June 18, 2021

Following the recent prefiling of bills related to the discussion of race, gender, and religion in classrooms and the discussion of Critical Race Theory on Kentucky Tonight, we have issued the following statement:

The Prichard Committee is deeply committed to ensuring equity in Kentucky schools and that our students enjoy an inclusive, respectful experience that ensures their success. Continuing to improve our instructional environment so that it reflects the complexities of current events and their historical context is critical and should include discussions of race and racial justice.

The Committee opposes outright limits on discussions regarding race, sex, gender, or religion in public school and/or university curricula.  Such limitations may in fact reduce the quality of education provided by our educational institutions and received by our students. Moreover, they send the wrong message about Kentucky’s progress in advancing racial equity and attracting and retaining a diverse workforce.

Instead, Kentucky should engage in a solutions-focused process and discussion to improve culturally relevant and inclusive education practices. Such a process is a systemic way to inform the development and revisions of our state standards and model curriculum framework which empowers students with the abilities and capacities in KRS 158.645 and KRS 158.6451 needed to become informed citizens.

As our country celebrates freedom from slavery this weekend on Juneteenth National Independence Day, we must recognize that ignoring our painful past will certainly ensure that we repeat it somehow. To deliver on the promise of full equality for all Americans, we must be willing to have honest conversations which seek to heal the traumas of our shared past and build the more perfect union – in our schools, in our communities, our state, and our nation – to which our democracy aspires.


Jessica Fletcher joined the staff of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence in January 2020. She comes to Prichard with more than 17 years experience working in communications, journalism and education advocacy. She has covered local school boards as a journalist in London, Ky. and Winchester, Ky., and communicated about the importance of education to Kentucky's workforce and economy as the Communications Director at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. She also served as the Executive Director of Communications at the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and as the Chief Communications Officer for the Kentucky Department of Education. A lifelong Kentuckian, she is a graduate of Rockcastle County High School and Eastern Kentucky University.

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