Charter school legislation hangs in the total amount in the waning days of the 2017 session of Kentucky’s General Assembly. At the center of the ongoing controversy is HB520 – passed on the home floor after three hours of intense discussion and yet to be noticed in a Senate committee. We trust strong assertions on both sides of the conversation: Charters can be considered a tool to increase pupil achievement and start to close accomplishment gaps. True. According to Stanford University’s CREDO research, charter results differ by student background sharply, with the worst loss for white students and the best benefits for Hispanic and black students in poverty.
True. There are other strategies, we may use to increase pupil accomplishment and close gaps, instead of charters. True. With current funding, charters will erode financing for existing open public schools and bargain the progress that may be made for all students. True. If we add charters to our system, additional resources will be essential to support additional set costs.
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True. Charters can create a dual system, that leaves new breaks for kids to fall through. True. High-performing charters may bring effective knowledge into technology and Kentucky that can spillover to other schools and districts. We buy into the dialog’s most significant assertions: This is a significant change to Kentucky’s public education structure. If we understand this wrong, it might set us back again, and worse, our children shall lose hard-won improvement.
If we get this right, it could help us thin achievement gaps, and better, we may have kids who are given a fresh sense of hope that education is their path to a larger life. Our assertion: While charters will ever only influence a handful of Kentucky’s 650,000 students, there are significant opportunity energy and costs allocated to this reform measure, that may be allocated to other – possibly in the same way successful reform procedures. We MUST understand this right.
Our students are depending on us. I hope this is something to which we can all recognize – now, and on whatever route we choose. Our commitment: No matter the years ahead hold for education policy in Kentucky, the Prichard Committee will continue to track our state’s improvement, as we have for almost four decades. We will continue to study, inform, and engage policymakers and citizens alike.
The urgency of this moment is never to let a quarter century of progress be pushed to the wayside – but to mobilize, galvanize, energize – for our next huge leap. Together, from a place of common surface for every person and group who cares about the continuing future of our kids and our state’s wealth, we must make that leap. Accountability and oversight — Charter school accountability is an essential component of the overall quality of the public education system.
The Prichard Committee supports monitoring and oversight by the Kentucky Board of Education with default renewal/closure requirements that are tied to student accomplishment and charter contract requirements with clear performance objectives for raising achievement and closing accomplishment gaps. Enrollment — Charter universities shouldn’t discriminate in the enrollment of students in virtually any fashion. Funding — Funding for charter schools shouldn’t diminish the resources currently available to school districts to teach and increase achievement for many students.
Federal funding is going to be available to support public charters in Kentucky and, historically, states have been asked to put together their strategy for using charters to increase college-student achievement (USDOE Public Charter Program). The Prichard Committee supports the manifestation of an explicit, vibrant goal in the legislation that seeks to increase pupil outcomes, especially for students who behind are currently remaining, and corresponding investment of open public resources to attain these daring goals.