But the Talk was Not about Charters!?
OK, so, Beshear and Duncan met. They talked about school councils, but not about charters. And based on that conversation, the governor is now confident that Kentucky's lack of charter school legislation will not be a barrier to receiving federal Race to the Top discretionary grant funding.
Really? I'm confused. That chat must have broken the Guiness record for the number of winks and nods in one conversation.
I just don't see how having school councils is equivalent to having charter schools.
Could Duncan possibly bend that far? Is it possible he will accept this argument from Kentucky while the other 49 states will be required to have permissive laws? If so, Governor Beshear and Helen Mountjoy will have pulled off the diplomatic deal of the century. But in the end, the qualifications for receiving federal dollars are whatever Duncan says they are. So be it.
But it also occurs to me, that in making that argument, the governor could be throwing the state open to massive charter schooling. I'm not at all sure that's intended or good for the state - the track record for charters being as suspect as it is.
Will Duncan insist that school councils be given the authority to decide whether or not a given school will go under a charter? Will they truly be allowed to operate outside the control of the local school board? Can they decide to waive state regulations?
If Duncan insists that states remove limits on the number of charters and Kentucky says councils have that kind of latitude, then what is to prevent any/every school in the state from bailing out the minute KDE propounds some regulation local council members find onerous? And if that happens, wouldn't the disequalizing effect virtually guarantee a challenge before the Kentucky Supreme Court at some point?
Did the Kentucky Association of School Councils just get a major boost in political influence?
Please, somebody explain all this to me.
It occurs to me that there could be some things worse than a charter school law. Like no law.
This from Brad Hughes at KSBA:
Site-based councils should address
issue of state's lack of charter schools
After a meeting last week with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Gov. Steve Beshear doesn’t see Kentucky’s lack of charter schools as an impediment to the state being able to go after part of a $4.35 billion pot of funds for innovative education programs.
The discussions at the 2009 Governors Education Symposium in Raleigh, N.C., on June 14 and 15 followed Duncan’s warning the previous week that the 10 states without charter schools – including Kentucky – “put themselves at a competitive disadvantage” for the money from the Obama administration’s Race to the Top education funding that is part of the federal stimulus law. “States that do not have public charter laws or put artificial caps on the growth of charter schools will jeopardize their applications under the Race to the Top Fund,” Duncan told a conference call of education reporters on June 8.
Beshear, who confirmed his plans via Twitter announcement to meet with Duncan, came away from the meeting feeling positive that Kentucky will be able to compete for any Race to the Top funds it seeks, according to a statement released by the governor’s office.
“The Governor and Secretary Duncan did talk. They spoke about Kentucky’s historic reforms and the need for the federal government to financially support our efforts to design a better system of assessment and accountability as prescribed in Senate Bill 1, which could serve as a national model.
“Gov. Beshear did not talk about creating charter schools, but did talk about how SBDM councils allow a lot of the autonomy and local control that charter schools can provide.
“We feel that Kentucky will be very competitive because of our school reform efforts, SBDM councils and the local control that they provide,” the statement read...