The folks at the Bluegrass Institute used to bristle at the suggestion that BIPPS has an anti-public school agenda. I guess those days are over. In their never-ending effort to grab as much public money as possible and move it into private hands for all kinds of private purposes, the clearly anti-public school Bluegrass Institute is now touting Education Debit Cards.
BIPPS's President Jim Waters clarified BIPPS' overall objective in a blog comment this evening saying,
If educational labor union bosses and other school-choice opponents wonder if the Bluegrass Institute views charter schools as an opportunity to get “the camel’s nose under the tent” in order to open the floodgates to ALL types of school choice, they would be ABSOLUTELY RIGHT! Getting a public charter school law passed is an important step … but it’s only the first step.
"Open[ing] the floodgates to ALL types of school choice" can include many things. And a lax Kentucky charter school law would invite all of the problems that have plagued many charter schools in other states.
Perhaps Mr Waters, a professed creationist, would open a charter school for families who want intelligent design to shape their children's understanding of science. Is that really what Kentucky students need to be successful in the 21st century?
The types of choice typically touted by anti-public school groups include:Vouchers which allow public money to flow to both religious and non-religious private schools, using all or part of the public funding set aside for a child's education.
Education savings accounts allow public funds to be deposited into an account that can cover private school tuition and fees, online learning programs, private tutoring, community college costs, and other higher education expenses.
Tax-credit scholarships allow taxpayers to receive full or partial tax credits when they donate to nonprofits that provide private school scholarships.
Through individual tax credits educational expenses, which can include private school tuition, books, supplies, computers, tutors, and transportation, can be written off to lower one's taxes.
Schooling options that benefit from choice options include:Private schools are educational institutions run independently of the government. A private school’s focus can be religious-based, academic-intensive, and/or specialized for specific groups of students.
Charter schools are independent public schools exempt from many state and local rules and regulations in exchange for increased financial and academic accountability.
Homeschooling is an alternative form of education for children outside of public or private schools, typically within their own homes.
Online learning allows students to work with their curriculum and teachers over the internet—in combination with, or in place of, traditional classroom learning.
This from at the Bluegrass Institute:
Another school choice option: education debit cardsThe most common form of school choice discussed are charter schools. There are other forms of school choice available though, sadly, none of them are legal within Kentucky’s borders. The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice just published a research piece on Arizona’s use of Education Savings Accounts.
From the executive summary:
With Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, Arizona has created a model that should be every state policymaker’s goal when considering how to improve education: funding students instead of physical school buildings and allowing that funding to follow children to any education provider of choice. Such control over education funding ensures parents have access to options that meet their children’s unique learning needs and ultimately can move beyond the worthwhile goal of school choice to choice among education service providers, courses, teachers, and methods.I don’t know about you but that sounds like a heavy dose of common sense to me.
You can download the report here. You may also want to forward this on to your state representative.
It is time for Kentucky to legalize school choice.