I wrote yesterday that some are saying Kentucky can make a first round attempt to get Race to the Top (RTTT) federal education dollars without creating charter schools. If that doesn’t work, then there might be a lot of pressure to create charter school legislation before the Phase 2 RTTT awards are due.
The implication is that we are relatively safe taking a wait and see attitude on charters.
Well, forget that.
After checking this timeline from the US Department of Education’s Web site it looks like Kentucky probably won’t find out about the Phase 1 RTTT awards until after our legislative session closes.
We better get over this delay and see mentality.
The Obama administration has made it abundantly clear that it strongly favors charter schools and takes a rather dim view of states that either limit them, or don’t even have them as is the case in Kentucky.
If Kentucky’s legislators want to enter the stiff competition for millions of one-time education stimulus dollars with at least one – charter school entwined – hand tied behind our backs, then those legislators are not going to be able to duck the consequences of backing a seriously weakened RTTT application.
In any event, the idea that we can delay until we see what happens in RTTT Phase 1 clearly doesn’t mesh with the facts in the timeline above. There are not going to be any second chances. The legislature has to make their move on charter schools in this session if they really want to go after RTTT funds with a truly superior proposal. And, they have to do it before we know about any RTTT awards.