Members of Paducah’s NAACP chapter and the Community Clergy Fellowship held a press conference this week to voice their discontent with Paducah Public School’s hiring procedures.
Clergy President and NAACP member Alfred Anderson said although Paducah Schools have the highest percentage of minority staff in the state, it’s disproportionate to the number of minority students in the system.
Prichard Committee Associate Executive Director Cory Curl says that less than 5% of Kentucky teachers are minorities compared to 21% minority students.
Anderson said the problem will continue until African Americans are included in the decision-making process. “We’ve made some gains in the teacher rank and some of the coaches and all this kind of stuff, but we also need some representatives in the central office at the cabinet level where the decisions are made for our students," Anderson said.
Anderson said he attends board meetings and serves as an advocate for children in the school system. He says he called the conference after the school system hired an applicant from Hickman County without offering a local African American applicant an interview.
Paducah School System Superintendent Donald Shively defended the district’s decision in a statement saying that the hiring committee followed district policies in the vetting process and that the chosen applicant had “more than five years of outstanding experience.”
Anderson also said there are no African Americans in high-level administrative roles within the school system. He says problem will continue until they are included in the decision-making process. However, Shively's statement noted four minority principals and assistant principals in the district.
Anderson says the African American applicant had all the qualifications needed for the position. He also says he hopes the young lady isn't retaliated against.