Opponents of charter schools argue that charters aren’t a good deal for at-risk students and those with disabilities or behavioral problems.
The KEA, in their stated position on charter schools, claims that “most [charter schools] are not required to provide all the services that public schools provide, including (in some states) services to students with disabilities, lunch, libraries, athletics, and transportation.”
Although what the KEA says is true of many states, it would not be true with charter-school legislation proposed during the last legislative session of the Kentucky General Assembly:
- Section 3(11) states that, “A charter school shall not discriminate against any student … on the basis of … disability.”
- Section 3(15) also requires charter schools to provide adequate services and create a specialized program to address the needs of each individual student who has a disability.
- Section 3(16)(b) also allows charter schools to qualify for funding to provide transportation to students.
- Section 5(2)(n) also states that a charter school must provide details of its food services, implying it must offer such services
It is true that this bill explicitly states that charter schools are not required to provide other services mentioned to students, such as athletics and libraries. However, this does not mean that a charter school is forbidden from providing such services. In fact, the law explicitly states that if a charter school wishes to provide those things for students, then they are free to do so.
Most parents simply want what’s best for their kid, and for many children that includes access to libraries and athletic programs.
Charter schools depend on parents voluntarily choosing to send their kid to that school. So if the parents demand those services, then the charter school has to provide them because parents would not send their kids to school if they didn’t.
Kentucky has been implementing the policies favored by the KEA for the past 20 years, yet has seen little improvement in its academic performance.
It’s time to try something new — something that’s proven to work.
Kentucky children deserve to have a quality education, and charter schools are one way of providing that.