After House Bill 37 passed the Senate Education Committee earlier this week, optimism was high that Kentucky legislators would join 41 other US states in embracing true educational choice and charter schools by passing the proposal through the full Senate. By Thursday morning that optimism turned to a feeling of same-ole, same-ole thanks to “the sausage-making dynamics of the end-of-session political theater that some politicians seem to love” – as Jim Waters, President of the Bluegrass Institute, would put it.
But there’s still a very visible light at the end of the twisty legislative tunnel for those eager to see Kentucky‘s youth receive the kind of education they deserve. Instead of a rally this morning to celebrate the passing of HB 37 through the Senate, concerned groups like the Black Alliance for Educational Options are discussing the need for true choice in education face to face with Kentucky legislators.
The original HB 37, introduced by House Education Committee Chairman Rep. Carl Rollins (D), would have allowed the Kentucky Department of Education to create “districts of innovation” – a sort of watered down charter program. But when Rep. Brad Montell (R) attempted to add in a pilot program for true charter schools, as 41 other states and the District of Columbia have already accomplished, the legislative process came to a familiar, grinding halt.
Still, there are only so many legislative sessions in which Kentucky officials can resist the national trend toward choice in education. Recent events suggest that day is right around the corner.