– Surely someone is joking!
US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, has repeatedly stated in recent weeks that states which want to compete for second round stimulus money for education must not have laws which inhibit charter school operations.
It looked like a real threat for Kentucky because we don’t even have charter schools here (except for special cases of Gatton School of Math and Science at Western Kentucky University and the Model Lab Schools at Eastern, both of which somehow just happen to be located in districts of powerful house leaders).
Now, the Kentucky School Boards Association reports that Governor Beshear and Kentucky education secretary Helen Mountjoy are trying to sell the US Secretary of Education a bill of goods that Kentucky’s site based decision making councils (SBDM) are somehow equivalent to charter schools. Therefore, Kentucky should be able to compete for second tier stimulus money even though charters are illegal here.
That’s just not right.
Just to get the conversation started, charters, as their name indicates, are run by a local chartering agency (perhaps a college or university, or a mayor’s office). That chartering agency generally isn’t part of the established school bureaucracy. The charter grantor has the ability to hold the schools accountable. The chartering group is also located close to the school where it can provide extra assistance as well as helpful oversight.
Charters also create school choice for parents.
SBDM schools don’t function in any way like this.
Now, how about your inputs? Do you think SBDM are a suitable substitute for real school choice charter schools?