Mississippi allowed its weak charter school law to expire two years ago. Poorly conceived, it generated only one charter.
Now, facing the obvious fact that traditional school management models are not working for kids, Mississippi’s new superintendent of education says he wants to bring charter schools back and make them work.
Burnham’s reasoning is interesting.
He says, “in my mind you don’t give it (the school system) back to the people who allowed it to fail to begin with.”
That message needs to be taken up here.
Kentucky has too many schools that are consistently failing under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), but virtually no-one loses a job as a consequence. No school based decision making council (SBDM) ever lost its authority because of NCLB, and only four lost their authority because of the now defunct CATS.
In those four cases, we mostly did a ‘fox guarding the henhouse,’ transferring the schools’ SBDM authority to the local school superintendent.
But, nothing really changed in at least two of those cases – both in Louisville – as the Kentucky Board of Education was dismayed to learn in October. While the schools underwent some reorganization, they still don’t have enough highly experienced teachers, which their badly behind students desperately need.
Charter schools could be a great answer for Louisville and a lot of other areas in Kentucky with poor performing schools – if our legislature will just pay attention to what Mississippi’s new education superintendent apparently already knows – these innovative schools do work, and they work especially well in situations like those found in places like Louisville.