– They do charter schools right!
– Put kids first, too!
While Kentucky debated its unexciting House Bill 176 to support our application in the federal Race to the Top (RTTT) education funding competition, other states weren’t sleeping.
The Boston Globe reports Massachusetts just passed sweeping legislation for its RTTT package that makes House Bill 176 look like a joke.
As we recently reported, Massachusetts already has charter schools – great ones – but the new legislation will add still more of them.
In addition, Massachusetts has come face to face with the “adults’ interests versus students’ best interests issue” – which hamstrings us in Kentucky. The Globe says Massachusetts’ new law will, “ease the way for superintendents to dismiss inadequate teachers and alter tough-to-change workplace rules such as the length of the school day.”
Kentucky’s milk toast bill doesn’t begin to compare. There is nothing to support teacher firings, just reassignments. There are NO provisions to alter workplace rules, either. In fact, as Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday explained when the House Education Committee heard HB 176, there really isn’t much change in the bill at all.
Now, it looks like a sense of reality may be settling in at the Kentucky Department of Education about all of this. Commissioner Holiday told the annual meeting of the Kentucky School Boards Association on Saturday that he thinks our RTTT application has only a 50 – 50 chance of approval. He is pessimistic because we didn’t enact charter schools with HB 176. He says that if we don’t get an award when the Phase 1 RTTT winners are announced, he will have to put charter schools into the mix to have any success with the Phase 2 application.
Certainly, if competition like that from Massachusetts is going to typical, and if the RTTT judging in Washington is fair, and if the feds keep to their many strong statements about favoring charter schools, then Holliday is right to worry.
After all, just consider this comment from Massachusetts’ governor Deval Patrick, “For the sake of the children, commit to get it right.”
Here in Kentucky, the best we can say is that for the sake of the adults, we didn’t commit to much of anything.