Kentucky is one of only eight states that have not passed a charter law. That means that the state has been unwilling to turn public money over to private entrepreneurs, who will operate schools with little or no oversight.
The privatizers can’t tolerate the possibility any state refuses their wares or their opportunity to operate in the dark with public dollars.
So now the full-court press is on. The National Alliance for Public (sic) Charter Schools reports: “A bill was introduced and passed the state Senate last session, but it died in the House. Republican Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul will join the National Alliance, Democrats for Education Reform, and the Black Alliance for Educational Options, for the kick-off event, which will feature a roundtable discussion with education, business, and faith community leaders in Louisville. Kentucky is one of only eight remaining states without a charter school law and is our top priority state for 2014.”
McConnell and Paul are singing the praises of charters. The far-right Black Alliance for Education Options–handsomely funded by the Walton Foundation–has descended on Kentucky to claim that public education must be demolished to “save” minority children. The Wall Street hedge fund managers’ group Democrats for Education Reform is on the case, hoping to turn Kentucky away from public schools. And the National Alliance for Public (sic) Charter Schools is leading the charge against community-based public schools.
Before Kentucky buys the snake oil, its policymakers should review the state’s NAEP performance and compare it to its neighbor, charter-happy Tennessee. Kentucky educators could give lessons to Tennessee about the importance of strong community schools.
On the NAEP, Kentucky consistently outperforms Tennessee.
Stay strong, Kentucky. Snake oil cures nothing. You don’t need a dual school system of publicly-funded schools. The one you have is good and getting better.