Groups Stand Together In Support of Robust Charter-School Policy
(FRANKFORT, Ky) – The Family Foundation of Kentucky and Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions have joined forces in calling for state lawmakers to seize the opportunity to pass the nation’s most robust charter-school law.
“Educational innovation is only possible if the conditions allow for it,” said Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst for The Family Foundation of Kentucky. “If a charter law does not allow for innovation, then there is likely to be no innovation.”
Charter schools are innovative public schools in which teachers and administrators are free of many of the regulations that tie the hands of capable educators in regular public schools and where a higher level of accomplishment is promised in exchange for the freedom to innovate.
A winning charter-school policy for Kentucky allows:
- Authorizers beyond local school districts
For example, Rep. Phil Moffett’s House Bill 103 lets local school districts, mayors of Louisville and Lexington, public or private universities with accredited education colleges and Council on Postsecondary Education authorize the creation of charter schools. Only this freedom will ensure that these innovative schools are not hampered in their mission to provide families a quality education alternative.
- An unbiased appeal opportunity before the Kentucky Board of Education
Charter-school applicants whose applications are denied by the aforementioned authorizers must have the possibility of another path by appeal to the state education board.
- A robust process for alternative teacher certification.
Teacher certification requirements should allow for teachers to be trained outside the standard processes now available almost exclusively through teachers’ colleges. This would allow prospective teachers to gain exposure and expertise in content knowledge and innovative teaching methodologies unavailable in many existing teacher certification programs. One of the benefits of charters is their ability to offer innovative alternatives to establishment schools, a benefit that is made difficult to gain if educators are trained in the antiquated progressivist practices common in teachers’ colleges.
- Charter schools in all public-school districts in Kentucky
Considering that 42 percent of Kentucky’s population lives in rural areas, we must ensure everyone – from poor rural Kentuckians to minority students in our commonwealth’s urban, low-income neighborhoods – the same equitable access to an excellent public education.
“A failure to allow for these freedoms could hamstring charters and result in schools no different than the failing schools to which they are intended as an alternative,” Cothran said. “Lawmakers should make sure they pass legislation that does not set up charters for failure, failure the educational establishment will use to prevent further change.”
Both organizations pledged to stand together and work toward bringing the hope and opportunity of a great education to the children and families of the commonwealth.
For comment and more information, contact Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst for The Family Foundation of Kentucky @ 859.329.1919 or Bluegrass Institute president Jim Waters @ 270.320.4376.