But it will gets as close to a guarantee as one can expect.
Introducing charter schools won’t guarantee Kentucky will get federal education funding through the Race To The Top initiative when the second round of grants goes out. But failure to do so will all but guarantee the commonwealth will be passed over...
Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday has been trying to make the case for charter schools, without much success. But he has attracted the attention of one who could become a powerful ally: Gov. Steve Beshear.Actually, if you consider how Holliday has approached this topic along with the substantial changes sought by the feds, it seems to me that he has kept the potentially divisive issue on the radar screen while holding a consensus. That's a lot better than average.
Beshear’s not exactly brimming with enthusiasm for charter schools. Not yet anyway. He says he is “open to the topic.” The governor acknowledges that charter schools “could be a tool, if utilized properly, that would benefit some of our school districts.”This would have been a good place to the Sun to describe what "utilized properly" means, but they didn't.
The reason behind Beshear’s measured endorsement might be the same reason the bill giving school districts the authority to create charter schools barely passed in the state Senate and died in the House: KEA opposition.That seems to give all legislators pause.
The Kentucky Education Association opposed the bill over concerns about job security for teachers and the potential impact on public schools.Good. The KEA should be concerned. The two earlier bills filed by Lee and then Montell, would allow uncertified teachers into the classroom. HB 109 is better.
The “impact” would be competition. Competition in the marketplace improves the product, whether in business or education.Uh oh. It sounds like somebody's been drinking the free-market kool-aid.
Perhaps the Sun could explain to us how the unregulated competition, which produced nothing but a bunch of other fake financial instruments and nearly crashed the economy, improved banking; or perhaps, how competition for sub-prime loans saved the housing market; or how unfunded credit default swaps posing as insurance made robbers out of stock brokers, and was therefore, an improvement.
The Sun does not seem to know that the idea behind charter schools is to allow small experimental schools to focus on the neediest students. The idea began with a teacher's union leader that believed teachers could make a difference. The charter school idea was to recruit students who had dropped out and who were likely to drop out. It would seek new ways to motivate the most challenging students and bring whatever lessons they learned back to public schools, to make them better. The Sun seems to think that a competitive circumstance where one school puts another out of business would improve circumstances for children. I just don't see where that helps anyone.
In education, when charter schools have been given carte blanche to offload regulations without much accountability, student achievement has suffered greatly. Financial mischief often abides. A bad charter law - one that simply gives away the store - is not worth the effort. A good one is.
The association said it will not oppose charter schools, provided the legislation addresses its reservations. KEA President Sharron Oxendine said, “I don’t think we’ll ever be in love with the idea of charter schools, but we might be able to tolerate it.”Take the money, but carefully control what kinds of charter schools get a foothold in Kentucky. They don't all improve education, and many of them make school worse.
That’s big of them. They “might be able to tolerate” a program to improve education through competition. And, oh by the way, it could also result in a few hundred million dollars more for education.
Commissioner Holliday says Kentucky needs to improve its application score 30 to 40 points to compete for RTTT funding. “And the only way to get 30 to 40 points is with charter school legislation.”This is surely true in places, and the target of charter schools ought to be those places where Kentucky schools have failed - but not everywhere.
President Obama recognizes the value of charter schools. So do parents of children trapped in underperforming schools. Charters have proven successful in other states, not only in serving their students but in motivating neighboring public schools to improve. Dedicated, high-performing teachers will welcome some healthy competition.
And President Obama would do well to pay attention to the resegregating effects of charters. Frankly, I was surprised when Obama came out in favor of charter schools.
Not every charter school is superior to its public school counterpart, of course, but it is undeniable that charter schools have a solid track record in boosting student achievement.It's plenty deniable and there is much evidence to the contrary. One of the problems with charter schools is that it's such a mixed bag that you never know what you're going to get. Will Kentucky's charter law be dedicated to making a difference in the lives of our toughest students? If so, good. If not, what's the point?
Charter schools are not a panacea. It goes without saying that the charter school portion of the reform plan should draw from the most successful programs in other states while avoiding the pitfalls of less successful efforts. But the measure should be student achievement, not the estimation of the KEA.Agreed. But it sounds like the Sun is mad at teachers, which KSN&C is not.
The Education Department has about $3.4 billion available for the second round of competition. Applications are due June 1. With the regular session over, the only way the General Assembly can pass legislation creating charter schools in time for the deadline is if the governor adds it to the agenda for the special session to approve a budget. He should do so.Agreed.
And lawmakers should put the welfare of students before the unions, and not just to get federal grant money....or appease the press.
Charters hold promise for improving the education of Kentucky students.That depends on the strength of the law, and teachers, principals, opinion writers, legislators and parents....everyone should be concerned with that.