As Kentucky prepares for the introduction of charter schools, politicians, investors, and corporations salivate over potential profits that will be earned at the expense of our state’s children, particularly our lower income families.
However, let’s put aside the fact that our Governor, Matt Bevin, his newly appointed Board of Education members, and other political leaders have part ownership or investments in various forms of charter schools. Let’s ignore for a moment the deep corruption that has occurred in the other 42 states that permit charter schools. Let’s just look at charter schools through a lens of reason and logic.
The first charter schools opened in Minnesota in 1991. Since then, states have written various versions of their own laws permitting charter schools. This lack of consistency within the laws has created a mixed bag of results, ranging from deplorable to phenomenal. That’s right. I said it. Some charter schools are doing amazing things. However, make sure you understand the key word in that sentence – some.
I’ve decided to give you a list of issues, to allow you to filter through the argument quickly and simply.
So with this level of inconsistency, lack of success, uncertainty if the charter school will last the school year, and simple lack of results, why would we think charter schools will work in Kentucky. At best, only 17% of charter schools out-perform their public school counterparts. Would you really gamble your child’s future on a 17% success rate?
Instead, let’s fund our public schools. Let’s lift the binding regulations that hinder public schools and return autonomy back to the district and public school. Let’s make the teaching position desirable and stop using our children in political games.
Jason Nelson has taught in Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky since 2007.