermore, Mr. Markosek notes that the Urban Institute report was funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, and that both organizations “receive funding from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.”
“[T]herefore, we were not surprised the authors recommended for Pennsylvania to abandon its defined benefit plan,” Markosek states, specifically noting the Arnold Foundation’s grant to the Urban Institute. He also notes that the Arnold Foundation’s involvement in the public pension debate across the country has been questioned in several news articles, and his memo provides links to some of these stories. Included is one from Pensions & Investments that discusses NCTR’s letter to Pew asking them to end their partnership with the Arnold Foundation and return its multi-million dollar grant.
Markosek concludes his memo by stating that given the “ongoing debate about the Arnold Foundation’s public pension agenda, we are very cautious about using information as sources from organizations that accept funding from the foundation.”
Meredith Williams, NCTR’s Executive Director, commended Representative Markosek for his efforts to make policymakers and others aware of the Arnold Foundation’s involvement. “The Arnold’s have woven an impressive funding web,” Williams said. “Through shrewd grants to well-respected organizations, the Arnold Foundation has, in effect, ‘laundered’ its biased money,” he went on. “In doing so, they have created a false image of many independent, expert voices advancing pension reform along the lines that the Arnold Foundation supports, when there is really nothing there but an echo chamber,” Williams explained.
“I am delighted that Chairman Markosek has called them out on this,” Williams continued. “The Urban Institute may insist that its funders do not determine research findings or influence their scholars’ conclusions,” Williams said. “However, accepting funding from an organization with such a clearly stated, aggressively pursued political agenda―the goal of which is to reject the public sector DB model―could suggest, at least to me, while perhaps not an endorsement by Urban, at least a tacit acknowledgement by them of the legitimacy of the Arnold Foundation’s agenda,” he concluded.
“I think that’s a problem when you are claiming to be unbiased in your analyses and recommendations,” Williams underscored.
“Whether it be a public pension plan refusing to cooperate with ‘research’ funded by the Arnolds, as CalSTRS has done, or a State legislator cautioning his colleagues about using information from organizations that accept funding from the Arnold Foundation, we are slowly fighting back,” Williams said. “It may be a slow process,” he observed, “but that is how you win the race: one step at a time!”
? Markosek Memo on Urban Institute Pension Report
NIRS Describes Importance of Defined Benefit Plans in Congressional Testimony
NIRS’ Executive Director Diane Oakley testified at a U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee hearing on September 17, 2014, describing the critical role of defined benefit (DB) pensions in ensuring retirement income security. Focusing on a key issue―predictability for both employees and employers―Oakley told the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures that the disappearance of secure retirement income from DB pensions and the trend since 2000 in declining workplace retirement plan coverage overall meant that Americans “face a retirement savings burden that is heavier than ever.”
Congressman Pat Tiberi (R-OH), the Subcommittee Chair, shared NIRS’ concerns. In his opening statement at the hearing on private employer defined benefit pension plans, Tiberi said that the challenges facing employers, employees, and retirees who rely on both single and multi-employer defined benefit pension plans to help provide retirement security “pose serious threats to American workers and employers.”
Tiberi believes that increasing private sector pension costs have hampered both the job growth and capital investment needed to grow the economy and have threatened retirement security for American workers. “The cost of doing nothing is too high a price to pay,” he said, and his hearing was intended to provide “the opportunity to examine challenges facing, and opportunities to strengthen, the defined benefit pension system.”
For example, one area that Tiberi identified as needing attention deals with employees whose employer is transitioning new employees into a defined contribution plan. Tiberi says that they face the prospect of their employer being forced to freeze the defined benefit plan for all employees to avoid violating the Federal tax code’s non-discrimination rules. The Ohio Republican has introduced legislation (H.R. 5381) designed to protect longer-service participants in DB plans that are closed to new entrants by allowing cross-testing between defined benefit and defined contribution plans.
In her testimony, Oakley focused on four key points:
1. DB Plans Provide Predictable Retirement Security to Middle Income Older Americans. NIRS calculates that rates of poverty among older households without DB pension income were approximately nine times greater than the rates among older households with DB pension income in 2010. In addition, DB pension recipient households were less reliant on means-tested cash and non-cash public assistance. For 2010, in what she called “terms important to governments,” that translates into spending “about $7.9 billion dollars less on public assistance to older households because of DB pension income,” Oakley underscored.
2. Role of DB Plans in Retirement Readiness of Near Retirees and Other Workers. Oakley told Subcommittee members that in 2012, only 52 percent of private sector employees age 25-64 had access to a retirement plan on the job—the lowest rate since 1979. She also pointed out a similar trend on a household level, with the share of working families in which neither the head of household nor the spouse participated in a retirement plan through their job increasing from 42.7 percent in 2001 up to 48.7 percent in 2013. Finally, the NIRS chief stressed that the typical household—even one near retirement—has only a few thousand dollars in retirement account assets, nowhere near the $100,000-plus median account for those who actually have such retirement savings.
3. Income Certainty Helping Older Americans Also Helps Steady the Economy. Oakley explained how DB plans play a stabilizing role in the economy similar to Social Security, providing not only a secure source of income for many retired Americans, but also contributing substantially to the national economy. For example, she testified that NIRS found that, in 2012, over $175 billion was paid out in pension benefits from private sector DB pension plans to 12.7 million retired Americans who were beneficiaries of these plans. She said that every dollar that private sector DB plans paid to a retired American in 2012 generated $1.98 of total output in the national economy. “Pension benefits play an important role in providing a stable, reliable source of income regardless of economic climate—not just for retired Americans, but also for the local economies in which their retirement checks are spent,” Oakley said.
4. Greater Uncertainty Pushes a Transition in Private Employer-Provided Pensions. Finally, Oakley discussed the trend in the private sector away from DB plans, noting that only 10 percent of all private employers offered DB pensions in 2011, covering 18 percent of the workforce. She said that this shift has been fueled in part by accounting and government regulations that created more volatility and less predictable balance sheet representations of financial risk and funding cost. Oakley also noted that some researchers say the switch to DC plans becoming the primary retirement vehicle carries other risk for employers, including counter-cyclical workforce trends that may require increased severance pay, raise benefit costs, and result in less job mobility within an organization. She said that recent studies also find employers with DC plans and other accumulation type plans are now finding that older employees are not retiring, causing “choke points” in talent pipelines that lead to increased turnover among younger workers.
“As always, Diane did a great job,” said Meredith Williams, NCTR’s Executive Director. “Not only did she help rebut Andrew Biggs with the American Enterprise Institute, who told a Senate hearing earlier in the week that there was no retirement crisis, but she also helped to point out some very important consequences for American businesses when their older employees cannot afford to retire,” he said.
“I think that this particular impact of retirement insecurity is often overlooked,” Williams continued. “The retirement crisis is not just about retirees and the potential for future increased governmental costs associated with social services for those in need,” he said. “America’s retirement crisis is imposing a real cost on American businesses and the American economy today,” Williams continued. “I agree with Congressman Tiberi: we cannot afford to continue to do nothing, and strengthening DB plans in the private sector is an important step in the right direction.”
“It sure makes a lot more sense to me than trying to destroy DB plans in the public sector,” Williams concluded.
? Oakley House Testimony
? House Hearing Witness List and Testimony
2014 NCTR Annual Conference Spotlight
Pew, Arnold Foundation Panel Offers Chance for Excitement
“Monday afternoon’s panel on the ‘Evolution of Investment Management’ should be pretty exciting stuff,” according to NCTR’s Executive Director Meredith Williams. The discussion, set for 3:00 PM on October 13th, will be moderated by NCTR President Tom Lee, Executive Director/Chief Investment Officer for the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System.
? Josh McGee, VP of Public Accountability for the Laura and John Arnold Foundation
? Greg Mennis, Director, Pew Public Sector Retirement Systems Project
? Stephen Cummings, CFA, CEO, Hewitt EnnisKnupp, Inc.
? Drew Guff, Managing Director, Siguler Guff
? Gregory W. Smith, Executive Director, Colorado PERA
In June, 2014, the Pew Charitable Trusts and their partner, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, released a new report entitled “State Public Pension Investments Shift Over Past 30 Years.” This report found that State and local public pension funds have significantly changed their asset-investment strategies, shifting what they refer to as “a large percentage of fund assets” away from fixed-income securities toward equities and alternative investments, including hedge funds and private equity funds.
The report states that “Public pension plans are relying more heavily on risky assets to deliver higher long-term returns in order to keep funding costs low, just as they are simultaneously betting on a much larger risk premium than in the past.” The report concludes that these trends “underscore the need for additional public information on plan performance, insight on best practices in fund governance, and attention to the effect of investment fees on plan health.”
“As prudent investors, public pension plans have indeed made adjustments to their portfolios over the last three decades that reflect both the changes in investment opportunities that have occurred as well as the investment strategies for addressing risk that have evolved,” Williams notes. “Such changes have resulted in substantially greater investment returns than had plan portfolios not undergone such an evolution,” he pointed out.
“In addition, this on-going re-examination of investment policies has been conducted in a very deliberate, thoughtful, and transparent manner, with the extensive input of outside experts as well as in-house staff, trustees, and other government officials,” Williams continued. “The results are well-organized and documented investment policies that clearly state investment objectives and strategies designed to protect plan assets and to achieve the best possible investment yields, consistent with the standards of prudence imposed upon our fiduciaries,” he concluded.
“Therefore, I am not sure exactly why Pew and the Arnold Foundation appear to believe that public pension plans’ investment practices are problematic,” Williams said, “so we decided to ask Mr. Mennis as well as Mr. and Mrs. Arnold to come and discuss this and whatever other concerns they have with public pension plans with us.” While the Arnolds declined, they are sending Josh McGee instead, and Williams said that he commended both organizations for their willingness to engage NCTR members.
“I think it will be a fascinating discussion,” Williams said. “I am also delighted that Steve Cummings and Drew Guff have agreed to join us to help explain public pension investing, how it has indeed changed, and why alternative investments and their fee structures look a little different from other types of investing,” he continued. “Of course, there are perhaps no better public pension pros than Tom Lee and Greg Smith to help run interference,” Williams said.
“I think this panel will just be dynamite,” Williams concluded. “It is truly a ‘must-see’ event, so be sure not to miss it!”
It is not too late to register for NCTR’s 92nd Annual Conference, October 11 through the 15, at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis, Indiana. Will you be there? Representatives of more than 50 public pension systems will. Can you afford not to be?
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The NEA's Great Public Schools Network has announced their upcoming webinars and events. Whether you’re a new or veteran teacher or an education support professional, these events will meet your needs for professional development.
Upcoming Webinars and Events
Our contract is a precious commodity that outlines the rights of our members and sets up a grievance process with which we can hold district personnel accountable. If you would like a hard copy of our collective bargaining agreement, please complete the online form by clicking here or call the JCTA at (502) 454-3400.Download Contract
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