The Courier-Journal ran an article a few days ago titled, “Kentucky pushes for school innovation using charter-style freedom.” This involves bait-and-switc legislation from the 2012 session of the Kentucky General Assembly that attempts to fool Kentuckians into thinking we are about to get something just as good as real charter schools.
The so-called Districts of Innovation bill only allows districts and schools to apply for waivers from some state laws and regulations. It’s true that charter schools get such authority, but parents and students – even if they wind up in a District of Innovation – can only dream about such real charter school benefits as school choice, principal authority to find and control his or her own staff, removal of teachers who don’t measure up, and a host of other things.
Before a school gets impacted by the District of Innovation bill, an incredibly high 70 percent of its teachers have to vote for it. That isn’t likely to happen in the schools that really need reform. And, that is where the dream of charter schools will be most severely felt – in schools where it is most severely needed.
You can learn more from comments from WKU professor Gary Houchens and me in the Courier article.