Over the past few days, I’ve been commenting on KET’s Monday night show on charter schools (which is on line here).
One of the more interesting comments came at 41 minutes and 41 seconds into the on line broadcast version when show panelist Phil Moffett said:
“The real reason that the public schools don’t do well now is because there is no incentive for them to do well. They continue to get the kids. They continue to get the funding regardless of what the results are.”
Is this the case in every school in Kentucky?
I don’t think it applies to a few upscale communities where pressure from well-educated parents insures that schools are motivated, and do ‘carry the mail’ for their students. Those parents can afford to send their kids to private schools, and the public schools know it. That creates real competition – and better schools.
However, in Mr. Moffett’s hometown Jefferson County Public School System, and in far too many other school systems in the state, there are extensive examples that when parents are not well educated, well-to-do and organized, schools have continued to under-perform ever since our expensive education reform was enacted in 1990.
But, those schools still get our money – and our kids.
This is one of the things charter school proponents hope can be changed by creating some competitive motivation with charter schools. Competition works in upscale communities, so why not try it elsewhere in Kentucky?
After 20 years of KERA, given the state’s overall generally very slow rate of progress when data is fairly considered, we need to do something different. If not charters, then what?
Certainly, just throwing more money at the existing system doesn’t seem hopeful. We tried that already for the past 20 years.