Charter Schools on Kentucky Tonight

Monday, January 18th, 2010

For a state education system that doesn’t even recognize charter schools, there sure has been a lot in the news lately about them. Why?

One of the reasons might be that two legislators have filed bills that would allow charter schools to be recognized in Kentucky. Currently, there are only 10 states that don’t have a law in place that would allow the establishment of a charter school.

One of the other reasons has to do with something called Race to the Top. That’s a plan from President Obama and his education chief Arne Duncan. At stake is a national competition for federal dollars that could mean $200 million for a poor state like Kentucky. The deadline for the application for these funds is next Tuesday. Some have theorized that states who have or are willing to include charter schools in a statewide system of improving education might be given a better chance at attracting the federal funds. There was some action in Frankfort this week when a charter school clause was added to the application, but it was dropped and the application is on its way to Washington.

But the question remains, regardless of the Race to the Top funds, does Kentucky need a charter school provision? And why would someone go to a charter school instead of a regular public school? What would a charter school accomplish for a school district? Would it make it easier to fire a bad teacher? Would teachers earn higher salaries if they taught in successful charter schools?

These are just some of the questions we’ll discuss Monday on Kentucky Tonight. Our guests are :

- Rev. Jerry Stephenson, chair of the Kentucky Education Restoration Alliance
- Jim Waters, director of policy and communications for the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions
- Sharron Oxendine, president of the Kentucky Education Association
- Superintendent Sheldon Berman of Jefferson County Public Schools

And, as always, we want to hear from you. Email a question before or during the program, give us a call during the program. Or post a remark below that everyone can read on the blog.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

One Response to “Charter Schools on Kentucky Tonight”

  1. Monday’s charter school program certainly was lively, and it provided a lot of fuel for future discussions.

    Some of that discussion has started here in the Bill’s Eye blog, and more is starting in the Bluegrass Institute’s blog at

    Here is a taste of what you can find right now at the Bluegrass Policy Blog.

    One of Monday’s panelists strongly charged that charter schools are a “failed reform.” This very strong assertion was in part based on claimed experience in Massachusetts.

    However, a little research turned up a Boston Globe news article from 2005 quoting a Massachusetts researcher as saying, “What we’re saying is it’s possible to have public schools and charter schools stand side by side and learn from each other.”

    Take a guess who said that in 2005. Confirm your guess by going here:

    By the way, KET’s technical staff did a great job getting the program on line quickly. Anyone with flash player in their computer can see the video here:

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