I was wondering if the Kentucky Board of Education might be engaged in conversations that I was unaware of, so I asked KDE spokesperson Lisa Gross if she could recall the word "charter" even being mentioned in any discussions. She couldn't.
I do not recall that charters have ever come up in a discussion by the KBE.She adds that,
Kentucky currently has no legislation in place that would allow for charter schools.That's true, but it leaves one with the unmistakable feeling that there is a complete absence of leadership on this issue. That might be OK in a typical year, but the loss of federal funding to help Kentucky children is now at stake.
Shouldn't there at least be some preliminary discussions about how and under what circumstances charters might be created - and importantly - controlled? Shouldn't serious consideration be given to legislation that might pass constitutional scrutiny?
If Kentucky decides that charters are unconstitutional or otherwise inappropriate, it ought to be after a full debate. Doesn't Governor Steve Beshear owe that much consideration to the Democratic party standard bearer, President Barack Obama?
Ignoring the feds while hoping that Obama's push for charters will simply go away is foolish.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan is asking for movement on the issue but the Board of Education is not even discussing it.
Despite the offer of federal funds, the governor did not include charters in his call for this June's special session, which is all about money.
Unless I've missed it, there are no discussions of the issue from the Prichard Committee, the Kentucky School Boards Association, the Kentucky Education Association or any of the alphabet education groups.
So the House and Senate Education committees ought to put this on their agendas at the earliest opportunity. It is actually the legislature's responsibility after all.
This from Politics K-12:
Education Secretary Arne Duncan is keeping up his high-profile pressure campaign on states he deems unfriendly to charter schools.
This afternoon, in a conference call with education reporters (and some charter school groups), he explained once again that states that don't allow charters to open and those that impose caps on the number of schools will be at a "competitive disadvantage" when he starts to dole out $4.35 billion in Race to the Top discretionary grant dollars later this year.
He wasn't willing, however, to be terribly specific about how much weight he'll assign to states' charter friendliness. Only that "we’re going to have an absolutely simple, and transparent application process," with "a clear series of questions and clear points assigned."
The only thing that seems clear right now is that Kentucky won't be ready to compete.