It’s no secret. I don’t much care for US News and World Report’s dubious ranking scheme for high schools around the nation. However, that publication did stumble onto a really good Kentucky school when it named the Gatton Academy of Math and Science the number one high school in the nation.
While Gatton’s exact true ranking among other schools in the nation may be open to question, there is no doubt that Gatton offers a great opportunity for students who win the stiff academic competition for entry.
As a competitive school, Gatton is similar to magnet schools in other areas of the state and nation, though this Kentucky school also shares a number of common characteristics with charter schools, as well.
Most importantly, Gatton is a school of choice – a rare bird indeed in Kentucky’s highly school-choice-hostile public school system.
Whether Gatton is really number one, or number 20, does not matter. It is a great school, and Kentucky should have a lot more like it.
That leads to my first important question: why doesn’t Kentucky have a lot more “Gattons” located on every university campus in the state? How come the only “Gatton” is at WKU? Why not at Northern Kentucky University, UK, or U of L?
Another key question: with digital learning now making its way into schools across the commonwealth, why can’t we allow students in schools throughout the state to “attend” classes from Gatton electronically? Why are Gatton classes only presented to a limited number of Kentucky’s students?
That leads to my final questions: what is it going to take to wake this state up about public school educators who stand in the way of more choice options for our students? Why do our legislators continue to cater to the convenience – and job protectionist attitudes – of adults in our schools? Why isn’t our top priority to serve the students with school choices that best fit their needs, whether that is for a top-notch advanced program like Gatton’s, or a truly effective special education program that best fits a special child’s needs?