In a historic vote, the Kentucky Senate approved legislation on January 7, 2011 to create charter schools in Kentucky.
This historic event marks the first time charter school legislation has met the approval of either chamber of the Kentucky Legislature. It is an important step forward in an effort long supported by the Bluegrass Institute to provide the commonwealth’s students and parents more educational options and control.
The bill, Senate Bill 3, will allow local school boards, at that local board’s option, to create these innovative public schools in Kentucky. It opens new doors for the state to develop these education crucibles where real research on educational methods can take place outside of the ‘one size must fit all’ restrictions and red tape that stifles the regular public school system.
Also included in the bill as another parental choice enhancement, a separate provision allows parents to send their child to their neighborhood school. This basic right, a long-standing tradition in most parts of the country and in most areas of Kentucky, has been totally denied by the dictatorial school busing plan in Jefferson County Public Schools. There, bureaucrats make the final decision about where Jefferson County children attend school, sometimes resulting in five-year olds being bused more than 20 miles away from their homes. That expensive and dictatorial plan has led to the disintegration of local school communities as many modest income parents in Louisville cannot possibly afford to frequently visit their child’s distant school.
In a very selfish action, the teachers’ union in Kentucky is solidly against this bill, which is probably reflected in the voting. The Kentucky School Boards Association (KSBA) reports the Kentucky Senate’s vote on the bill was 21 to 17.
While the KSBA does not indicate details of the vote, it looks very similar to the vote on Senate Bill 12, another bill that has the union upset, so the SB-3 vote probably falls out mostly along party lines.
More when the vote details are posted.
SB-3 now moves to the Kentucky House, where union control is legendary. It remains to be seen if the House will cave to selfish, adult educator interests and allow them to overshadow the clear benefits in SB-3 for parent and student choice.