Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Jean Rosenberg, April 21, 2015

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:01 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: Okay, I'm Jean Rosenberg, I'm--we're sitting in the Prichard Committee conference room and we're going to have a conversation about some history that, uh--of the Prichard Committee that I was a part of.

Segment Synopsis: Jean Rosenberg talks about her early life and education. She says she was adopted by a family of Quakers in Philadelphia. She talks about joining the Abington Meeting of Friends. She talks about her early career as a paralegal for the civil rights division of the Department of Justice.

Keywords: Abington Friends Meeting; Appalachia; Office of Economic Opportunity; School desegregation

Subjects: Civil rights.; Quakers.

00:09:28 - Women on the Prichard Committee

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Partial Transcript: I've heard other people say that also, uh, Pam and Bob Sexton were working together, uh, to--strategically to invite strong women.

Segment Synopsis: Rosenberg talks about using Lamaze techniques for the birth of her own child and becoming a credentialed instructor. She speculates her involvement in Lamaze instruction in Appalachia prompted her recruitment to the Prichard Committee. She talks about her Quaker faith as a basis for her activism and her ability to promote consensus decision making.

Keywords: Bud Reynolds; Carol Stumbo; Cindy Heine; Consensus; Delores Smith; Eastern Star; Family Resource Centers; Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA); Lamaze classes; Pacifism; Town forums; Youth Service Centers

Subjects: Childbirth; Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

00:20:39 - Joining the committee

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Partial Transcript: Wha--do you recall your first, uh, experiences with meeting with the Prichard Committee? And it must have been s--with your background in consensus building, uh, that you meshed pretty well with them...

Segment Synopsis: Rosenberg describes meetings of the Prichard Committee which were often filled with smoke due to smokers. She says she formed a "non-smokers" group within the committee. She discusses the importance of early childhood education.

Keywords: Early childhood education; Ed Prichard; Lois Weinberg; Shakertown

Subjects: Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

00:25:08 - The challenges of education reform

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Partial Transcript: I wonder ho--if you can trace how you became aware of how systemic the problems were with education in Floyd County?

Segment Synopsis: Rosenberg talks about meeting the challenges of public education reform in her home county of Floyd.

Keywords: Floyd County Education Council; Joyce Eberle; Teacher conferences

Subjects: Education.; Floyd County (Ky.)

00:30:38 - Town forums

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Partial Transcript: Well, let's talk about the town forums--

Segment Synopsis: Rosenberg talks about the work of organizing the education town forum in Floyd County. She expresses frustration over the superintendent who was satisfied to be in last place. She talks about how her children were targeted for retaliation by school administrators because of her own activism.

Keywords: Barbara Gullet; Classroom discipline; Individual learning plan; Learning disabilities

Subjects: Floyd County (Ky.); Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

00:40:52 - State versus local school boards

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Partial Transcript: How did you feel about, uh, state government--like the state school board's approach versus the local school board's approach?

Segment Synopsis: Rosenberg compares the sympathetic response by the state school board to the less interested response of the local school board. She describes the conditions of local school board meetings which made parental participation difficult. She says the local school board was dominated by political considerations.

Keywords: Executive sessions; Political patronage; Principals; School administration; School board; Superintendents

Subjects: Education.; Politics and government; Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

00:46:13 - Participants in the town forums

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Partial Transcript: So there was a sense of being--of safety in numbers and also safety because the eyes of the state were--

Segment Synopsis: Rosenberg talks about the tension between the local Floyd County community and Frankfort over educational reform issues. She says town forums held across the state helped to address these issues. She continues to discuss the politically charged environment of local public school administration.

Keywords: Bob Sexton; Cindy Heine; Curriculum; School boards; Town forums

Subjects: Education.; Floyd County (Ky.); Politics and government; Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

00:54:59 - Observations of an activist parent

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Partial Transcript: What were some of the--as far as your experiences as a parent, uh, you mentioned building--establishing the gifted and talented education program. What were--what else did you witness with your children going through the public schools...

Segment Synopsis: Rosenberg talks about her experience trying to obtain cooperation from public school teachers for her daughter with a learning disability. She talks about the informal Floyd County education forum who were activists in public education reform. She describes a bridge building education project and a young authors program.

Keywords: Floyd County education forum; Individual learning plans; Learning disabilities; Special education; Vocational education

Subjects: Education; Floyd County (Ky.); Special education.

01:02:55 - Floyd County school board evolves

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Partial Transcript: So, did the school board, did they, did they just gradually become more responsive to your efforts?

Segment Synopsis: Rosenberg talks about how persistence by parents eventually obtained a favorable response from the local school administration. She attributes much of the success of education reform to KERA. She describes more open relationships between parents, teachers and school administrators. She talks about unfunded professional development for teachers as a continuing challenge.

Keywords: Family Resource Centers; Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA); Town forum; Youth Service Centers

Subjects: Education.; Floyd County (Ky.)