Republicans in the Kentucky state legislature have advanced a bill that would end the successful desegregation of the Jefferson County School District, a district that encompasses the majority of the Louisville metropolitan area.
Kentucky’s House of Representatives, with a new GOP majority, passed the bill last month, 59 to 37, with every Democrat and one Republican opposed. It is now pending in the GOP-dominated Senate, which passed similar measures twice in recent years. A spokesman for Gov. Matt Bevin (R) did not respond to a question about whether he supports the bill.
State Rep. Kevin D. Bratcher (R), sponsor of the bill, said it aims to bring common sense to a system that is unfair to children who can’t get into schools around the corner or across the street from where they live.
The local school board, city officials, and local voters approve of the long-standing desegregation program that buses child across the city to more diverse schools so, if they proceeded, Republicans in the legislature will be legislating against the public's will. And for what purpose?
The bill's sponsor says the desegregation program "costs student time and taxpayer money that could be better spent," but spent on what? What could possibly be worth the consequences of canceling a busing program; a program that doesn't even cost a great deal of money in the grand scheme of things. Moreover, it's not as if the legislature isn't also considering budget cuts.
Approximately half of the city's low-income students are white according to the Washington Post and, under the GOP bill, half of the district's students would have to switch schools. That's clearly not a coincidence. That is, in fact, the goal.
The long-term consequences of re-segregating the city's schools could be severe, but State Rep. Kevin Bratcher assures us the measly amount of money saved by canceling the program could be "better spent."
Republicans took total control of the Kentucky state government in the 2016 election, reversing a century-long trend of divided government. They're poised to ruin the state I was born in.
Jefferson County and the Louisville area backed Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a margin of 54 to 40 percent, so you can't exactly say they voted for what's coming.