OPINION: Kentucky State Education Commissioner raises questions with choice of words

On Friday, February 15th, Terry Holliday’s comments about JCPS’s performance made waves around the state. Holliday compared the current state of affairs within the district to “academic genocide” in a phone interview with the Courier Journal as well as again in the Editorial Board Conference with the Courier Journal. These statements immediately elicited a response from the Jefferson County School Board as well as a few other individual members like David Jones Jr. who said in a Facebook post that while he and his colleagues are, “personally repelled by Commissioner Terry Holliday’s choice of words, it’s time to let go of that and face the bigger issue: What are we doing to turn the tide so all students receive the education they desperately need to be functional adults in an economy that will continue to demand more from them?”

While the board did publicly regard Holliday’s comments as inappropriate; further reprimand is necessary for his reckless comment. Not only was his statement ignorant of the fact that in a far larger district there is going to be more failing schools and students, it also was just inappropriate as a whole. To compare a struggling school system to mass murder is very unfair.

The old theory of love and care as a motivational tool over threats and harsh actions is a concept apparently not held by Holliday. I don’t necessarily understand why Holliday felt that his comments would in any way help or motivate JCPS towards higher academic achievement.

Situations like this do not instill confidence for our school board in me. We can only hope for better decisions to be made by our elected board members.