READ THIS FOR A PRIMER :—>>>
Like many things that happen nationally, they seem to happen first in Kentucky. Lets’ just say, Matt Bevin was someone Trump looked up to and aspired to be like, long before Putin came along. Remind me to put the pictures of each of them holding bibles as photo opps next to each other once I have a chance. As Attica Scott, Candidate for US House of Representatives, once said to me, “I always tell people, Bevin came first.”
In the mean time, here are some national headlines we infamously made, which relate to candidate and JCPS high-paid bureaucrat, Mr. Jonathan Lowe. The article reads:
Democrats celebrated an early win in the ruby-red state of Kentucky last week when Attorney General Andy Beshear narrowly beat incumbent Governor Matt Bevin in a tight gubernatorial race. But instead of delivering his concession speech, Bevin took a page out of President Donald Trump’s political playbook: He questioned the integrity of the election itself.FORTUNE.COM, Nov. 12, 2019,
We all knew who Bevin was and why he was here, but some people chose to look the other way. Maybe it was because their job depended upon it, or maybe it was because they wanted to have a soft landing when the dust settled. You see, I think by the time Bevin was elected Governor in 2015, their plan had already been in the works since 2003. Most of the people in decision-making roles in JCPS were either brought in by people friendly with privatizers, were looking for their own profit angle, or assumed charters were inevitable so they might as well go along to get along. When I first started sounding the alarm about charters in 2015, it was because Bevin had announced his intentions during his campaign for governor, and his words and actions indicated he was coming for my son’s school, among others.
Shawnee is a high school in Louisville’s West End, which was a magnificent structure built in 1927 with granite and brass staircases, wide hallways and the largest campus in the state of Kentucky, but it had been badly neglected. The third floor had been condemned and it became known as a “sweeper school” where students that don’t do well in other schools are sent in larger numbers so that they don’t drag down the “good schools”. It’s just one of many ways the district administrators have found they can game the system and keep the state off the backs just long enough for them to create turmoil and upheaval on marginalized families by changing something about the school drastically enough that it gets a “reset” on the clock. Remember this point, because it’s going to be important later.
After my son’s first year at Shawnee, which he was attracted to because of it’s aviation and aerospace magnets, the district administrators, led by superintendent Dr. Donna Hargens, needed some sacrificial lambs so they could go back to the state “meanies” and say, “Don’t takeover Shawnee, pretty please? We promise to do better. We are going to push out the most amazing principal, we are going to turn leadership decisions over to the local and corrupt University of Louisville, and we’re going to extend the school day and year without talking to anyone who would be impacted whether or not that would help with their truancy problem (spoiler: it won’t). And then the white supremacists in charge would come back and say, “good news, they decided to let you live, but you’re going to have to give up some fingers and toes.” And everyone would leave the meeting happy. Especially the fat cat bureaucrats who get paid from multiple, conflicting sources, such as the JCTA President, Brent McKim who receives a paycheck from the district as well as from his union. Johnathan Lowe is another overpaid bureaucrat, who makes $134,000 a year setting up meetings for outsiders, predators and grifters with nefarious agendas. And, as you can see by the results of this open records request that I did after I learned that Hal Heiner had been paying a particular interest in Shawnee, and my protective mama bear instincts kicked in. The number of mistakes this former LRC staffer, whose hiring was controversial after it was reported that David Jones, Jr., our “liberal” vulture capitalist school board chair violated Board policy by influencing personnel matters of anyone other than the Superintendent and Board attorney alone should get anyone fired, but especially someone raking in that much taxpayer dough.
I wrote this blog piece summarizing just one example of several times when I watched as Mr. Lowe had an opportunity to fight back against outsiders, predators and grifters, but he didn’t. It was his job to arrange this visit, you say. Yes, it was, but it’s still his job, so what’s changed? Or did you mean it was his job because that’s what Junior had in mind when he abused his power and privilege to self-deal themselves into the equation by recruiting Lowe for the position? Which came first?
Another time, after I organized a rally to encourage “We are not in crisis” Superintendent Hargens to stop living in denial and step down from her position, he verbally and publicly berated me in Frankfort during a committee meeting. This was after Jones pushed through her contract renewal in a shady way (I cover this in more detail on the Jones page) to wit the 15th District PTA and the principal at Maupin Elementary (another school that had been targeted by Hal Heiner as a nice charter school prospect) conspired to have me removed from the district’s PTA board. I can document all of this, and you can usually find where I blogged about these things when they were happening on the Dear JCPS website. Maupin parents contacted me and asked for my help, so there is historical documentation of the organizing we did here, as well. But the biggest thing I think you should know is that Mr. Lowe organized all of the dog and pony shows the district put together during a District of Innovation campaign and some teachers who were very well versed in Waldorf style teaching put together the most amazing proposal, so of course they were one of the winners. Maupin Elementary was chosen to be the selected location.
Presenters for the program even warned that “they had to go backwards to go forward” and at the end of two years they were “going to want to shut it down, but don’t!” Guess what happened? In two years, they shut it down. During my time working with parents at Maupin, I uncovered some interesting things, including PTA money that had gone missing, and fraud that had been committed when Dr. Hargens informed the Kentucky Department of Education that they would be discontinuing the Waldorf program BEFORE the SBDM held a formal vote on the matter. Remember that part I said to remember because it was important? It turns out Maupin didn’t experience the level of demographic shift and transformation they had hoped for when they did all those things, so the clock they were counting on getting a 3-year reset didn’t get reset. And Hal Heiner came sniffing around there as a result, as well.
Mr. Lowe played an integral role in both of these fiascos. When the community called for Dr. Hargens to step down, which 5 of 7 board members had expressed support for, he accused me of “trying to get his boss fired.” I guess I should not have been surprised by any of this since from the very beginning, after he finally agreed to meet a concerned parent for coffee, he told me “it is detrimental to my career to be seen with you.”
I’m sure he’s a nice guy. Well-meaning, in fact. Many will condemn me for casting such a good and caring man in such light. Trust me, I don’t want to do this any more than you want to be reading about it. I wouldn’t have even felt the need to do so at all if he hadn’t stepped up to run for public office during such a critical time in our city, state and country’s future. We can’t afford to let any more seats go to people who don’t stand fierce against those who don’t have the best intentions for our students and are good stewards of our tax dollars. Mr. Lowe has not demonstrated he is either, despite repeated opportunities to rise to the occasion in such a critical district leadership role. His primary challenger, Sarah Stalker, has.