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Oh, My! Blacks in Georgia's Charter Schools Now Tie Kentucky's White Students in Math and Reading!

In a recent blog about “Kentucky’s charter school regulations were built around those for Georgia – Why it matters,” I discuss the rather remarkable fact that Black students in Georgia’s public charter schools recently tied white students in Kentucky’s public school system for Grade 4 reading performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

I thought I should fill in the rest of that story for you, so here are the other 2019 NAEP results for reading and math for Black students in Georgia’s charter schools and white students in Kentucky’s traditional public school system. Kentucky currently has no charter schools, by the way.

Oh, My! Like I said.

None of the score differences for each subject and grade are statistically different. Georgia’s charter schools have wiped out the achievement gap for their Black students versus white students in Kentucky.

This is why Kentucky badly needs the charter school program created in 2017 by House Bill 520.

That law was crafted with an eye towards doing what had worked best in other states that already had these schools of choice. The desire to use the best was furthered when the Kentucky Department of Education, under the guidance of then commissioner Stephen Pruitt, produced the regulations required to flesh out HB 520 into a workable system. Pruitt came out of the Georgia school system and knew a lot about charter operations there. He knew it was a good system and crafted Kentucky’s charter school regulations to emulate what worked in the Peach State.

By the way, according to Table 11 in the US Census Bureau’s data for the 2018-19 school term (Fiscal Year 2019), total current education spending in Kentucky and Georgia was virtually identical. Kentucky spent $11,291 per pupil and Georgia spent $11,228. It isn’t a money thing.

Kentucky’s school system clearly needs what Georgia’s is already enjoying – better schools thanks to the competition created by school choice. This is why Kentucky badly needs to get on with starting charter schools. The law and regulations are already in place to take advantage of what has happened in Georgia. Now, it’s up to Kentucky’s court system to step aside and let the process of creating charter schools begin.

Tech Note: the NAEP Scores were obtained from the NAEP Data Explorer.

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