Among Kentucky’s tributes to Martin Luther King Jr. on this year’s January 21st holiday was a special edition of Kentucky Tonight where host Bill Goodman interviewed Dr. Eric Schansberg, member of the Bluegrass Institute’s board of scholars.
This week’s broadcast explored the causes and possible solutions to poverty issues in Kentucky – a state that ranks in the bottom ten for percentage of population below the poverty level, percentage of youth population below the poverty level, and percentage of elderly below the poverty level.
Professor Schansberg proposed a unique solution for the hardships plaguing so many in rural Kentucky – education reform.
Kentucky’s state legislature is one of eight that has refused to enact the type of charter school legislation that would propel school choice in the commonwealth into the 21st century. Because of this outlaw on school choice, young people in Kentucky face an upward battle in overcoming the circumstances that have put previous generations on hard times, and the government dole.
According to Schansberg, barring being able to push a button that would strengthen the family structure in the commonwealth, “education reform is a key to poverty alleviation.” No matter how hard students “busts their tails” as an adult, without the kind of school choice that alternative public schooling affords, the cycle of poverty is likely to continue.
Unfortunately, due to the level of “political posing” on the issue among both parties, Kentucky’s youth continues to wait for the hope that charter schools could bring.
Stay tuned for a link to the full broadcast of this important edition of Kentucky Tonight.