Today, the recently formed Kentucky Charter Schools Association hosted its First Annual Education Summit on Public Charter Schools in Louisville, KY. Many important champions of the school choice movement in Kentucky were present and accounted for, including Board President of the Association, Hal Heiner, Pastor Jerry Stephenson from the Black Alliance for Educational Options, the Bluegrass Institute’s education analyst, Dick Innes, Rep. Brad Montell, R-Shelbyville, Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, and U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul.
Notable from the event was when Sen. Rand Paul personally invited Jim Waters, President of the Bluegrass Institute, to share his thoughts on the Milton Friedman Foundation, and how they have so greatly impacted school choice across the country. The Friedman Foundation is of course the group which partnered with the Bluegrass Institute to put on this year’s Friedman Day event at the Midwest Church of Christ in West Louisville.
Speaking to a sold-out audience, Waters told the story of how when representatives from the Friedman Foundation visited underachieving schools in black communities, they came away with a simple, but powerful, lesson: “Black kids can learn.”
For too long, the failure of traditional public schools has been accepted because of the socioeconomic condition of minority students. The Friedman Foundation found that, given the kind of flexible and diverse educational institutions charter schools provide, black kids can and will learn.
And as Waters noted, “If you’re not for this, then what are you for?”
Throwing more money at an inherently flawed system is no longer an option. It’s time for Kentucky’s legislature to give school choice a chance.