Gay Adelmann – taking the fight for public ed to Frankfort

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“My Senator, despite all the warnings that we gave her about the true agenda of this ‘education reform movement,’ was sinister – she didn’t listen,” said Gay Adelmann, candidate for Louisville’s Senate District 36. “She still voted for the charter school bill anyway, and that’s what’s opened up this Pandora’s box with the state takeover.”

Adelmann is talking about state Senator Julie Raque Adams, whom Adelmann hopes to challenge in the fall.

According to Gay Adelmann, her legislators wanted charter schools instead of “authentic” education reform. “That’s why I decided to run against my senator.”

“Despite all the warnings we gave her about the true agenda of this 'reform movement,' my senator didn’t listen. She voted for charter schools anyway. That’s why I decided to run.” – Gay Adelmann, candidate for state Senate.Click To Tweet

The charter school bill to which Adelmann alludes was passed in 2017 and legalized state financing for charter schools in Kentucky. Unlike public schools that are run by the district, charters can be managed independently.

Gay Adelmann at an ed rally
Gay Adelmann at an education rally that she helped plan and lead.

And the “education reform movement”—AKA the state takeover of Jefferson County Public Schools—is happening now. On April 30th, Interim Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis sent a letter to Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Marty Pollio detailing that a JCPS takeover was in process, pending a Kentucky Board of Education vote.

And earlier that month, applications for charter schools opened for the 2019-2020 school year.

Charters don’t sit well with Adelmann, owner of the marketing firm LBI Buzz and co-founder of the organization “Save Our Schools Kentucky” (SOSKY). She believes charter schools take money intended for the public-school system. On the SOSKY website, their statement on charter schools reads:

 “The SOSKY coalition opposes charter schools because they are a threat to public education in Kentucky. Where charter schools are allowed, public schools suffer, taxpayers are swindled, and students are worse off. And we have 25 years of evidence to prove it.”

SOSKY also supports a tool to notify Kentuckians which legislators voted for charter schools in 2017. “We (SOSKY) helped recruit teachers all over the state to run (for office) in any of the spots that people had voted for the charter school bill,” said Adelmann.

Born and raised in Texas, Gay attended public school, including earning her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington. She and her husband first moved to Kentucky in 2005, and they have two sons, Perry and Peyton.

Although motivated by charter school supporters like Senator Julie Raque Adams to run for office, Adelmann does have a democratic primary against Sheri Donahue, whom Adelmann believes doesn’t have as substantial a community involvement record as she does.

Gay Adelmann at JCPS Board of Education
Gay Adelmann addressing the JCPS Board of Education.

Adelman is a frequent speaker at Jefferson County School Board meetings and spent many days this past legislative session in Frankfort, organizing rallies, speaking to legislators, and keeping an education presence in the halls throughout the session.

Adelmann has championed for other issues like pensions, the environment, women’s rights, and racial justice, which she says all have a lot of intersectionality. But she notes, “My main reason for running is because public education is so fundamental to well-functioning society and preservation of our democracy, and to giving everybody the same opportunity for that leg up, should they choose.”

You can visit Adelmann’s web site here and her Facebook page here.

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Molly Crain
A native Fleming Countian, Molly Crain is a writer and media consultant with experience in Kentucky grassroots advocacy and political campaigns. Concerned with how technology and politics has impacted the journalism industry, in 2016 she obtained an M.A. from Georgetown University in Communication, Culture, and Technology. Soon after, the Bluegrass state beckoned her home, where she hopes to continue to make an impact. In her free time you may find her jogging around Louisville or spending time in Lexington at Bluegrass Stockyards with her family.