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JCPS Chief Equity Officer On 'Males Of Color' Academy, Closing Achievement Gap

school classroom
Thomas Galvez/Creative Commons
Thomas Galvez/Creative Commons

Earlier this week, the Jefferson County School Board approved a plan to begin a “Males of Color” academy, slated to begin in the 2018-19 school year. And now, JCPS Chief Equity Officer John Marshall is tasked with taking it from concept to reality.

Marshall joined me to talk about the academy and how it can help African-American boys close the achievement gap.

You can listen to our conversation in the media player above.

On any concerns people may have about separating young boys of color from other classmates:

“I'm concerned with the outcomes and the status and the station at which our males of color are in currently. My concern and the concern of the community is, what are we going to do for our males of color? With that being the epitome of my concern, I definitely want to make sure that these boys are put in a position to understand who they are, how they got here, and the greatness that they have contributed to the world.”

On what can be learned from the Carter G. Woodson Academy in Lexington:

"One of the things that is very impressive about the Woodson academy and the Ron Brown College Preparatory in D.C. -- both of which I have visited -- there is a culture and climate there of acceptance. There is a culture and climate there of pride. And at both of these schools, there is an Afrocentric lens, or a multicultural lens that sometimes is void of our curriculum. And inside that, these students are starting to see and recognize who they are through being taught different things."

Earlier this week, I spoke with Anthony Smith, the executive director of  Cities United, an organization focused on trying to stop violence related to African-American men and boys. He’s also the former director of Louisville Metro government’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods. 

He joined me to talk about the concept of the academy and how it fits into the overall mission of Cities United. You can listen to that conversation here

Bill Burton is the Morning Edition host for LPM. Email Bill at bburton@lpm.org.