Another attempt to promote charter schools in Kentucky
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- On Thursday a new group, the Kentucky Charter Schools Association, launched a new campaign on an old fight.
Kentucky's legislature has rejected charter schools three times. Equally vocal as those who support the measure are key voices on the other side.
Rep. Brad Montell, a Republican from District 58, said Thursday, "There are some really good charter schools out there and in some cases they are nothing short of amazing."
U.S. Senator Rand Paul said, "I'm for charter schools, I'm for choice. It's your money, you should be able to take it where you want and I think competition will make us better."
Nina Rees of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools says, "What's unique and special now in Kentucky is you can ride on the experiences we've had in other states and build a law."
But JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens maintains, "I think that we in Jefferson County, we want to be the choice. We believe we can provide choices for our parents." Hargens points to the district's magnet schools as educational options and being named a district of innovation, which is a charter-like distinction.
She declined to sit on the panel on charter schools, saying, "We want a JCPS school to be the choice."
Charter schools steer millions of dollars away from traditional schools. Democratic lawmakers have sided with superintendents and teachers' unions across the state, last year blocking the bill from even getting a hearing in the house.
A charter school is a public school that essentially runs privately. Teachers have choices to change the curriculum, the length of the school day, and the length of the school year. But they must deliver higher test results, and that's been a problem.
Brent McKim of the Jefferson County Teachers Association says, "We've outpaced the surrounding states that do have charter schools, so it would be a step back to go to what they have that is not working as well as the educational reforms that we have."
The group promoting charters schools has formed six months before the latest bill will even be introduced, hoping to gain enough public support to make the fourth time the charm.
There are more than six thousand public charter schools nationwide. Kentucky is one of only eight states in the nation without charter school legislation.
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