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Over the vociferous opposition of parents and educators, the Kentucky state senate voted to authorize charters in the state, thus opening it up to exploitation by entrepreneurs, out-of-state corporations, and hucksters.
The threat to public schools could not be clearer, as the state senate voted 23-15 to betray their constituents and go with the big money backing private management of charter schools that have no track record of improving student achievement.
The Republican governor Matt Bevin is a Republican free-markets ideologue, so he will of course sign the legislation.
Parents will have to continue the fight to preserve their communities and public schools from the privatization vultures.
The new charters will be required to have certified teachers, which the so-called reformers said was an intolerable burden that would prevent innovation, like having untrained teachers in the classroom. The reformers’ idea of innovation sounds amazingly like the schools of the 19th century–unregulated schools with no certified teachers.
But reformers got what they wanted: charters and money. They are looking out for adult interests, not for families, kids or communities.
The bill allows for school boards and only the mayors of Louisville and Lexington to approve charter schools in those districts or cities. Earlier in the day, the Senate Education Committee added language saying charter school teachers must be a qualified teacher and that students will not be able to go to a charter school across county lines unless a regional charter is created.
The changes also require mayors to provide written notice saying they want to be an authorizer of charters and clarified that only the mayor of Louisville would be able to authorize charter schools in Jefferson County, as opposed to mayors from the county’s smaller cities.
After passing the full Senate amid criticism from Democrats on how charter schools would be funded, Republican senators fought back and filed an amendment to an unrelated House budget bill — House Bill 471 — which seeks to transfer federal funds and state money to cover the costs of students who move to charter schools.
Sen. Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, was furious at the move, saying “this is one of the worst things I have seen happen to public education in my lifetime.”